Meteora Travel Guide
Today only five of the twenty-four monasteries still operate, the most important of which is The Great Meteoron, built on the highest of the rocks, 613m above sea level. The monastery’s katholican, the Church of Transfiguration, has a magnificant twelve sided central dome and contains wonderfully gory frescoes. The second largest monastery, Varlaam, contains fine late Byzantine frescoes by Frangos Kastellanos. The Monastery of St.Nicholas Anapausas has a small, domed 16th century church that was decorated by the Cretan painter Theophanis Strelitaz. The most attainable Monastery is now the Convent of St. Stephen, where business-like nuns sell souvenirs and videotapes of Meteora. The Monastery of the Holy Trinity became in international ‘star’ when it was featured in the James Bond movie ‘For Your Eyes only’.
Below the monasteries is a vast plain of woods, gorges and picturesque villages with Kastraki situated directly underneath the rocks. One million people visit every year so despite its remoteness it can appear very crowded. The upside is there are plenty of cafes and restaurants selling tasty, reasonably priced food. A short distance from the rocks lies Kalabamka, a predominantly modern village with little aesthetic appeal. However there are numerous good, inexpensive restaurants-cum-ouzeries and is a popular base for outdoor pursuit enthusiasts, with excellent facilities for rock climbing, ultralite flights, paragliding and parachuting.
Above all Meteora is a unique experience, there is a calm almost warming atmosphere about the area, an all-pervading sense of being somewhere very special. I would wager that even the most committed atheist could be touched by a visit to Meteora.
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