High above a sleepy village, built atop sandstone rock pillars, and silhouetted against the Grecian skyline, sit the six monasteries of the Meteora. The temples are the second largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece and are located at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly.
Monks, who used to dwell in neighboring caves, originally settled the area of Meteora in the 11th century. During Turkish occupation and the lawlessness that followed, the monks began to climb higher above ground to be closer to God, finally deciding to create their homes perched on the sandstone pillars.
Initially, the monks spent their time living in the hollows and fissures in the rock towers, which reached 1800 feet. It was the ideal location for a life of solitude. Gradually, as political upheaval and threat from Turkish occupation reached fever pitch, other citizens flocked to the Thessaly precipice, looking for refuge.
Consequently, the arriving congregations began to build new monasteries during the 14th and 15th centuries. The materials and manpower was brought up to peaks and cliff sides using only ladders and baskets. Amazingly, the monks managed to construct 24 monasteries.
More On The Hovering Temples Of Greece
Today, only six of the original structures remain – four inhabited by men and two by women. The monasteries do house fewer than 10 inhabitants, but tend to serve more as tourist attractions accessed by rough-cut stone stairs.