An extract from UNESCO's description illustrates that: "Built under impossible conditions, with no practicable roads, permanent though precarious human habitations subsist to this day in the Meteora, but have become vulnerable under the impact of time. The net (and basket) in which intrepid pilgrims were hoisted up vertically alongside the 373 m cliff where the Varlaam monastery dominates the valley symbolizes the fragility of a traditional way of life that is threatened with extinction. The monasteries are built on rock pinnacles of deltaic origin, known as Meteora, which rise starkly over 400 m above the Peneas valley and the small town of Kalambaka on the Thessalian plain."
It is said that the hermits and ascetics probably settled here first in the 11th century. The rock community slowly grew and it encompassed 24 monasteries. Each community developed its own resources and by the end of the 14th century, the Grand Meteoron emerged as the dominant community.
However, only six of the monasteries remain today.Of these six, five are inhabited by men, one by women. Each monastery has fewer than 10 inhabitants. The monasteries are now tourist attractions. All the pictures shown here I've taken at the Grand Meteoron. It serves as the main museum for tourists.
For me this has really been an amazing and fulfilling experience. The only drawback was that we visited it at the weekend when it was swarming with tourists, while place like this requires a peace of mind for the soul to open. I cannot describe the wonderful energy that fills the place and the unity one feels with the universe. I have to go back there again.
There are more pictures on my flickr page if you want to see more (it's on the right-side bar).