Meaning ‘suspended in air’ the name Meteora includes the entire rock community of 24 monasteries. There were no steps and the main access to the monasteries was by means of a net that was hitched over a hook and hoisted up by rope and a hand cranked windlass to winch towers overhanging the chasm. Monks descended in the nets or on retractable wooden ladders up to 40m long to the fertile valleys below to grow grapes, corn and potatoes.
Studies suggest that the pinnacles are formed about 60 million years ago during the Tertiary Period . Weathering and earthquakes then shaped them into their present shape.
Although it is unknown when Metéora was established, as early as the 11th century AD hermit monks were believed to be living among the caves and cutouts in the rocks.