Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Meteoras - the roof of the Orthodox world




The region reveals one true gem of the crown of this country. Just imagine the surreal peaks– fresh mountain breeze, steep rocky slopes and old medieval Churches. Needless to say, it is not something, which tourists typically associate Greece with. The first thing that the name brings to your mind is secluded islands, olive oil, beaches, Mediterranean cuisine. If you are fed up with the standard, commercial route then put the sacred “hotspot” Meteoras on your agenda. 

As our time was limited (2 hours), I opted for going only to the first monastery - Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron, suspecting that there should be a marvelous panorama from the top of the building. Rushing to get the most of the squeezed time, I climbed most of the stairs making small pauses only to catch the beauty surrounding me. The terrace was not so densely populated and I promise you the spectacular view will elevate your spirit. To the right is the small town nestled among monolith hills, herds – crawling just like tiny ants. To the left is the second largest monastery in the Meteora complex which is named the Holy Monastery of Varlaam.



Inside the first monastery there is a small museum, showing exhibits from the rich past of the region and the country itself. If you are willing to bring something small back home - plenty of choice: CD with Orthodox chants, illustrated brochures and books, as well as icons are waiting for you. 

Beware, in some private areas the camera should not be used. The rule is not just on paper and there are some cases when the holy men can take your camera. Make sure there are not signs prohibiting you to take shots! 

The popes, actually, are not that disconnected from the modern world and its amenities – some of the holy men move around with Jeeps and use the same mobile phones – I-phones, androids that all the sinners around the world use. Interesting fact: people and provisions are still transported with steel ropes and a metal cabin. I hope it is visible from the shot I took.

If your time allows, you can head towards the second monastery or St Stephan which offers great panoramic view, as well.

At the foot of the Metoras is located a nice souvenir shop. Over there you can dive into numerous examples of religious art. Icons: I leant that there are 3 major techniques of creating icons. Of course, the price differs according to them, as well. Some of them are just done by computer stamp but of course the more expensive (over 200 Euros) are the ones touched by meticulous hands. 

Amen!


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