In an otherworldly setting, which inspires a sense of awe and exudes mystery, natural beauty is uniquely paired with Byzantine architecture. Depending on the weather and the season, the imposing rocky masses change appearance and form. During the day, the view from the top is unique, as its stretches to the slopes of mount Koziakas and the Pindos range to the west. During the night, under the light of the moon, the rocks resemble the giant forms of Titans.
The monastic community of Meteora is the largest and most important in Greece after Mount Athos. For many centuries, it was a centre of learning and arts. The buildings blend harmoniously with the geological phenomenon of the scattered rocks, which are unique in the world. Today, six monasteries remain inhabited, others are in ruins or are retreats or hermitages.
About thirty million years ago, the area of Meteora, which was a lagoon, was at estuary of massive river. At some point, the course and flow of the river changed As the waters receded, the deposits at the mouth of the river were revealed: a pile of stones and mud that was gradually shaped be geological upheaval into inaccessible pillars of sandstone, the ‘stone forest ’of Meteora.
Meteora is endangered by climate change. Intense natural phenomena, such as torrential rains and strong winds, are likely to cause substantial damage to the monuments, erosion of the rocks, and rock falls.
The ‘bachelors’ of Meteora
The Meteora area is an important habitat for various wild species (wolves, bears, birds of prey). The Egyptian vulture is the smallest species of hawk. It is one of the cleverest birds, which uses stones as a tool to break eggs. While, in the past, it was one of the most common species in Thessaly, today, it is one of the most threatened in Europe. The most common threat to birds of prey is poisoning. In the 1980s, Meteora had the largest population in the whole of Balkans: 50pairs. Today, only two male Egyptian vultures remain in the area, with no way of propagation.
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