Planning Tip No 1
Plan to spend a full day at Meteora. You will delight in the play of light on the rocks and their changing moods. On sunny mornings, the red roof tiles of the monasteries glisten in sharp contrast to the weather-stained grayness of the rocks while the late afternoon sun bathes the landscape with a golden glow. At nighttime, the rocks are dramatically illuminated by spotlights while autumnal mists shroud them in an ethereal mysteriousness that must have appealed to the hermits and monks who sought refuge from the things of the world.
The area was originally settled by monks who lived in caves within the rocks during the 11th Century. But as the times became more unsure during an age of Turkish occupation they climbed higher and higher up the rock face until they were living on the inaccessable peaks where they were able to build the first monasteries. Until the nineteen twenties the monasteries were reached by ladders and baskets (bringing material and people up with it) and now there are roads, pathways and steps to the top.
Monasteries on Meteora
In the Byzantine period and during Ottoman rule the monastic community of Meteora became a sanctuary of the persecuted. On these barren and inaccessible rocks a centre of Byzantine art was created, the history of the Meteora monastic community begins in the 11th century.
A good paved road makes access to each of the main monasteries easy and interesting. They may be visited in succession on a single trip (21km from Kalambaka and back). On the left of the road to the monasteries, at the foot of the Meteora, stand Doupiani hermitage and the 12th century chapel of the Virgin. Nearby are the ruined monasteries of Pantocrator and Doupiani.
3 km from Kalambaka and again on our left is the monastery of Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas. The biggest and the most important of the monasteries is the Great Meteoron. In older days ascent to the monastery was made by jointed ladders and by nets of baskets. Today one goes up a flight of 115 steep, irregular stairs cut into the rock face. One should also visit the exquisite church of the Transfiguration with fine frescoes, fascinating to the visitor, and an intricate twelve-sided dome.
Of interest too is the monastery's Refectory -today a Museum-and its Library's numerous manuscripts and rare books. When stopping at these isolated monasteries and looking at the Pindus range and the Thessalian plain down below, one understands why the hermits chose this spot in order to serve God and approach him.
Meteora monasteries / Moni Varlaam
The Moni Varlaam. In its place there was the church of the Three Hierarchs which was built in the 14th century. Later, around 1520 it was rebuilt and renamed Agioi Pandes. The frescoes by Frangos Katellanos are worth seeing. The number you can call is 2432-022277 and the opening hours 9am to 6pm with a break from 1 to 3:20. It closed on Fridays.
Kalambaka Name Origin Background
You may see the name of the town Kalambaka shown in various forms. The actual letters 'm and p', when used together in Greek, are pronounced as 'b'. Therefore the town may be called Kalabaka (phonetic spelling), Kalampaka or Kalambaka.
There are several theories of the Kalambaka’s origin name. One of them considers that the name grows from the Turkish “kale mpak” meaning prestigious castle.
May be that’s a reason of absence Kalambaka in the VT Greece database. I’ve written about it in my Tourist Trap tip VT-database of destinations in Greece.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Kalambaka-Meteora on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 39º 42' 33.96" N 21º 37' 34.78" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Kalambaka Panorama .
You may watch my 2 min 44 sec VIDEO-Clip Kalambaka Morning Walk out of my VT-Tube or Greece Kalambaka Morning Walk out of my YouTube with popular Greek music.