Meteora is….

Meteora is unique sight to visit

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Meteora is a rock formation in central Greece, hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, second in importance only next to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders, that dominate the local area. It is located near the town of Kalambaka, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains.

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Meteora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria I, II, IV, V and VII.

The name “Meteora” means “lofty”, “elevated”, and is etymologically related to “meteor”. It is attributed to the founder of the Grand Meteora Monastery, Saint Athanasios the Meteorite, who named so the broader Stone, which he first ascended in 1344.

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How was Meteora created

According to the theory of the German geologist Philipsson, who visited Greece in the late 19th century, the creation of these enormous bulwarks, was due to the concentration of river boulders and limestone rocks, that for millions of years poured into the sea area, that then covered the region of Thessaly.

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The geological changes through the ages, lifted and excited this part, when the water was removed to the Aegean Sea. Thus, later in the tertiary period of the alpine, ridges of the Pindus mountain range, this big rock was cut off from its compact form, creating smaller ones, those that are present today, including the valley of Pinios river. It is said, that fossilized shellfish have also been found on their peaks.

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The wild and at some points inaccessible landscape, was a convenient place for the Christian ascetics, who settled in the area in a time not exactly known. Meteora, due to their morphology, offered during the Ottoman domination, an ideal refuge for monasticism and saved monuments of civilization and works of post-Byzantine art. In the early 19th century, many monasteries were ravaged by Ali Pasha’s army.

written by

Michalis Magnisalis, Photographer & Film Director http://www.m-magnisalis.com

Photos by Semitsoglou Ioannis © 2018

 

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