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in Greece is special
The isolated monasteries of Meteora in northern Greece are spectacularly perched on precipitous rock towers.
The Meteora monasteries
In the 16th century there were about 20 monastery rock-tower sites. Today only a handful remain. One of them, Saint Stephan, is a nunnery. Holly Trinity (Agia Triada) is the most photogenic monastery. See photo.
Why they were built
The monks constructed their monasteries on the hard-to-access rock pillars of Meteora for a practical reason. They wanted to be beyond the reach of the Ottoman army that was invading Greece.
The rock columns soar from 75 to 300 meters (250 to 1000 feet) above the plain. Originally, humans were hoisted up in nets along with provisions. Or, they climbed a series of vertical ladders. Today, you sometimes need to climb steep cliff-hewn steps or cross a narrow bridge spanning a deep chasm.
Meteora is ancient Greek for "suspended in midair".
Avoid the crowds
If possible, shun summer weekends. You will avoid the tour-bus crowds from Athens, Greece.
Location in Greece