‘Suspended in the air’ (the meaning of Meteora in Greek), these monasteries represent a unique artistic achievement and are one of the most powerful examples of the architectural transformation of a site into a place of retreat, meditation and prayer. They are built on rock pinnacles of deltaic origin, known as Meteora, which rise starkly over 400 meters above the Peneas valley and the small town of Kalambaka on the Thessalian plain.
During the fearsome time of political instability in 14th century Thessaly, monasteries were systematically built on top of the inaccessible peaks so that by the end of the 15th century there were 24 of them. They continued to flourish until the 17th century. Today, only four monasteries - Aghios Stephanos, Aghia Trias, Varlaam and Meteoron - still house religious communities.