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The six monasteries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area.It is located near the town of Kalambaka at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains.The small Lithaios River flowing literally on the doorsteps of the cave meant that cave dwellers had always easy access to fresh, clean water without the need to cover daily long distances to find it.Excavations and research and have discovered petrified diatoms, which have contributed to understanding the Palaeo-climate and climate changes.The cave consists of an immense 500 square metres (5,400 sq ft) rectangular chamber at the foot of a limestone hill, which rises to the northeast above the village of Theopetra, with an entrance 17 metres (56 ft) wide by 3 metres (9.8 ft) high.It lies at the foot of the Chasia mountain range, which forms the natural boundary between Thessaly and Macedonia prefectures, while the Lithaios River, a tributary of the Pineios River, flows in front of the cave.More than 20 monasteries were built, beginning in the 14th century. In 1517, Nectarios and Theophanes built the monastery of Varlaam, which was reputed to house the finger of St John and the shoulder blade of St Andrew.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.

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Initially, the hermits led a life of solitude, meeting only on Sundays and special days to worship and pray in a chapel built at the foot of a rock known as Dhoupiani.This type of rock formation and weathering process has happened in many other places locally and throughout the world, but what makes Meteora's appearance special is firstly the uniformity of the sedimentary rock constituents deposited over millions of years leaving few signs of vertical layering, and secondly the localised abrupt vertical weathering.Caves in the vicinity of Meteora were inhabited continuously between 50,000 and 5,000 years ago.Meteora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria I, II, IV, V and VII.Beside the Pindos Mountains, in the western region of Thessaly, these unique and enormous columns of rock rise precipitously from the ground.

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