A rare geological phenomenon, a quirk of nature as it were, created these looming rocks which thrust skywards from the plain of Thessaly, as if striving to come closer to God. These peculiarly impressive natural sculptures are known as Meteora because they do indeed seem to hang or hover (meteoro in Greek) above the plain. Their summits, totally isolated from the rest of the world, were a refuge for many hermits from as early as the 11th century. Three hundred years later the first monasteries were founded. Most of the monasteries were built or renovated in the 16th century. Nowadays six are in use. In olden days one reached the inaccessible peaks in a basket drawn up by the monks operating a windlass. Today a good road leads from Kalambaka to the monasteries with their wonderful wall paintings, ecclesiastical treasures, rich libraries with precious manuscripts, and exquisite icons. Also the movie "For Your Eyes Only' with JAMES BOND was filmed there.