March 24, 2011

0 Greece: The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron

This is the largest of the monasteries at Meteora, built between the 14th and 16th centuries.  It is the one we toured.  This view is taken from the upper part of the area pictured two images below.

These steps were put in during the 1920s to aid access.  Believe me, they may be easier than a rope basket, but they're no escalator- and these were just the ones on that side of the walk!!

The entrance area, as seen from the monastery steps. The little icon box is detailed in part below.  The car park is to the upper right a bit.

Each side had a little shrine area with icons and windows that opened for donations.  

A landing area on the steps.  Just a hint of the frescoes that decorate the interior of the church, which I couldn't photograph.

Part of the cellar storage.

More cellar storage.

Paul was amazed at why monasteries would need rifles.  However, these monasteries were built on this site for protection, as the monks could just raise and lower the rope ladders as they wished. The monasteries were also viciously attacked during WWII.

More cellar.

Near the cellar is a small room, the size of a WC or medium closet, that has a small cutout in the door.  This room holds the bones of the monks who have died in residence at the monastery.  According to our driver/impromptu guide, about five years after burial the bones are retrieved from the graves according to custom.

The fresco on the outside wall of the Katholikon (church).  The interior frescoes, which have not been damaged by light or weather, are quite vivid and brightly colored.  Churches were decorated with these biblical scenes since most of the attendees were illiterate.  Paul was astounded at the amount of beheading pictured- fire and brimstone, people!
One of two talantons outside of the Katholikon.  The other is the traditional wooden board, symbolizing the wood Noah struck to call the animals onto the ark.  This metal one sounds more like a chime.

There were some ceramic plates in the walls.  I'm not sure of their significance.

Outer wall with depiction of the Apostles.

Jesus, and a door.

The rest of the Apostles.

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