The Metéora ( "suspended rocks", "suspended in the
air" or "in the heavens above") is one of the largest
and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in
Greece, second only to Mount Athos. At the end of the 14th century,
the Byzantine Empire's 800-year reign over northern Greece was being
increasingly threatened by Turkish raiders who wanted control over the
fertile plain of Thessaly. The hermit monks, seeking a retreat from
the expanding Turkish occupation, found the inaccessible rock pillars
of Meteora to be an ideal refuge. More than 20 monasteries were built,
beginning in the 14th centuryThe six monasteries are built on natural
sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of
Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central
Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metéora is included on the
UNESCO World Heritage List
Studies suggest that the pinnacles were formed about 60 million years ago during the Tertiary Period. Weathering and earthquakes then shaped them into their present shape.
Continuous weathering by water, wind and extremes of temperature turned them into huge rock pillars, marked by horizontal lines which geologists maintain were made by the waters of a prehistoric sea.
Until the 17th century, the primary means of conveying goods and people from these eyries was by means of baskets and ropes.
During World War II the site was bombed and many art treasures were stolen.
Only six of the monasteries remain today. Of these six, five are inhabited by men, one by women. Each monastery has fewer than 10 inhabitants. The monasteries are now tourist attractions.
Here is Monastery Rousanou and depth of the Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapafsas.