“Kalabaka at the base of Meteora”

Meteora, Greece. June 2018 (11 photos)

This is Part 3 of my Greece 2018 photo series, and also Part 12 of my Europe 2018 photo series.

The island of Milos offered many photographic opportunities and some relaxing beach time, but all too quickly it was time to move on. I returned to Athens by ferry to witness a bit more of the history of ancient Greece, before moving onto my final destination in Greece, to witness another facet of Greek life and culture.

Kalabaka is a small town about 355 km by road north of Athens. The journey there took me past the actual site of the Battle of Thermopylae between the Spartans and the Persians which was the subject of the movie “300”. Kalabaka lies at the foot of a series of immense natural rock pillars and boulders known as Meteora which is the dramatic location for the UNESCO World Heritage listed Monasteries of Meteora, a complex of Eastern Orthodox monasteries built atop vertical rock, dating back to the 14th century.

“Kalabaka overlook”

In the distance is the Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapavsa.

“Meteora”

There are 4 monasteries visible in this photo. From left to right:

Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapavsa
Monastery of Rousanou (closest to camera)
Monastery of Varlam (highest point)
Great Meteor Monastery

“I will follow him”

… and I did to get this photo.

Some of the monasteries are still in use. In fact the site attracts a significant amount of religious tourism, mostly those of the Russian Orthodox faith.

“ATAC to St Cyril’s! ATAC to St Cyril’s!”

The quote above was spoken by a parrot in revealing the villain’s hideout in the James Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only. St Cyril’s was the location of the final fight in the movie and the Monastery of the Holy Trinity which you see above was the location used for St Cyril’s. In the movie, Bond climbed up the side of the rock pillar. Luckily, tourists can use the staircase carved into the rock which you can glimpse in the rock face. The cable to the left is used for deliveries. All of the monasteries have a cable system for bringing in deliveries.

“Monastery of Rousanou”

Actually, it’s a nunnery.

“The mists of time”

Fog and low cloud commonly engulfs the higher points of Meteora in the early morning, giving the location a mysterious aura…

“The Ossuary”

… befitting some of the contents in the monasteries.

“Monastery of Varlam”

“Lord’s Supper Holy Monastery”

This one has been built into the side of a rock pillar.

“Panoramic Meteora”

I don’t do this often but the photo above is eight photos taken in portrait mode, merged together to form one photo.

This is Part 3 of my Greece 2018 photo series.
This is Part 12 of my Europe 2018 photo series, including Czechia (The Czech Republic), The Netherlands, France, Italy, Austria, Greece and Germany.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Meteora

Image

54 thoughts on “Meteora

  1. I guess they were quite safe there, but I’m not sure if those views would take you mind off God or help focus on His amazing work!! I can’t imagine what it took to get all the building materials up there originally. Wonderful shots, Lignum, and a seamless panorama on that last one. Well done (although I’d expect nothing less.)

    janet

    • It’s amazing to think that these Monasteries were built in this location and how difficult that would have been. I believe there were 24 at their peak, and some very damaged in WW2. The views of the Monasteries and from there are beautiful. Thanks very much, Janet.

    • Thank you. The monasteries are amazing any way you look at them. Amazing views of them and from them. So richly ornate with decorations and frescoes inside. Great history as well.

  2. Wish I had tried to get there when I was young and fit….but I’m no good with heights so I don’t think I would have managed the climb up!!

    • Plenty of good vantage points from the roadside, but I know what you mean. Lots of climbing and once inside, some rooms were quite claustrophobic. There were busloads of “religious tourists” later in the day. I guess it’s not surprising that several people I saw were quite frail and infirm. They just wanted to be there, seeking a blessing or perhaps a miracle.

  3. Isn’t it the most surreal sight? I would have loved to make it there and your photos prove to me that my jaw would most certainly have dropped. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • Thank you. I was quite pleased to have the low cloud and mist the morning I went up at dawn to photograph. It was quite a spectacular sight at an inherently dramatic location.

  4. What a treat to see this amazing place again through your wonderful images Draco! We were here twenty years ago and visited Great Meteora and Saint Stefanos monasteries on a day-trip from Parga. I took my photographs with my old Minolta which had a panorama option – I love how you have merged eight shots into one panorama! πŸ™‚πŸ‘

    • I’m pleased my photos have revived some memories of your visit. It truly is an impressive sight and dramatic location. And all those beautiful frescoes and decorations inside. Thank you very much, Xenia.

  5. Superb photos LD. I would never get up to one of these now though. Annoyingly I probably went close to this area a few times, but Meteora wasn’t widely known about in the 1970s. I do recall one monastery in the north which was only open to male visitors. I was not impressed.

    • Thanks, Jude. That would have been the time to see them, when they weren’t well known.They are open to all now, but there are clothing requirements for entry for men and women.

  6. What a treat to take a tour of this magnificent country with rich history! These series blow me away…
    I just flew back, am exhausted due to the heat. πŸ˜“

  7. This must be one of the most jaw dropping places you have taken us to. I cannot start to imagine how they would build those monasteries in such an inaccessible place. Even just walking up the steps would be so difficult. That mist shrouded image with the skulls in the next photo is mystical

  8. Just breathtaking. I can only imagine the serenity and awe of seeing this view in person. And chasing down monks…always up to something, aren’t you? 😁

    • If not for the movies, I wouldn’t have known of them. Indeed, they are awe inspiring yet peaceful at the same time. I missed a shot of a monk in Athens, so I was determined to get one here. πŸ™‚

    • It was so different to Milos and Athens, yet so typically Greek. Quite a fabulous experience and trip overall. Food was plentiful, inexpensive and delicious everywhere I went in Greece. πŸ™‚

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