This morning I took a drive around the six Meteora Monasteries. I got photos of all six but only entered three of them. Amazing places, built as they are on the top of these tall rocks. Particularly interesting is that all of these rocks were once under sea-level.
Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapafsas
This was the first monastery on my drive, but I only stopped to take a couple of photos from the roadside. Its foundation dates back to the middle of the 14th century.
Monastery of Roussanou
Roussanou was a bit of a drive-by as the parking area was full, but I was able to get photos of it from different vantage points. It started life as a male monastery but subsequently became a nunnery. It dates back to the 14th-15th centuries.
Monastery of Varlaam
The third monastery, and my first paid entry, was to the Monastery of Varlaam, named after the hermit who built it in the middle of the 14th century. This is the second-largest of the six monasteries. The admission fee was a reasonable 3 Euros and there were a few steps to climb to access the monastery.
The churches inside each of the monasteries have beautifully painted frescoes on the walls and ceilings but photos and videos are prohibited in the churches (although I saw a lot of people sneaking photos).
Monastery of Megalo Meteoro (or Metamorphosis)
My next visit was to Megalo Meteoro which is located ‘next door’ and a bit higher than Varlaam. It is the largest of the monasteries and was also founded in the 14th century. A number of the rooms in the monastery now serve as museums, including a collection of religious manuscripts and icons. However, photos are not permitted in any of those rooms.
Monastery of the Holy Trinity
The monastery at this site dates back to 1362. It’s quite an impressive sight to see this monastery perched on top the the tall narrow rock.
Monastery of St. Stephen
The final monastery just got a brief stop from me so that I could take a couple of photos. This one dates back to the 15th century.
I’ve enjoyed visiting these monasteries and rock structures. It was definitely worth making the detour to include them into the route. Now I have to study the map and decide which way I will go to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) – there is still a dispute involving the Greek region of Macedonia over the Republic taking on the name Macedonia. The plan is to get to FYROM tomorrow and to visit two or three towns there. The initial route from Thessaloniki to Skopje would have been a simple one. Now I have to decide whether to back-track to stay on major roads or whether to take a more direct route on minor roads.