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Christmas in Meteora

Across the centuries, this gigantic stone complex composed of more than 800 dark-coloured rocks has been a site of peerless natural beauty and one of the greatest Orthodox monuments. In this place that appears to be suspended between heaven and earth, nature stretches into infinity and converses with the spiritual world in a unique manner that deeply impresses visitors coming to Meteora in search of the true meaning of Christmas.

 

 

Oh come all ye faithful!

There are thirty monasteries written down in historical archives, yet only six remain active today:
Megalo [Big] Meteoro
is the name of the leading community of this monastic state and it is the oldest and largest of the monasteries that are still active today. Climb the stairs hewn into the rock and admire the architecture of the main church built according to Mount Athos style, as well as numerous precious relics kept in the Monastery.
Opposite Megalo Meteoro lies the impressive Varlaam Monastery with icon paintings crafted with remarkable artistry.
At the southeastern tip of Meteora, St. Stephen’s Convent offers a breathtaking view of Kalabaka and the vast plane of Thessaly. Notice the fine art of the wood-carved iconostasis in the main church [katholiko] and the impressive old Refectory now turned into a museum.
Rousanou Monastery is perched atop a steep crag and is easily accessible despite its location. The icon paintings and murals within are considered as masterly specimens of post-byzantine art.

 


Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery
is located on a small rock, yet it gives the impression it suspends above the ground. It possesses remarkable murals painted by Theofanis, a great religious painter of the 16th century. It is the first monastery you will meet on your way up from Kastraki.
The monastery that is the most difficult to access on Meteora is Agia Triada [Holy Trinity]. Those of you who will venture up the rock will be rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding area.

 


Ode to the Divine Grandeur

The most joyful event of the Incarnation is celebrated in the monasteries during the divine services in a spiritual atmosphere. The service of the major hours begins under the dim candlelight at about 8 and a half on Christmas Eve. Awe, ecstasy, humility, serenity and spiritual elevation are the feelings shared among members of the congregation. The Christmas Mass ends in the wee hours of the morning. A table is then set in the guest quarters of the monasteries offering people a variety of treats in a festive atmosphere.


Return to …the earthly world

Kalabaka town lies at the foot of Meteora. It is a tourist hub and an international climbing destination and will serve as the perfect base for short trips in the area.

 


Don’t fail to visit:

· The Aspropotamos mountainous area with a lush fir forest and Acheloos river (or Aspropotamos) flowing through it. Traditional communities and beautiful villages (Agia Paraskevi, Milia, Katafyto, Anthousa, Kallirroi, Polythea, Krania, Stefani, Chaliki) as well as significant byzantine monuments dot the landscape. You can also enjoy outdoor sports such as mountain biking, trekking, rafting, horse riding etc.
· Elati and Pertouli, two famous mountain destinations right next to each other. In between these two there is a ski centre in a picture perfect location where you can practice any snow sport you like. If you prefer hiking, there are plenty of routes for you to choose. Pertouliotika Livadia [=Fields near Pertouli], the lovely nearby Neraidochori village [=village of the fairies] and Pyli village where you can visit remarkable religious monuments, the single-arched stone bridge (16th c.) and the waterfalls in Palaiokarya location are your must-visit areas.
· Trikala town, as this beautiful place is literally transformed into a huge amusement park for young and old alike, during the Christmas season.

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