Meteora is a unique geological formation which is located in Thessaly and specifically in the prefecture of Trikala. Τowering above the town of Kalampaka and with their imposing appearance provides an awe-inspiring landscape to the visitors, while hospitalized the second important monastic community of Greece after Mount Athos.
The monasteries of Meteora are:
- Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ or Great Meteoron
- Holy Monastery of Varlaam
- Holy Monastery of Saint Stefanos
- Holy Monastery of Holy Trinity
- Holy Monastery of Saint Nikolaos Anapavsas
- Holy Monastery of Roussanou
Their creation is space of confrontation between geologist as there are many theories as how Meteora were originated, the theory of German geologist Alexander Philipson who visited the region in the end of 19th century a.d has prevailed over the others. Based on this theory during time when Thessaly was been covered by sea, in this area were the astuaries of a river which had carried and deposited materials there. Over time and after huge volume of rocks have been accumulated, it had as a result the creation of a limestone deltoid cone, which after geological changes that has been suffered, and since the water had receded from Thessaly through the Strait of Tempi, gave to Meteora their current formation. This trend has been confirmed in parts and by historians of ancient Greece as there is no reference to the existence of this unique geological formation by them.
The oldest historical references were started the last 1000 years and based on them this steep and inaccessible landscape has been used as a refuge from many people during raids they have been suffering by various conquerors. Security was that which urged the first hermits to seek there mental peace and tranquility away from the mundane. According to historians the first hermit was Barnabas in 950-970 a.d. who founded the Hermitage of the Holy Spirit. In early years monasticism was not organized and the monks was praying into small chapels which where known as proseychadia.
The first documented place of cumulative worship to the God has been reffered to be the Church of the Virgin Mary or “Protato” and references for this temple was existing since the 12th century a.d. The first Monastery was founded after 200 years and it was the Holy Monastery of Jesus the Saviour. It has been founded by Blessed Athanasios who has given to the rock the name Meteoro, name which has featured the other rocks. Great growth of the monastic community was detected in 14th and 15th century a.d., during this period more monasteries were founded reaching the number of 24 altogether. Worth mentioning is how the monasteries has been constructed while the ascending of the materials has been done through numerous methods as beams stuck in cervices, traditional net and other and in all of these cases monks were floating at several meters high from the surface of the Earth which had as a result to risk many times and their own lives to accomplish their mission. A decline was started in the 17th century a.d and as a result of that only 6 of 24 totally were remained active, which continue the chistianity work for the last 600 years tirelessly.