The view of the towering dark rocks is awe-inspiring. Nestled on their peaks and in their caves since the 11th century, are the monasteries of Meteora. With ropes, nets or their bare hands, the monks established a centuries-old tradition: climbing. In Thessaly, the complex of imposing rocks rises above Kalambaka, between Pindos and Antichasia. Monasticism here began in the 11th century, when monks left Mount Athos and came to Thessaly to practice in the caves of the huge rocks. In the 14th century, Hosios Athanasios Meteoritis organized the first community of congregations, founding the monastery of Megalos Meteoros. Monks from other regions of Greece followed, founding a total of 20 monasteries. Nowadays there are six living, thriving and renovated monasteries in Meteora, which welcome the pilgrim hospitably in their monasteries. They are the monasteries of Agios Nikolaos Anapausas, the Transfiguration of the Saviour or Great Meteor, Varlaam, Roussanos, Holy Trinity and Agios Stefanos. The rest are either renovated, but without monks, or dilapidated.