Meteora, the "suspended in the air" monastery!

Meteora, Pallini 153 51, Greece

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Description

The Metéora (Greek: Μετέωρα, lit. “middle of the sky”, “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above” — etymologically related to “Meteorite”) is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries set in Kalambaka, central Greece. Built upon high rocks and accessible by staircases cut into the rock formations, the complex was once chosen to protect the monks from political upheavals and later on from the expanding Turkish occupation in the 14th century. The sky-scraping monasteries of Greece include many abandoned monasteries not open to to the public and six intact ones operating to date with two of them being inhabited by nuns. As early as the 11th century AD hermit monks were believed to be living among the caves and cutouts in the rocks. In 1344, Athanasios Koinovitis from Mount Athos brought a group of followers to Metéora. From 1356 to 1372, he founded the great Meteoron monastery on Broad Rock and is said to be the founder of the first monastery. Legend has it that he did not scale the rock but was carried there by an eagle. The monasteries of Meteora are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and has been featured in the James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only” and in the Angelina Jolie film “Tomb Raider – Cradle of Life”.

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