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Meteora Greece is part of central Greece and is placed on the north-western edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pindus Mountains and the Peneios River. It constitutes one of the most dramatic landscapes of the country and is also its second largest and most popular complex of monasteries.
On the other hand, the name given to this region means "suspended in the air" which perfectly describes its main feature, as the monasteries are placed on great natural stone pillars, which by the way is a unique architectural achievement.
Therefore, the monasteries look as if they were suspended in the air, which has been purposely made during the 14th century, in order to protect the hermit monks during the Ottoman occupation, by the inaccessibility of these huge rock pillars.
However, this was not totally new, since hermits and ascetics have traditionally clambered up the peaks of the Meteora since approximately 10th century, while in the late12th century the Panaghia Doupiani, a small church also known as "Skete" was built at the foot of one of these endless rocks where monks had already established their residence.
This way of living resulted to be very safe for the difficult times that were coming to the point that by the 15th century, there were 26 monasteries functioning, 6 of which still work. 5 of them are male and 1 is female.
However, in the 1920s some steps have been carved into the rocks, which led to a bridge from the close plateau. Obviously, this measure gives much more simple access to the complex, instead of the large nets or unsafe ladders lashed together that the ancient monks used for descending.
Each one of these monasteries has less than 10 inhabitants, although they are extensively visited by tourists. In addition, the monasteries in Meteora are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Monastery of Agia Triada, which means Holy Trinity has been used for the final scenes of a James Bond film, called "For Your Eyes Only".
Once inside the monasteries, the visitor can appreciate many Byzantine relics and great frescoes, which were also praised by the UNESCO. Fortunately, Meteora has been kept in good condition, which gives us the chance to experience this unbelievable environment that seems to be timeless. The mountainous landscape of Meteora also gives the opportunity to practice various sports activities.
The famous Lake Plastira is located close to Meteora, a place of amazing natural beauty. You also don't miss the opportunity to go trekking in the Natural Reserve of Antichassia or walk along river Aspropotamos and see the bridge of Agios Vissarionas. Also, a very good option in Meteora is skiing, as a popular ski center is located close by, in the village of Pertouli.