Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday, May 8th, Kastraki, Greece


In central Greece, in the Plain of Thessaly, there are conglomerate pillars reaching to the sky topped with monasteries built in the 14th and 15th centuries AD.  Reachable at the time by ropes and ladders, these ancient hideouts for eastern orthodox christian monks provided isolation from the invading Ottoman empire.  Originally, there were 24 of them, and only six remain.

Today, we visited a small one housing twenty nuns - the Monastery of Rousanou/St. Barbara, founded in 1560.  Our guide, Dina, helped us overcome our fear of climbing, and we made it up the steps carved into the rocks in the 17th century.  As with everywhere we go on this trip, our expectations were blown away by the magnitude of the effort and skill we saw demonstrated in building these structures.

While photos weren't allowed in some key parts of the monastery and chapel, the talent it took to transport, construct, adorn, and maintain such gorgeous sanctuaries of Eastern Christian devotion is hard to grasp.

The second, and largest we climbed up into was the Monastery of Great Meteroa.  Only three monks now reside there, but it contains a museum, many meeting rooms, and the largest and most well-preserved Eastern Orthodox Church in Greece.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on Monday, May 9th, Monasteries of Meteora, Greece.

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