Meteora’s Hidden Gems: Old Hermitages, and Ruined Monasteries
Today the area filled with many Meteora ruins and hidden gems, of a past period when at the hight of the monastic community the site had close to 24 active monasteries and many hermitages. Not many people actually know that the origins of Meteora monasteries go back to the 10th century when the first hermit monks came here seeking to find isolation. They are the ones who laid the foundations for Meteora to become later on an important monastic center of the Orthodox Church. The caves around Meteora are filled with many abandoned hermitages from that early period.
By the late 16th century, Meteora’s monastic community included a total number of 24 active monasteries. By that time most of the small hermitages, like the one of Doupiani, had almost been abandoned since the new idea for the formation of larger monastic brotherhoods prevailed. The monasteries would offer opportunities for the improvement of daily life conditions and the resolution of problems, mostly centered around the oppressive nature of the Ottoman dominion and the harsh persecutions of Christians.
In the mid-17th century, the monasteries of Meteora gradually started to decline. Within the next two centuries many of the Monasteries and hermitages were totally ruined, either due to the destruction by the Ottomans, or they were eventually abandoned by the monks and, thus, deserted. This long process of decline lasted until the early 20th century leading to what we call today the “ruins and hidden gems” of Meteora. During the start of the previous century, several monks arrived at Meteora from Mount Athos and began to repopulate the few remaining monasteries.
A huge restoration and renovation project was then initiated, in order to preserve the unique cultural and historical heritage of Meteora. Part of this large restoration program focused specifically on the remaining Meteora ruins and hidden gems. Today, apart from the well-known 6 monasteries, a number of hermitages and small abandoned monasteries have also been restored. Our goal and wish is to try and acquaint visitors with some of these less popular – but not at all less interesting – historical and religious monuments. Below you can see how much more there is to explore in the region of Meteora.
If you find this impressive, why not booking an experience that will take you to these hidden gems of Meteora that most visitors are completely unaware of!