The next morning on our tour of Norther Greece, we visited a beautiful area called Meteora. These are the famous rock formations in mid-Greece. Upon these rocks that just out of the earth for hundreds of feet are 26 separate monasteries – very few of which are actually still operating. We only had time to visit one of them, which was actually what we would call a convent. It was really cool to see these gigantic structures built in the most obscure places. Until the mid 1900s, the only way to access most of the monasteries was by a basket that could be lowered down on a rope and pulled back up by a winch.
I can see why they built them this way. It makes sense to build a structure meant to separate someone from the rest of the world in a location which the world can’t access.
It was a very overcast day when we visited, as you can tell from the pictures. It was so bad that we would be completely engulfed in clouds while at higher elevation to the point that we could hardly see 20 ft in to any side of us. The clouds were cool, though. It added a sense of mysticism to the whole visit.
Inside the monastery we visited was a chapel, like several we’ve seen so far. The walls were entirely covered in frescos, which are hundreds of years old. But in this particular chapel, the nave (the open area before entering the sanctuary) was covered completely in depictions of famous martyrs. There were some disturbing images of men and women being tortured and executed in various ways. The scenes were gruesome yet touching at the same time. Somewhere in my twisted little head always find it fascinating to hear and read about people being tortured and put to death because of their faith in Jesus the Christ. It may be part morbid curiosity, part admiration, and part determination to work harder at having that kind of faith.
Meteora is definitely one of my favorite places we have visited since we’ve been in Greece.