The Meteora Monasteries (Greek Μετέωρα (n. pl. ) ), East of the Pindos Mountains near the town of Kalambaka, Thessaly, Greece located, belong to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name " Meteora " is derived from " meteorizo ​​" ( μετεωρίζω ), which " raise in the level " means. This name describes the location of the monasteries which were built on high sandstone cliffs and seem to float in the air sometimes hazy.

The entire system consists of 24 individual monasteries and hermitages, of which only six are inhabited today. The remaining eighteen monasteries are either too difficult to reach or were abandoned because of the danger of collapse.


The first documented hermitages are available in Metéora since the 11th century, traditions even report a settlement before the 10th century. Over the years, these hermitages grew into an organized community together modeled after the holy mountain Athos Monastery and formed the Doupiani.

With the arrival of fugitive monk Athanasios the Athonite in 1334, the rise of monastic life began in the region. Together with his spiritual mentor Gregory and 14 other monks he founded in 1344 the monastery Metamorphosis, also known as Megalo Meteoro. Athanasios presented to the valid rules of the monastery in Meteora and was beatified after his death as Athanasios Meteorites. During the 14th century more monasteries were built and the facilities supported by pious regional rulers such as King Symeon financially and by granting privileges. Over the years emerged as a number of monasteries and hermitages, whose founders have been handed down by name only in part.


Doupiani: The first monastery, founded in Meteora. The monastery itself is not preserved. The built at this point chapel from the early 13th century is still used and maintained. Renovations were made, inter alia, in the years 1867 and 1974.

Filakaé Monakón: The traditions after it was in this cave to the monk prison. The rock-shelter is provided with some wooden fittings. Monks who had violated the very strict monastic rules were allegedly sent to repentance after Filakaé Monakón.

Agios Nikolaos Anapavsás: The monastery is still inhabited. In the church of John the Baptist are several skulls of monks who lived here in the past. Significantly, the frescoes and paintings by Theophanes the Cretan people are (about 1500-1559 ) in the early 16th century.

Rousanou ( Arsánou ): The monastery inhabited was founded according to tradition, in 1388, other sources even speak of 1288, more call the 1530 or 1545 (see Choulia & Albani in the bibliography ). The historical evidence of such declarations has but. It is known that the monks lived here in a coenobitic system. After many raids and looting that occurred throughout history, as well as a constant decline, Rousanou was established in 1940 initially abandoned. The remaining manuscripts and valuables were taken to the monastery Megalo Meteoro. In 1950 there were the first attempts to get the system and use again. Today Rousanou is a nunnery. Worth seeing are the frescoes of the 16th century.

Varlaám: The first monastery was founded in the mid 14th century as a hermitage is still inhabited. After the death of the first hermit the site a few years initially remained unused. In 1518 started the construction of the monastery, which was likely to be completed in 1535. The founders of the construction placed last will and testament the coenobitic life. A traveler from 1779 recorded in his travelogue that have since construction of the monastery no woman enter the place.

Metamorphosis, also known as Megalo Meteoro. The building complex is the largest of the Meteora monasteries with about 60,000 m². It lies 613 m above sea level and is still inhabited by monks. His name Meteoro ( of the PENDING ) received the rock by the founder of the monastery, the monk Athanasios. Previously, the plateau was only Platýlithos ( broad stone). By the year 1923, the monastery was only accessible by rope ladders and a winch with power. Today, a stone staircase with 143 steps and a tunnel leading into the building complex. In the main church frescoes have been preserved from 1552. Also worth seeing is the hermit cave of Athanasius at the monastery entrance.

Agia Triada ( Holy Trinity) The monastery was probably built 1458-1476. More accurate data are not known. The plant is still inhabited. Originally, the only access via cable winches and rope ladders was possible. Only since 1925, there is a staircase. The church is decorated with frescos dating from 1741. Also noteworthy is a gospel book from the year 1539. Evangeliar The printed with silver lid comes from Venice. This monastery became known worldwide as a part of the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only was filmed in it.

Agios Stéphanos: The monastery, founded about 1400 is also still inhabited. The colonization of the rock but is probably older. By 1927, an inscription was preserved, which suggests a hermitage in 1192. The monastery is also called " Royal " what. Upon a visit of the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos III back in 1333. The ruler said to have been so impressed by the hospitality of the monks that he sent to the monastery generous donations of money and land. In the 19th century were still alive more than 30 monks in the monastery, with decreasing tendency. In 1960, it was practically deserted and was converted in 1961 in a convent. Worth seeing are the bishop's throne and the desks for hymnals, which are decorated with mother of pearl inlays.

Agii Apostoli: A monastery, have been preserved, of which only ruins and a cistern. Proven in 1551 mentioned.

Agion Pneuma: The chiseled out of the rock monastery of the Holy Spirit is poorly preserved. Two cisterns, a sarcophagus, a few cells and is carved out of the stone altar and examples of the system, which, according to tradition dates back to the 14th century.

, Also called Agios Ályssos Apóstolos Pétros: Not preserved monastery, probably built around 1400.

Agios Antónios: Smaller monastery from the 14th century, a remnant of which only a small church.

Agios Grigorios: Non -preserved monastery, also from the 14th century.

Agios Mothéstos: monastery, which is not obtained. First mentioned as a holy ground in a letter from the 12th century. Documented noted in 1614.

Agios Nikolaos Bádovas or Kofinas: Non -preserved monastery, which was built in 1400 in a cave. 1943 bombarded by occupation forces and destroyed.

Agia Moní: monastery, historically occupied in 1614, then inhabited by more than 20 monks. Of the buildings, only ruins remain.

Moní Ypsilotéra also called Kaligráfon: Non -preserved monastery. As the nickname suggests, known for the manuscripts produced there.

Panagia Mýkani: First, probably built as a cave church, first mentioned in 1358, expanded to the monastery later. Mention of the monastery in an episcopal letter from the year 1541st The monastery is not obtained.

Pantokrátor: Historical documents mention the monastery in 1650 Today, remains of walls are still preserved..

Ypapanti: 1347 built monastery, whose buildings are preserved, unlike the frescoes in the church only in fair condition. The monastery is rarely visited because it is located just outside and the system is usually closed.

Agios Dimitrios - Non -preserved monastery. Was destroyed the plant of Ali Pasha of Janina, because Greek insurgents had set up their headquarters in the monastery.

Agios Georgios Mandilas: Monastery forfeited.

Kimissis Theotókou: Monastery forfeited.

Panagia Parthenos Kyriakou: monastery, only ruins remain.

Prodromos Monastery, did not receive.


The monasteries Metamorphosis, Varlaám, Rousanou, Agia Triada, Agios Stefanos and Agios Nikolaos Anapavsás are still inhabited and can also be visited. Each of the monasteries has, so never have closed simultaneously on another day rest day all.

Note the dress code for visitors. For men shorts are taboo, while in women mini skirts and strapless tops are not tolerated. Even in women dresses or skirts are rather seen as trousers; Women wearing pants are asked in some monasteries to vorzubinden an apron that can be rented at the entrance.

The climb to the uninhabited and dilapidated monastery ruins is difficult, often dangerous and is not recommended.

Rock climbing

The rocks of Meteora are among the most popular climbing destinations in Greece. The technical climbing catalogers of the area is mainly the German Dietrich Hasse, who has also written guidebooks to hiking trails and climbing routes in Meteora. 2001 jumped the base jumper Felix Baumgartner of 120 meters from one of the Meteora rocks.

In the formations of Meteora rocks there are several caves. It is worth mentioning in particular the Theopetra Cave.

Is the oldest man-made structure in the world built on the cave. It is a stone wall that closes two-thirds of the entrance of the cave. It was built 23,000 years ago, probably as a barrier against the cold and wind.

Film set

The rocks of Meteora served for the following movies as a spectacular film set:

  • » Tintin and the mystery of the golden fleece " Original title " Tintin et le mystère de la Toison d'Or "; France 1961
  • " On the Trail of the Eagle " Original title " Sky Riders "; USA 1976
  • "Who stole the leg of Jupiter " Original title " On a volé la cuisse de Jupiter "?; France 1979
  • » James Bond 007 - For Your Eyes Only " original title " For Your Eyes Only "; Great Britain 1981
  • " Meteora " Original Title " Meteora "; Germany, Greece, France 2012