The site is a miracle of natural forces of geology, a cluster of rock pinnacles adorned by the sacrosanct monasterial community.
- How were these pinnacles formed?
- How old are they?
- How did geologic forces create the miracle that is half away to heaven?
The formation of these spires includes events occurring throughout 700 million years of the geologic past. They stand as the apex of a complex series of steps of rock formation, continental rupture, the birth of mountain ranges, rivers and seas.
Meteora is the site where Byzantine monks built havens for spirituality as close to heaven as they could achieve on earth. As early as the ninth century, hermitic monks climbed the rocks of Meteora to live atop the pinnacles, sheltering within erosional fissures in the scared formations themselves. Between the 11th and the 17th century 24 monasteries were built, six remaining in use to this day.
This is a world heritage site. The religious sanctuary protected by the Orthodox Church is a living link between the Byzantine Empire and the modern world. Dedicated to protect the serenity and spiritual habitat of Meteora, it has also become an environmental treasure as a refuge for endangered species such as wolves, vultures, eagles, black stork and otters.
The foundation of this historic sanctuary is the earth itself. Its astounding pinnacles rise 400m. above the Plain of Thessaly, an awe-inspiring view from afar. Within the sanctuary, one wanders among tens of eminent landforms, each competing in a state of natural magnificence for the very soul of beauty.
Agents such as rain, snow, wind and high temperatures erode the surfaces of rocks. Dust, rocks and tiny grains of stones are transported and deep hallows and caves can be created against the rock surface.
Had there not once been a split within the super-continent of Pangaea and formation of the Tethys Ocean, the character of the stones of Meteora would be entirely different from what see today.
Were the ancient mountains not to step, and the contours of the Miocene sea more gentle, then there would not have been rushing rivers able to transport the rock slurry to the site where we find the conglomerates in today’s hills.
Were tectonics quite over the last 40 million years, had the geologic plates below Greece not changed their movement time after time, then the cycles of uplift and erosion could not have exposed the rocks of Meteorato the waters, wind and ice that carved the rock spires we admire today.
The best works of God, take time…