Meteors for sightseeing, access and practical information
The Greek Meteors are a picturesque rock formation. Metéoros in translation means "suspended in the air" or "the middle of the sky". The highest rocks are over 500 m high. Monks have been coming here since the 11th century to meditate and remain silent. They climbed up to high caves. Today you can see such caves, and some people decide to climb them.
The first monastery appeared here in the 14th century. The Great Meteor was built in the years 1356-1372. In the following decades, the following decades began to emerge. A ladder or a rope was used here. The first stairs to the Great Meteor were built in the 1920s. Increasing the popularity of Meteors has resulted in greater availability of temples. Today we will get to the monasteries by road and take the stairs.
Why did the monks live like this? At the end of the 14th century, Turkish invasions threatened them more and more. Such terrains provided security. Later, access to temples was not facilitated because the pilgrim should sacrifice himself in order to reach his destination. There were times when the ropes broke. The meteors have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Meteors in mass culture
Meteors peaked in popularity in 1981 after the premiere of the film Only For Your Eyes. The bishop allowed the filmmakers to shoot in the monastery and the surrounding area without consulting the monks. The monks were not delighted and entered into a dispute with the state authorities over the rights to the area. Despite the fact that the dispute was partially won, many of them moved to Athos.
No movies have been made here since then. In the series "Game of Thrones" you can see rock formations in the episode where Tyrion was imprisoned in a cell in the Eagle's Nest. This place and valley of the Arrynas are modelled on the rock formations in the Meteors. It is only a computer visualization.
During the blooming period, 24 monasteries operated here. Now available to visitors is 6. The others are in ruins or not inhabited. In the monasteries, Greek traditions were cultivated and cultural treasures were preserved. Part of the collection is exhibited in the halls and museums of the monasteries. Much was transferred during World War II. The monasteries were usually male, although there were also female monasteries.
In each monastery there is a church, sometimes a second chapel, a room/tower with a rope to pull in people and goods, and living and other rooms. Not everything is available for tourists. Some monasteries have museums. It is forbidden to enter closed rooms or disturb others.
The monasteries are open to the public:
- Great Meteor, Megalo Meteor.
- Warlama Monastery, Moni Warlaam
- Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Moni Ajias Triados
- The Monastery of Russians, Moni Roussanou
- Monastery of St. Stephen, Moni Ajiu Stefan
- Monastery of Santa Claus Resting, Moni Ajiu Nikolau Anapafsa
- The cost of a ticket to the monastery is €3.00.
Great Meteor, Megalo Meteor
The Great Meteor Monastery was founded in 1340 by St. Atanasius, who, according to legend, was brought up by an eagle. Inside you will see a tower with a lift, an ossuary of skulls, large two-level viewing terraces, a folklore museum, a museum with old book collections and a monastery kitchen. The chapel is impressive. The entrance to the monastery was carved in the rock.