We return to the magical setting of Meteora in Greece to host the finish line of TCRNo6. Meteora translates literally as ‘suspended in the sky’ or for the faithful, ‘in the heavens above’. It is a spectacular and precarious site of six monastery complexes which survive from more than 20 built atop naturally formed stone pillars by Eastern Orthodox monks some time during the 14th century.
“In a region of almost inaccessible sandstone peaks, monks settled on these 'columns of the sky' from the 11th century onwards. Twenty-four of these monasteries were built, despite incredible difficulties, at the time of the great revival of the eremetic ideal in the 15th century. Their 16th-century frescoes mark a key stage in the development of post-Byzantine painting.”
Monastic occupation of these ancient pinnacles, second only in their religious significance to Mount Athos, began the 9th century though caves in the area are first thought to have been inhabited as long 50,000 years ago including during the intervening ice age.
The formation of the monolithic pillars, located next to the Pindos mountains in western Greek region of Thessaly at Meteora is a geologically rarity. Today the six remaining complexes are a UNESCO protected World Heritage site. For racers, who will begin the finishing Parcous at Vlachava in the North, they will be obscured by the ridge line until the final moments of their journey. The reveal should not fail to uplift even the weariest of souls as it marks the end of their Transcontinental voyage. To experience the calm yet magnificent theatre of Meteora it is easy to appreciate how it invokes the spiritual and will provide racers with an ideal setting in which to relax and recover once their task is complete.
Control // Finish Line: Pub 38
Approx km from start: 3800 km
Parcours start: Vlachava
Coordinates: 39.770590, 21.662889
Parcours Finish: Pub 38,
Party: Tuesday 14th August
Closes: Wednesday 15th August at 23:00 (EET)