Pictures, Images & Photos of the Meteora Monasteries, Greece.
Meteora Monasteries Greece pictures, images fotos & photos of the Orthodox monasteries on top of their pillars of rock. Buy stock pictures, photoart prints & cards of Meteora Mountains famous Cliff top Monasteries.
In the sixteenth century there were 24 monasteries but today only 6 remain. Each monastery has a winch house with a rope net that is lowered to haul up provisions. Originally pilgrims had to climb up precarious rope ladders to make their devotions in the monastery churches. Today a visit is less hazardous as steps have been cut into the cliffs that snake up to the monasteries.
In 420 Simeon, a Syrian Christian Monk, decided to escape the world and become a Hermit. He built a 15.2m (50ft) high pillar and somehow lived on the top, exposed to the elements, until his death. This inspired Christians for centuries like the hermits that originally inhabited the caves in the lower pillars of the Pindos Mountains from the 10 century.
In the fourteenth century monastery building started in earnest when a monk from Mount Athos, Athanasios Koinovitis, climbed a pinnacle known as the Plathy Lithos because of its wide plateau on top. Here, with a group of followers, he built the first buildings of the Metéoron monastery. In 1388 Thessaly was ruled by a Serbian King and his son, Loasaf, became a pupil of Athanasios at the Metéoron. The King extended the monastery which became an important center of learning with many fine illuminated codecs and important Byzantine frescos in its church.
23 more monasteries were built over the next 2 centuries and precious relics and icons found safety in the impregnable monasteries such as the finger of St John and the shoulder blade of St Andrew in the monastery of Varlaám. It is a marvel that 600 years ago men could build such wonderful buildings at the top of high isolated rock pillars without cranes or mechanical aides.
Since the building of a paved road into the mountains in the 1960s, tourists have been able to visit the Meteora Monasteries and marvel at beauty and serenity of the captivating Byzantine buildings set against the dramatic backdrop of the Pindos Mountains. UNESCO added the Meteora to its world heritage list and from 1972 the 6 remaining monasteries have been under renovation repairing damage from neglect and earthquakes. The Meteora Monasteries are one of the most extraordinary sights in the world and are a reminder of how religious devotion can drive men to great feats of architecture and art in search of salvation.
Pictures, images and photos of Konya, Turkey. Konya is a holy Islamic city where the Persian Sufi poet & ascetic Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī known as Mevlana or Rumi lived and is buried. Mevlana was "not a prophet — but surely, he has brought a scripture". He believed in the use of music, poetry and dance as a path for reaching God which allowed devotees to focus their whole being on the divine. Dervishes are Sufi Muslim ascetics and the Mevlevi order of Dervishes in Konya developed under Melvana's teachings. It was Mevlanas belief in dance and music that created the whirling Dervish as a form of devotion. Following his death, his followers and his son Sultan Walad founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for its Sufi dance known as the Sama ceremony.
In the 1920's when the modern Turkish state was formed under the rule of Ataturk, Dervish's were banned as part of the Ataturks move to make Turkey a secular country. The Mausaloeum of Mevlana was made into a museum where his sarcophagus and those of his family are a major shrine for Islamic pilgrims.
Pictures, images & photos of Istanbul and the historic buildings of the Roman Byzantine Constantinople. Istanbul is one of the most fascinating cities in the world. It literally straddles the East West divide of the Bosphorus with its western bank in Europe and its Eastern bank in Asia.
Originally the Greek city of Byzantium, the strategic importance of its peninsula was recognised by Emperor Constantine who made it into the Imperial City of the Roman Empire in AD 330. The city was founded on the Seraglio Point, a peninsular with the sea of Marmara to the south and the natural harbour known as the Golden Horn to the north. The peninsular overlooks the southern entrance to the Bosphorus, a narrow channel that links the Mediterranean via the sea of Marmara to the Black Sea. The importance of this was not lost on Constantine who saw that the city would not only control trade from the West north into the Black sea but being at the end of the Silk road, which brought precious goods from the far East to the West, Constantinople would be at the hub of East West trade. This gave Constantinople far more power and economic potential than Rome which Constantine never liked.
Constantine built his new city at an incredible pace looting whole buildings and statues from Rome and the other cities of the Empire. This new city was also a Christian city and Constantine built the first great churches of the Roman Empire.
As Constantinople prospered its Emperors took less interest in the Western Roman Empire which slowly weakened and was taken over by Barbarians that swept into the Empire from the north. With what is called the Fall of The Roman Empire in the 5th century history starts calling the Emperors of Constantinople Byzantine after the Greek city of Byzantium. The Emperors of Constantinople would not have understood themselves as Byzantine as they were Emperors of The Roman Empire and remained so until the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Even Mohammed refers to them as Romans in his writings but by the time of Mohammed they were Greek speaking Romans not Latin speaking.
Constantinople became fabulously rich and powerful and therefore a target for conquest. The massive land walls that protected the peninsular and its sea walls made it impregnable to many attempts to take it by force. It did though fall in 1204 to the stealth of the Venetian Dodge Enrico Dandolo when he diverted the 4th Crusade to Constantinople to help "protect" it from the Islamic onslaught that had conquered most of Asia Minor. The taking of Constantinople led to a 3 day sack of the city during which time the Venetians loaded all of its treasures onto their ships and sailed off to Venice. The four bronze horses that adorn the from of St Marks Basilica come from Constantinople as do the marble columns and decorations that adorn the palaces of the Grand Canal.
Even though the Byzantine Roman Emperors retook Constantinople it never regained its glory and went into slow decline. In 1453 it finally fell to Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II and it became the centre of the Ottoman Empire until its fall at the end of the First World War in 1918.
Little remains of Constantinople but buildings like the Hagia Sophia, built by Emperor Theodosius II and inaugurated it on 10 October 415, give an idea of the heights of sophistication the Roman Empire had reached. It would be a thousand years before a bigger dome was built than that on Hagia Sophia.
The Ottomans have endowed Istanbul with splendid mosques & palaces which fused the mystique of Eastern architecture with that of the west which along with its famous Bazaars make Istanbul one of the most colourful cities in the world.
Pictures, Images & photos of Hydra Island Greece. Located in the Aegean sea between the Saronic and Argolic gulfs Hydra is a fascinating island with no roads or cars. Hydra, the main town nestles on steep hills that rise up from a natural harbour full of small fishing boats. Steep flights of steps lead up from the harbour through small alleys to beautiful Greek villas that would have been the homes of the wealthy ships captains that came from Hydra. Everything from the building materials to the new fridges that are delivered at the dock are moved by donkeys or pack horses that climb nimbly up the steep flights of steps.
Hidden high in the mountainous interior of Hydra are the Orthodox monasteries of Profitas LLias and Ayia Efpraxia. Small paths lead up from the harbour at Hydra through the wooded slopes of the island revealing breathtaking views of the tiny island. The remote monastery of Profitas LLias sits on top of the central mountain and you will be welcomed by one of the monks who will offer you water and Greek delight and a seat to rest on.
There is no beach in Hydra but a 30 minute walk along the coast, or a short boat ride leads to Vylcosh Village which has a lovely small beach with umbrellas.
The harbour of Hydra with its cafes & tavernas contrast with the serene uninhabited mountains and the beautiful little beaches of Hydra to make a fantastic and unique Greek stop over for a few days.