In Meteora, Greece, six magnificent monasteries still exist, precariously perched atop 1,300 feet high sandstone pinnacles. Hermit monks constructed the first monastery before nuns came to build too. Access to each monastery was crazy, a leap of faith, climbing rocks, and ladders lashed together or large nets until the ropes would break. The bizarre but beautiful monasteries of Meteora are centuries old and listed by UNESCO World Heritage.
The caves in Meteora, Greece, had inhabitants for fifty millennia, but due to raids, “hermit monks” moved to the safety of sandstone rock pinnacles in the 9th century and began building monasteries. More monks and nuns came, building more monasteries perched high upon the cliffs. Wikipedia reports, “Access to the monasteries was originally (and deliberately) difficult, requiring either long ladders lashed together or large nets used to haul up both goods and people. This required quite a leap of faith – the ropes were replaced, so the story goes, only ‘when the Lord let them break.’” UNESCO World Heritage says, “The net in which intrepid pilgrims were hoisted up vertically alongside the 1,224 ft. cliff where the Varlaam monastery dominates the valley symbolizes the fragility of a traditional way of life that is threatened with extinction.”