Few kilometers northwest of the town of Kalabaka, the impressive rocks of Meteora are rising from the plains of Thessaly been one of the most amazing places in Greece. Many centuries ago, on these gigantic rocks with the breathtaking landscape reaching heights of more than 600 meters, it was formed one of the most important monastic communities of Greece.
The Greek word Meteora means “suspended in the air” and this phrase aptly describes these remarkable Greek Orthodox monasteries. Meteora is a great place to experience, a spectacular landscape and byzantine monasteries perched on top of steep rocks that house priceless artifacts and wall paintings. Today only six monasteries are active with a small number of monks or nuns who reside on Meteora. In 1988, the Meteora monasteries have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and the Meteora-Antichassia area is part of the Natura 2000 network hosting some rare species of birds and flowers.
The widely praised Opening Ceremony by avant garde choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou held on August 13, 2004 began with a twenty eight (the number of the Olympiads up to then) second countdown paced by the sounds of an amplified heartbeat. The Opening Ceremony was mainly a pageant of traditional Greek culture and history hearkening back to its mythological beginnings chronicling Greek history from the ancient Minoan civilization to modern times.