monastery of Meteora
The Metéora (Greek: Μετέωρα, "suspended rocks", "suspended in the air" or "in the heavens above" - etymologically similar to "Meteorite") is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metéora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria I, II, IV, V and VII.
The Theopetra caves 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south of Meteora had inhabitants fifty millennia ago. The cave of Theopetra, Kalambaka, radiocarbon evidence for 50,000 years of human presence, Radiocarbon 43(2B): 1029-1048.[clarification needed]
In the 9th century, an ascetic group of hermit monks moved up to the ancient pinnacles.
They were the first people to inhabit Metéora. They lived in hollows and fissures in the rock towers, some of which reach 1800 ft (550m) above the plain. This great height, combined with the sheerness of the cliff walls, kept away all but the most determined visitors. Initially the hermits led a life of solitude, meeting only on Sundays and special days to worship and pray in a chapel built at the foot of a rock known as Dhoupiani. As early as the 11th century AD hermit monks were believed to be living among the caves and cutouts in the rocks.
The exact date of the establishment of the monasteries is unknown. By the late 11th and early 12th century, a rudimentary monastic state had formed called the Skete of Stagoi and was centered around the still-standing church of Theotokos (mother of God). By the end of the 12th century, an ascetic community had flocked to Metéora.
In 1344, Athanasios Koinovitis from Mount Athos brought a group of followers to Metéora. From 1356 to 1372, he founded the great Meteoron monastery on Broad Rock, which were perfect for the monks; they were safe from political upheaval and had complete control of the entry to the monastery. The only means of reaching it was by climbing a long ladder, which was drawn up whenever the monks felt threatened.
At the end of the 14th century, the Byzantine Empire's 800-year reign over northern Greece was being increasingly threatened by Turkish raiders who wanted control over the fertile plain of Thessaly. The hermit monks, seeking a retreat from the expanding Turkish occupation, found the inaccessible rock pillars of Meteora to be an ideal refuge. More than 20 monasteries were built, beginning in the 14th century. Six remain today. There is a common belief that Athanasios (founder of the first monastery) did not scale the rock, but was carried there by an eagle.
In 1517, Nectarios and Theophanes built the monastery of Varlaám, which was reputed to house the finger of St John and the shoulder blade of St Andrew.
Access to the monasteries was originally (and deliberately) difficult, requiring either long ladders lashed together or large nets used to haul up both goods and people. This required quite a leap of faith – the ropes were replaced, so the story goes, only "when the Lord let them break". In the words of UNESCO, "The net in which intrepid pilgrims were hoisted up vertically alongside the 373 metres (1,224 ft) cliff where the Varlaam monastery dominates the valley symbolizes the fragility of a traditional way of life that is threatened with extinction." In the 1920s there was an improvement in the arrangements. Steps were cut into the rock, making the complex accessible via a bridge from the nearby plateau. During World War II the site was bombed. Many art treasures were stolen.
Until the 17th century, the primary means of conveying goods and people from these eyries was by means of baskets and ropes.
Six of the monasteries remain today. Of these six, four were inhabited by men, and two by women. Each monastery has fewer than 10 inhabitants. The monasteries are now tourist attractions.
Studies suggest that the pinnacles were formed about 60 million years ago during the Paleogene Period. Weathering and earthquakes then shaped them into their present shape.
Beside the Pindos Mountains, at the western region of the Thessaly plain in the middle of northern Greece, these sandstone rocks rise from the ground. The rocks are composed of a mixture of sandstone and conglomerate. They were formed about 60 million years ago. A series of earth movements pushed the seabed upwards, creating a high plateau and causing many fault lines to appear in the thick layer of sandstone.
Critiques | Translate
batalay (32858) 2012-09-03 21:18
A superb note augments this image of one of the most unforgettable sites I've seen in my life. 50,000 years is almost 10 half-lives of C-14 (a half-life for the isotope is 5730 years, and by then the activity rate diminishes to 1/(2^10)=1/1024 of the activity rate of living organisms). That is also close to the limiting measurable activity of a sample. One of my favorite James Bond episodes, "For your eyes only," was shot in Meteora, and remains one of my favorites.
Thanks for sharing this powerful photo, a testament to the simple, ascetic life people will dedicate their lives to for the personal salvation.
danos (73960) 2012-09-04 2:00
Κωνσταντίνε γεια σου,
πολυφωτογραφημένο το Μοναστήρι αυτό των Μετεώρων,όπως φυσικά και τα άλλα υπάρχοντα σ΄ αυτές τις αετοφωλιές τις Καλμπάκας.
Πάντα εντυπωσιακά τα μοναστήρια αυτά που μπορεί κάποιος να τα βλέπει με αμείωτο θαυμασμό και δέος για το πως κτίσθηκαν και υπάρχουν εδώ και τόσους αιώνες τώρα.
Καλή σου ημέρα,Δάνος
Sonata11 (28289) 2012-09-04 4:29
very beautiful snapshot of amazing place and the nonastery on the top of those rocks. Lovely view and very beautiful management of light, colors, sharpness, perfect clarity. I love POV and DOF as well. Great job. Thanks for sharing.
All the best,
cornejo (18020) 2012-09-04 5:24
Constantine Hello, very nice picture of this lovely place, very well framed and done, with much sharpness, depth, good light and color. Very good and interesting job excellently done, congratulations my friend. Tfs.
Good afternoon and happy week.
Best regards and best wishes.
amaryllis (30149) 2012-09-04 6:37
Impressionnant ce monastère situé en haut de ce rocher
belle lumière et ombres
mohammad_H (6588) 2012-09-04 7:09
Hello dear friend
Very beautiful and interesting places and amazing
Awesome structure on top of a bed of stone architecture
Very good clarity and transparency
Good luck and have a nice day
jlbrthnn (79773) 2012-09-04 9:18
The rock is reminiscent of an elephant whose monastery is the nacelle. Excellent perspective and quality. Bravo.
Have a nice day
baddori (18988) 2012-09-05 0:04
Queste enormi rocce ed i loro monasteri.
Una fortuna per la Grecia e per i fortunati turisti.
Bella presentazione anche se presentare il bello con il tocco personalistico è esaltante.
Un ottimo lavoro e una gradita e singolare condivisione.
jjcordier (62280) 2012-09-05 0:22
Impressionnante vue de ce monastère haut perché et bien à l'abri des attaques et idéal pour la tranquillité des moines.
raszid62 (18196) 2012-09-05 0:39
Δύο φορές επισκέφθηκε τα μοναστήρια των Μετεώρων. Είμαι ευτυχής - αυτό είναι ένα από τα θαύματα της παγκόσμιας αρχιτεκτονικής. Πολύ καλή σύνθεση σε μεγάλη χρώματα, ευκρίνεια, δυστυχώς, λίγο αδύναμη.
Nicou (97637) 2012-09-05 0:45
quel rocher superbe ces tons ces couleurs avec ce monastère au sommet fantastique vue le tons sont doux le cadrage parfait sueprbe.
bravo et maitié
jhm (122410) 2012-09-05 3:29
Thank you very much for your interesting note.
Also this nice monastery of Meteora high on the top of the mountain makes impression.
Sharpness and colors are amazing.
Excellent of composition, nice presentation too.
Very well done, TFS.
Have a nice day,
baclama (15579) 2012-09-05 3:50
voila encore un endroit extraordinaire à decouvrir....
la photo me parait un peu flou non? en tout cas joli cadrage et belles couleurs
maria-v1981 (10403) 2012-09-05 5:39
Τι μπορεί κανείς να πει για τα Μετέωρα. Όλοι αυτοί οι πελώριοι βράχοι με τα περίεργα σχήματα και την επιβλητικότητα τους όταν τους βλέπεις νιώθεις τόσο μικρός. Πολύ καλή σύνθεση και φωτισμό.
Καλή συνέχεια και καλό απόγευμα,
jemaflor (68867) 2012-09-06 4:17
Nice view with this percehd monastery, nice light, maybe more sharpness would be interesting.
abmdsudi (26215) 2012-09-06 18:50
A magnificent landscape. I love how you have taken the view so close to the edge virtually to bottom of the frame with just the right amount as an effective foreground interest. It's a spectacular place, love the wonderful warm tones, shadows, colors and the cliff formation. It's the small monastery that really pulls the eyes together rendering the sense of depth, scale and height. Great detail and composition, absolutely stunning work. TFS
Silvio1953 (98093) 2012-09-08 10:08
Ciao Costantino, bella vista del monastero sull'impressionante rupe, ottima nitidezza, splendida luce e bei colori naturali, bravo, ciao Silvio
clic (10991) 2012-09-08 12:03
Geia sou Costantino
Un monastère "suspendu dans les airs" sur le roc solide, c'est une technique de construction inusitée qui probablement impressionne un ingénieur civil!!
Une photo très intéressante par sa qualité exemplaire et par son originalité.
pajaran (36190) 2012-09-09 12:18
Lep pogled na liticu i manastir.
Dobra ostrina i kontrast, lepe boje.
Dobar tekst i kompozicija, lepa priroda i manastir.
Prijatno vece i sve najbolje.
A nice view of the cliffs and monasteries.
Good sharpness and contrast, beautiful color.
Good content and composition, beautiful nature and a monastery.
Good evening and all the best.
Angshu (51174) 2012-09-10 22:02
The famous monastery of Meteora taken from the low POV which highlights the dranatic & difficult setting of the monastery & the monks who stayed here. Good lught & a fine capture against the clear blue sky!
s_lush (15580) 2012-09-28 8:47
As your shot and the note show, this is quite unique and highly beautiful place. The monastic architecture is a very good addition to these wonderful rocks. You have captured the Meteora from a very good point of view, with excellent composition and natural colors. Perfectly good job!