Ascending to the Monastery, Meteora, 1897

‘Only Access to the Monastery of St. Barlaam – 250ft by rope – Meteora, Greece’

Underwood & Underwood


St Barlaam Monastery Greece

For centuries a net or a rickety series of ladders lashed together with rope were the only means of accessing the lofty monasteries at Meteora in Greece. Six monasteries remain today, perched upon pinnacles of sandstone. The fellow in the net is going up to St. Varlaam, the second largest monastery in the Meteora complex. It was built in 1541. The cliff upon which St. Varlaam sits is actually over 373m high. Now a World Heritage Site and a major tourist attraction, the monasteries are a little easier to access.  During the 1920s steps were cut into the rock face and the monasteries are accessible via a bridge. Despite some war-time bombing, the monasteries remain as one of Europe’s most unusual sites. The name itself, ‘Meteora’, comes from the Greek for ‘Middle of the Sky’ etymologically related to the word ‘Meteorite’.