Kalambaka Historical Background
Kalambaka is known because of the famous Monasteries that built on the tops of the Meteora rocks, located around the north and east of the town.
It is a place which is imposed, having a wonderful view, as spiritual place and cult towards god, since the ancient times till today.
The ancient name of the town was Aeginion and it is mentioned in the Hellenic and roman period because of the importance of its location.
The name Aeginion, witnesses a built in wall sign at the east part of the church of Saint John the Baptist. During the X-th century, the town is mentioned as Stagi, a name that is still being used as a metropolitan title.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Kalambaka-Meteora on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 39º 42' 33.48" N 21º 37' 34.78" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Kalambaka Panorama .
You may watch my 3 min 28 sec VIDEO-Clip Kalambaka out of my VT-Tube or Greece Kalambaka out of my YouTube with popular Greek music by Demis Roussos.
The Scenery Around Meteora
The rock formations in the mountains surrounding the monasteries are truely amazing. For many it might be worth seeing Meteora for the hiking opportunities that the mountains provide however there is one problem. For reasons the only the Greeks would know, there are very few proper hiking trails. Apparently the locals never considered walking as a fun thing to do.
The first monasteries
The first monasteries were not built until the 14th century but it was not until the 16th century that most of monasteries were constructed along with the renovations made to the older ones. It is said that over twenty monasteries were inhabited. Today only four are occupied. These are The Great Meteoron, Varlaam, Agias Triadas and Agiou Stefanou.
Here's a ticket to one of the objects :-) Just to let you know what it looks like.
Don't pay much attention to the price, most people pay full price and I'm a student so I pay only half of it - and I don't remember whose ticket this one was ;-)
Greeks, Byzantium, Orthodoxy...
Monks, hermits settled this area in 9-11th century, but when Ottoman Turks started invading Byzantine Empire, the monks climbed higher and higher bringing with themselves Hellenic culture and traditions. I should give you some historical facts to bundle up the Greeks, Byzantium, Orthodoxy and Hellenic culture.
From 146 BC to 400 AD the Greeks lived under Roman rule, i.e it was considered a province of a Roman Empire.
Around 400 AD, Germans conquered the western half of the Roman Empire, while the Greece, as eastern part of Roman empire continued to be ruled by Romans, but from Constantinople, the capital of Byzantine Empire that thrived from around 400 AD to 1453 AD.
The Byzantine Empire at the imperial level was Greek, which was the language of learning, commerce, religion, politics and the military. Greek philosophy ruled intellectual life, Greek Orthodox was the only faith officially supported by the state. However, its political structure and its law were Roman, and its emperors called themselves Emperor of the Romans.
Therefore, we can conclude that Byzantine Empire was the inheritor and successor of ancient Hellenic civilisation and also the initiator and the spreader of Christianity to Eastern Europe and other neighbouring countries.