Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Meteora - clifftop monasteries

The geology of Meteora:  It had been, in remote times, undersea, rivers then carving around prominences as water fell, land exposed. See

 Meteora, Monastery, Greece

Monasteries were constructed on cliff-tops, many on free-standing geological formations like air islands. If At the center here, see see the ropes hanging down that suspended the baskets that were the only way up for people and goods in the old days. There also was a suspended rope between the monastery and the cliff on the other side, for a way over. See

Geo-tourism:  This site would be excellent.  See book "Geotourism" by Ross Dowling at this site:

Meteora view,  Monasteries, Greece

These monasteries were built around 1100 AD and thereafter, by hermits and monastics fleeing from the invading Ottomans, or for their own reasons - preferring isolation. See history of Meteora,

There is an entire area of these stacks with or without structures on top. See See also

Meteora, Creece. Conglomerate rock formations, and medieval monasteries

 One story of how these were built:

  • A hermit made his way to the top of one summit, and wondered how to proceed with shelter. An eagle came by and dropped him a feather. Then, it dropped a piece of twig, and then enough materials to fashion a rope. 
Most are accessible by car to a reasonably close place, then you walk long steps up or over on pedestrian bridges. We had two pairs of day shoes - one to get muddy and then let dry, while the other pair saved the day. Sneakers are not good for climbing. Too slippery on wet smooth stone. In bad weather, we got used to taking off our shoes in the bathrooms and rinsing off the soles.

Rock formations, monastery at summit, Meteora, Greece

These are World Heritage Sites. The area is on the list for many tour groups. See

Wardrobe for Orthodox areas: 

This is an orthodox area.  Ladies, wear a skirt (I had a denim one, mid-calf, for easier climbing).  Some women had a light shawl wrap, square-ish, that could be wrapped like a sarong to cover trousers.
  • . If you are dressed inappropriately, including either long pants or shorts, the monastery will loan you a shawl from a large stack in the corner. Ladies in shorts or pants not allowed. 
  • Cover your shoulders. Carry around your own silky covering or buy one of the sarong squares.  This is more convenient than raincoats, and serves for picnics and tidier car snacking.

Clifftop monastery, Meteora, Greece

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