Meteora (Greek: Metéora) is one of the gems of Greece. Located near the towns of Kalampaka and Kastraki in northwestern Thessaly it consists of a number of rock pinnacles topped with a total of 24 monasteries.
Walk along the paths leading to the rocks and monasteries or climb the rocks.
The following monasteries can be visited and are located nearby the road circuiting Meteora. Clockwise you'll find:
- Agiou Nikolaou monastery (St. Nickolas Anapausas)
- Agias Varvaras Rousanou monastery (St. Barbara)
- Varlaam monastery
- Megalou Meteorou monastery (Great Meteoron)
- Agias Triados monastery (Holy Trinity)
- Agiou Stefanou monastery (St. Stephen, the only monastery for women)
An entrance fee is expected by some monasteries which might be about € 2. Inexpensive, mass produced icons may be purchased in the monasteries for as little as € 1. They do not have the variety of the factories, however.
The opening hours for visiting are (as of 2009):
Varlaam monastery: 09:00 - 16:00
Megalou Meteorou monastery: 09:00 - 17:00
Agias Triados monastery: 09:00 - 17:00
Agias Varvaras Rousanou monastery: 09:00 - 18:00
The monasteries were not originally built for tourism. Tourism, essential to the monasteries survival, has also destroyed their character. They are no longer contemplative.
Women are required to wear skirts covering the knees and have their shoulders covered, too. Most of the monastaries do provide wraps for women who come unprepared, but if you bring your own, especially one with bright colors, you'll get a smile from the monk or nun at the entrance.
Along the same line, men are required to wear trousers covering the knees. This too can be borrowed from the stock at the entrance but that clothing isn't washed after every user so it may cause a bad feeling to you wearing these skirts. One size fits all for man!
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