Unveiling the World’s Seven Most Isolated Monasteries

Sitting alone on mountaintops or cliffs, these monasteries are not only ancient and steeped in history, but also difficult to reach. They were built in remote areas to provide a peaceful retreat for devotees seeking solitude and meditation. The grand scale of the monasteries, their unique architecture, and stunning natural surroundings are awe-inspiring. In addition to their religious significance, many of these monasteries have become popular tourist destinations.
One example is the Holy Trinity Monastery in Greece. This Eastern Orthodox monastery was constructed in the 15th century and stands on a massive sandstone block called Meteora, overlooking the Peneas Valley in central Greece. Meteora means “floating in the air” or “heavenly stone pillar” in Greek. Visitors who want to explore the monastery must climb 396 meters, including 140 steps.

The Holy Trinity Monastery, which dates back to the 14th and 15th centuries, is among the six oldest monasteries that still exist today. Moreover, it is the only one that has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. As a result, it has gained widespread recognition and has become a famous tourist attraction and an iconic symbol of Greece. This stunning location was also featured in the James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only” and served as the inspiration for the Eyrie Castle in the well-known Game of Thrones series.

Moving on to the Katskhi Pillar Peak Monastery in Georgia, it sits atop a massive 40m high stone pillar and resembles a giant stick. Georgia adopted Christianity as its state religion in the 4th century, and the Katskhi Pillar became the first church in the 7th century. The monastery has been through several destructions due to wars in previous centuries but was restored in the early 2000s after the arrival of indigenous monk Maxime Qavtaradze, who brought a new wave of religious activism to the area. Nowadays, climbing to explore the monastery is not accessible to everyone.

The Mount Popa Monastery in Myanmar is a remarkable volcano that boasts a stunning, yellow stupa-style monastery situated on its pinnacle. This site holds great significance as it represents an animist belief and the amalgamation of Buddhism with Myanmar culture. The locals believe in Nat gods, a group comprising various gods ranging from protectors to forest gods, who take human form. To witness the breathtaking view from the top, one must climb 777 steps while encountering mischievous monkeys along the way.

One of the most sacred places in Bhutan is the Paro Taktsang Monastery, also known as the “tiger cave.” It sits atop a cliff that’s 3,000 meters above sea level and overlooks the beautiful Paro Valley. The monastery is steeped in history and is revered by locals and tourists alike.

Numerous mountain roads lead to the monastery, but they are all challenging to traverse. The local government has established several ways to access this remarkable place. The monastery can be approached from various directions, such as the northwest path in the forest, the path often used by devotees from the south, or by following a trail that leads through the pine forest beautifully adorned with many flags.

Upon arrival, visitors can explore the four main temples, the inner courtyard with prayer wheels, the meditation cave, and the rest of the complex.

Moving on, the Monastery of St. George in Montenegro is a historic site constructed in the 12th century on a small island located in the middle of the Bay of Kotor. Despite being on a small island, visitors can also find a stunning park housing a cemetery for the old nobility in Perast. Tourists are not allowed to visit the monastery due to special reasons, but they can still appreciate its beauty from afar.

The Monastery of St. George in Israel can be found in the Judean Desert, situated between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. Constructed by a hermit named John Thebes during the 5th century, this orthodox monastery was later named after the renowned monk who resided there – Gorgias. The library is famously referred to as St. George. To access this sacred Christian place of worship, visitors must cross the bridge connecting Wadi Qelt, commonly known as the “valley of darkness.” Many individuals believe that Wadi Qelt is the same location referred to as the “valley of the shadow of death” in the Bible.

Currently, St George is a unique monastery that welcomes female pilgrims and tourists. This exceptional practice was established by a distinguished woman in the Byzantine era. She visited the site and claimed that the Virgin Mary had instructed her to come to the monastery to be cured of her incurable illness.

Another remarkable religious site is the Key Monastery situated in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh in Northern India. This Buddhist monastery is strategically located at an altitude of more than 4,100 meters, acting as a gateway to the Western Himalayas. It has been around since the 11th century and houses a plethora of Buddha statues, murals, and ancient texts in its three-storey building.

The appearance of the monastery gives off a defensive vibe rather than that of a typical Buddhist monastery. Currently, it serves as a well-known training center for Buddhism in India, with renowned Indian lamas residing and studying there. For those who seek to venture to secluded monasteries around the globe, the seven monasteries listed above would make for an excellent destination.

Attribution: Pinterest
Source: Miracles of Nature

Rewording:

Image credit goes to Pinterest for featuring the astonishing natural wonders around us. The source of this collection is a tribute to the miraculous marvels of nature that we can witness and appreciate.

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