Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas Anapafsas - I think - please correct if I'm wrong!
Looking over the plains of Thessaly in the centre of Greece is an area of amazing rock formations, made yet still more impressive by the addition of monasteries perched on the top of some of the 400m columns of rock. Meteora so good Linkin Park named an album after it. Geologically the place was formed by the movement upwards of a ancient sea bed or river delta, then subsequent earth quakes and erosion. Though originally founded before the Ottoman empire reached the region, during the height of the occupation monks came to the remote monasteries to be able to practice their religion.
The impression on the traveller is amazement - "how did people back in the 1400's get to the top of these towers of rock to build these monasteries?"
and awe - "wow - this is one of the most amazing places I've been!"
and on the photographer in me - "I'm so glad I have two 1 GB memory cards!"
Most of the monasteries are open to the public, charge a nominal 2 euro entry fee, but require respectable dress, ladies, long skirts and gentlemen, long trousers. Inside a glimpse of monastery life is felt - particularly
These rocks seperate the plain on which the towns of Kalambaka and Kastraki - old story of ancient sea bed squeezed up over millions of years, erroded over more time and shaped into these wonderful pinicles, some 400m high.
if you get there early, even in early April coach parties were being shipped in. Photographers - I found the air much clearer in the early part of the day - towards midday it started to get quite hazy. Monks work in the museums, and on the entrance but during the visiting hours seem to hide themselves away - probably in quiet contemplation.
Opening hours for the monasteries are 9-5, 6 days a week on a rotation, so whichever day you go along you'll be able to visit a few. We visited 2, the Grand Meteoron, and the Holy Trinity, the largest and the most isolated feeling. The Grand Meteoron was much the larger, had a muesum, chapel, courtyard, kitchens, and wood workshop to look around. Well I'll leave you with a few of my selected photos! I hope to work on a few for my gallery soon... This was day 4 of our cheap rental car tour of Northern Greece - I'll add in the previous days soon!
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