Guided tours

Meteora

Реальность фантасмагоричнее любой выдумки

One day tour from Athens  to Meteora (10 to12 hours)

 

 

Photo album and video at the end of page (to watch a video is specially advised).

 

A brief tour description. One of the most beautiful places around the world. Simply cannot be described, better see the video at the end of page and the photo album, although no photo is comparable to the real thing.

Drive and tour.

We depart from Athens at 8:00 a.m. and head to Meteora. The ride takes 4,5 hours. We make the first stop in 2 hours, in Thermopylae ( let’s remember the 300 brave Spartans), then follows a care stop. And then 2 more hours till we rich the Meteora. During all the road I will narrate you about the history and culture of Greece. We spend in Meteora about 3 hours, during which we visit one ofthe active monasteries, the icon workshop (as Meteora is a well known centre of icon painting) , as well as we visit many viewing fields, from which heartbreaking and divine views appear in front of our eyes, such as no photo can capture (nevertheless, have a look in the photo album and video). Then we will have a break for lunch, served in a traditional Greek tavern.

The return trip to Athens begins after lunch. This is a 4,5 hour’s long drive

Это не сказка, Это монастырь Русану в Метеорах

Few words about the monk-hood. The tradition of monk-hood began far away from here, in Egypt, on the edge of 4th century AD. Devotees voluntarily isolated themselves in the Egyptian desert, praying to God. Since then and till today, the prayer feat is considered as the main mission of an orthodox monk .

This mission is clearly socially motivated, because “the prayer of one single holy man can save the whole world”. Also today many abodes in an orthodox world bases in specific secluded and quiet places. So, if you ever meet in any religion book the term of “ermitirion” , please don’t be surprised, when you will find out that this term has a Greek origin and being directly translated, it means “desert” or “place of pacification”. For centuries Meteora, and Athos in modern Greece, are samples of such an “ermitirion”. The reclusion existed once side by side to the monkhood. Up to the 20th century Meteora remained a specific monastic republic, comparable to Athos because of its structure and the way of life . The 20th century became a century of changes. It was necessary to develop tourism, which became the most significant incentive for the growth of the local economy. First in 20th century scales appeared in Meteora, making easier for tourists the access to the top of the rocks there, where monasteries are located. Also roads were built in order to let touristic busses to reach Meteora. For centuries the code of specific rules regulated the monastic life, trying to protect monks from temptations of the external world. Surprisingly some of these rules, seemed to be strictly fundamental, had been revised and even cancelled under the pressure of the age of changes. Particularly, the entrance for women was finally allowed. Besides tourists, rock climbers “attacked” Meteora.

Hermits were those, who first run away from the invasion of surrounding life. And we can understand them : they simply felt bothered by tourists, watching them impudently from all the viewpoints. Or by rock climbers, who unexpectedly jumped , just to say “hello”. Even one of “James Bond” movies has been filmed here. So it became simply impossible for monks to follow their chosen spiritual way: how can you remain a hermit in its genuine meaning , when millions of people are visiting Meteora every year, not only pilgrims, but also just tourists. Unfortunately, some of them are not sensitive enough to understand, that they bother monks in an indelicate way simply by asking to make a photo together.

Therefore today monasteries of Meteora are available for visits only in specific opening hours. Then most of the  monks simply stay in the private parts of the monasteries, that always remain closed for tourists.

This can explain, why the outflow of monks followed, or more precisely, the period of absence of inflow of monks. Caused by deficit of sufficient men monks, two of friaries became nunneries. Monks started leaving Meteora by whole brethrens, a lot of monks moved to Athos and settled down there in one of the Atho’s monasteries over the rock, called Simonopetra ( The Simon’s stone) .

Sometimes I ask myself, why monks finally stayed at Meteora. The answer I received from the abbot of a monastery - "for the evangelization of the world." Athos is not available for tourists, so Meteora becomes the shadow of the sanctity of Athos in this sinful world.

People of all nations of the world are visiting Meteora. Some – in personal spiritual search, some – just to make nice pictures, to share with their friends. But in a similar way, like for a monk the meaning of his mission is the feat through the pray, in a same way nobody remains untouched by Meteora deeply in the soul, regardless of religious beliefs or country of origin.

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