In north-central Greece
The town of Kalambaka where these magnificent rock columns begin to occur that served as a refuge for ancient monasteries.
My wife and daughter ahead on the trail leading to the stairway carved out of rock going to the top where a monastery of the Greek Orthodox Church is located. One of the buildings is visible in the upper left.
Here is the monastery we climbed to, taken from the road where the car had to be parked. The stairway carved from the rock is visible on the bottom right of the column that houses the monastery. In ancient times, there was no stairway. Everything, persons and supplied, was hauled up by ropes with a wooden winch that still exists in the dark-faced building front facing us at the center of the building complex.
At the top we were served tea by a Greek Orthodox priest with a huge black beard and long black robes. The priest, of course, lived there on top of this rock pinnacle. I asked him how long he had been there and he answered "800 years." The answer reflects the wonderful Orthodox Christian intuition called "sorbornost." At the deepest level, we are all one. When I asked how long he had been there, he naturally thought in terms of the community rather than himself.
A view from the road that passes through this area of rock columns hundreds of feet high.
Another monastery on another rock column in the area. In medieval monasteries were built on these pinnacles to protect the monks from attacks by thieves and outlaws.
The buildings here appear to be not far above ground level, but in reality they are quite high up. Notice the buildings on another column to the left of center in the photo.
The buildings in this monastery conform to the entire surface of the central pinnacle.
The buildings in this monastery are just visible, crunched into the indent in this gigantic face just below the center of the photo.