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Our Wakes: 2020

The Meteora region (October 2020)
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350 km north of Athens there is a unique sandstone geological structure with several peaks. The area covers about 8 square km and is classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO. In 1366, the monks built the first monastery on top of a peak to protect them as well as to be closer to the Lord. The place was at an altitude of 536 meters and everything (building materials, food, water and people) that was needed had to be lifted to the top. Today it is much easier to get there as roads have been built, but a good physical condition is still required as there are still a lot of steps to climb. In total 24 monasteries were built but today 13 are in good condition and 6 can be visited by tourists. When we visited them, we had no problems parking the car close to the gate to the monasteries as Covid had dramatically reduced the number of visitors. One guide told us that in normal times more than 100 buses arrive every day, but now 5 buses is a number rarely exceeded. We visited 5 monasteries. Inside you rarely see the monks as they live in their own quarters and today only a few monks remain. In Varlam (536 meters altitude) there are only 15 monks left. During the glorious days there were more the 300 monks. If you want to become a monk, you have to pass a test period of 2 years after which the monks decide if you have the right attitude to be nominated.  Inside the monasteries, you can see beautifully painted chapels.  Today the monasteries are well preserved and when you look out from a monastery you can enjoy the beautifully scenery. Inside Varlam monastery you can see a big barrel that could contain 12,000 liters of wine. The Grand Meteora monastery  (615 meters altitude) has a beautiful museum showing how the monasteries were built and supplied. The museum also contains a lot of very nice religious robes. You can also visit the old kitchen were a lot of old kitchenware is displayed. After visiting the monasteries, we decided to visit the Holy Cross church. This church is located 50km away from the Meteora and is not mentioned in most tourist guides. We noticed this church because in our hotel there was a nice black and white picture of it. The church is located near the city of Doliana not far away from the village of Aspropotamos. It has 13 domes and is very beautiful as it was built during the post Byzantine period. Originally it was built in the 18 century and was part of a monastery that was destroyed in 1924. Meteora is really an exceptional site and if you visit Greece you should not miss it.
Sunset
Le grand Météor
Varlaam
Barrel of 12.000 litres
Agatrias
Roussanou
Agatrias
Agatrias
Agatrias
Agatrias
The Grand Météor
The Grand Météor
Holy Church