When you visit Greece, the one place you shouldn’t miss is the Meteora monasteries. These ancient monasteries are situated high upon the rocks and are not only beautiful but also comprise one of the most important religious complexes in Greece. The area of Meteora in Greece was originally settled by monks who reportedly lived in caves within the rocks during the 11th century, but when things became more unsettled during Turkish occupation, the monks climbed higher up the rock face until they were living on the inaccessible peaks more than 2,000 feet, or about 180 stories, high.

The monks managed to build the monasteries by bringing material and people up with ladders and baskets. This was also how the monasteries were accessed until the 1920s. Now, there are roads, pathways and steps to reach the monasteries that sit at the peak of these rock formations that are considered a geological phenomenon.

Throughout the centuries, the monasteries attracted not only the religious but also philosophers, painters and poets. Today, only six of the monasteries are active. Visitors have easier access now, and the roads and paths built allow people to be able to visit all the monasteries.

Of the six monasteries, the most recognizable is the monastery of Holy Trinity as it was used in the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only during the movie scene where Roger Moore scaled the cliff. Out of all the monasteries of Meteora, Holy Trinity has the most dramatic location; the rock face is a sheer drop and the rock itself is slender, which also makes it the most difficult to access.

The monastery was built in 1458 and had many treasures, but most of these were looted by the Germans during WWII. However, in 1970, the Holy Trinity was renovated extensively and remains an active and open monastery for people to visit.

For more information on all six monasteries and visitor guides, visit www.visitmeteora.travel.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.