Posts tagged with 'churches'

More Monasteries

By Ross in Travel on Sat 28 June 2014. Tags: Greece, churches

After leaving Agia Trias, I set out to hike around the area and explore some other monasteries.

Here is the monastery of Agios Stefanos (St. Stephen). A seemingly endless line of tour buses was pulling up to the monastery, so I elected to enjoy it from a distance:

Untitled photo Untitled photo

Next, I stopped at Rousanu, which is a nunnery. I overheard from one of the tour guides that it has the most residents of any of the Meteora monasteries.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

It has a beautiful garden.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

It also has a barnacle porch. Note the ladder on the wall below the porch.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

This is a nice spot to relax and enjoy the view.

Untitled photo

Here is one fresco from the chapel depicting the martyrdom of various saints, complete with detached heads and everything.

Untitled photo

Finally, a photo of Rousanu in the distance, with the rock cliffs of Meteora as a backdrop.

Untitled photo

The next stop on the monastery tour was Varlaam.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

Here I am outside the monastery (the one in the background is the monastery of Grand Meteoron).

Untitled photo

In the monastery, there is a really huge barrel.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

You can see the traditional and modern goods delivery systems side by side. Here is the traditional winch and net:

Untitled photo Untitled photo

And here is the modern version. The net has been replaced by a metal box, which you can see on the valley floor. The metal cart is also on wheels, and can move back and forth on a short set of rails.

Untitled photo Untitled photo
Untitled photo

On my way out, I met two canine caretakers:

Untitled photo Untitled photo

And one feline.

Untitled photo

Finally, I visited the largest of the monasteries, the monastery of Great Meteoron.

Untitled photo

The path up the the monastery involves many sets of stairs, and on one occasion passes through a narrow tunnel. I got a nice view of Varlaam through the tunnel.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

It has for the most part been turned into a museum, and there are exhibits on Greek history and folklife, liturgical objects, and manuscripts. More interesting than these were the rooms which were set up the way they would have been in the nineteenth century.

This is the storeroom:

Untitled photo

With closeups of wine casks, barrels, and presses:

Untitled photo Untitled photo

Here is the ossuary.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

And the kitchen. You can see the food preparation area and the cookpot:

Untitled photo Untitled photo
Untitled photo Untitled photo

Here is the balcony outside the kitchen:

Untitled photo

I like these photos taken through the balcony railing and supports.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

After leaving Great Meteora, I still had several hours of daylight left, so I decided to take quick hike down one of the numerous trails in the area. I stumbled across this mysterious staue (the Greek inscription was mostly eroded).

Untitled photo

I also found an abandoned monastery.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

I walked up the stairs leading up to it, but the door was barred.


Monastery of Agia Trias

By Ross in Travel on Sat 28 June 2014. Tags: Greece, churches

I set out this morning to explore the monasteries of Meteora on foot. This is not the most popular option (there are tour buses galore, as well as public buses which shuttle people from one monastery to the next) but it was the one recommended to me and it sounded like the most fun, plus it let me see the monasteries on my own schedule. I headed up random roads to the top of Kalambaka, then set out on a well-marked, paved trail which wound its way up the mountainside.

Untitled photo

I met this cat on the trail.

Untitled photo

When I was near the top, I got some great views of the surrounding area.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

My first stop was the Monastery of Agia Trias (Holy Trinity). It is one of the smaller monasteries, and reaching it requires an ascent of over 100 stairs, so fewer tour buses stop there. For that reason, I found it to be the most intimate of the four monasteries I visited. I am also glad I went there first thing in the morning, since I pretty much had the place to myself. When I neared the end of the trail, the first thing I saw was not the monastery but this cable-and-box contraption which shuttles goods (and people) between the road and the monastery. It was moving when I first saw it. (The monastery is hidden behind the rock on the right).

Untitled photo

I then climbed many sets of stairs:

Untitled photo Untitled photo

And finally reached the entrance to the monastery, where I paid my 3 euro entrance fee (they all charge the same amount). The cable-box drops you off at the same place.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

I really like this cute little porch which attaches to the monastery like a barnacle. The hook can be lowered to the valley floor to resupply the monastery.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

Once through the door, I climbed up the main steps:

Untitled photo

And I reached the inside of the porch. The winch is used to raise and lower the hook, but as the cable is secured in place, I do not think it is in regular use any more. (My guess is they use the cable-box instead.)

Untitled photo Untitled photo

Here is a closeup of the winch. Supplies are placed in the net, which is then attached to the hook.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

I like this picture of the roof beams of the porch.

Untitled photo

I then passed through this room:

Untitled photo

And arrived at the entrance to the chapel.

Untitled photo

These ornately carved doors are opposite the chapel entrance.

Untitled photo

Once again, I took some illicit, flash-free photos of the chapel.

Untitled photo

Here is a photo of the dome frescoes.

Untitled photo

And the stalls.

Untitled photo

And finally a closeup of one of the frescoes.

Untitled photo

After leaving the chapel, I walked out onto the top of the rock monastery.

Untitled photo

Where I got spectacular views of the valley and some of the other monasteries:

Untitled photo Untitled photo

There is a nice, small garden on top of the monastery.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

I spent a peaceful hour in the monastery before heading down to see the rest of the area. As I walked on to the next monastery, here are some photos I took looking back on Agia Trias:

Untitled photo Untitled photo

Rock Churches

By Ross in Travel on Tue 10 June 2014. Tags: Turkey, churches

After settling in at the Coco Cave, I set out to walk around the vicinity of Goreme. My first stop was the Goreme Open Air Museum. About half way there, I heard a thunderclap, and hailstones (about the size of ball bearings) started falling from the sky, despite it being sunny where I was standing. Fortunately, I was able to wait out the storm in a nearby cave, which are abundant in the region.

The hail turned to rain, which eventually slackened enough that I left my (not so) comfortable cave and headed to the museum. The Open Air Museum is a walking tour of some of the best-preserved churches and other structures of the region, all built directly into the rock. The most remarkable example is the Dark Church, a rock church whose frescoes are incredibly well preseved on account of the small amount of light which actually reaches the church.

I was not permitted to take photos in the Dark Church (and there was a guard standing by to enforce this rule), but I did manage to snap a few illicit, flash-free photos in the Church of the Sandals.

Here we see the main apse, the central dome, and the two supporting pillars of the church.

Untitled photo

This is a closeup of the central dome.

Untitled photo

Finally, here is a fresco of the crucifixion on the wall of one of the secondary apses.

Untitled photo

The refectory is located underneath the church, and has a stone table with stone benches on either side, all rough-hewn from the rock.

Untitled photo

After leaving the Open Air Museum, I hiked up one of the nearby hills (there are paths, or approximations thereof, almost everywhere) and soon stumbled across the remains of another rock chrurch, one of many which dot the region.

Untitled photo Untitled photo

I got some spectacular views as the sun started to set...

Untitled photo

... and even made friends with a goat.

Untitled photo