Underrated Tourist Spots Meteora Greece | Today’s blog post is all about Meteora – spectacular rock formations topped with six Greek Orthodox monasteries; and the Theopetra Cave – including humans’ oldest construction in the world, the Theopetra Cave Wall.
‘Metéora’ means “middle of the sky”. And that really nails it. A formation of immense monolithic pillars and hills-like huge rounded boulders dominates the region half way between Thessaloniki and Athens. Some of them are topped with Eastern Orthodox monasteries It all started in the 14th century.
Out of 24, only six monasteries survived. But the construction was a logical consequence of incredible 23,000 years of constant and violent inhabitation of the Meteora region. The oldest known example of a man-made structure here is a stone wall that blocked parts of the entrance to the nearby Theopetra cave. It was constructed as a barrier against cold winds. Don’t forget: by then the Earth was in an ice age. Many old artifacts were found within the caves near Meteora. Therefore this underrated tourist spot is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
At some point in the 16th century there were 24 intact monasteries at Meteora. Only six are still inhabited today, while the remainder are ruins. Perched onto high cliffs, all Meteora Monastary are now accessible by hiking trails, staircases and pathways.
Map of Meteora Monasteries
The six mighty Meteora Monastaries are located near Greek Highway E92 half way between and Grevena and Trikala. Pinpoint your navigation system to this latitude, longitude: 39°42′51″N, 21°37′52″E
20 minutes south of Meteora you’ll find the village of Theopetra. Nothing fancy about it. But right there it might be getting very interesting for the hobby archeologists among you. Welcome to the Theopetra Cave! It is situated on the northeastern slope of a limestone hill. The cave overlooks Theopetra village, and the Lethaios River.
According to geologists, the limestone hill that hides the cave was formed between 120 and 60 million years ago. Humans began to occupy the cave during the Middle Palaeolithic period. That was approx 130,000 years ago. The cave itself has been described as being roughly quadrilateral in shape with small niches on its periphery and covers an area of about 500 sqm (5380 sq ft). The Theopetra Cave has a large entrance, which allows light to enter abundantly into the interior of the cave.
Since evidence for human habitation in the Theopetra Cave can be traced without interruption from the Middle Palaeolithic to the end of the Neolithic period, it is super significant for archaeologists. They get a better understanding of the prehistoric period in Greece in particular but also about the history of mankind in general. The site has been open for public since 2009.
The Theopetra Cave Wall
What’s so spectacular about this cave? In 2010 a important discovery was made. Archeologists uncovered a wall which was built 23,000 years ago. It is the oldest known human-built structure so far.