24 Nov Meteora Visit – questionnaire test
Within the framework of the Delos Initiative, it has been decided to test the questionnaire that was already reviewed by the Task Force members. The central attempt took place in the area of Meteora, which lies at the Thessaly plain, in Greece. On 18-20 November 2005, we paid our first visit to this distinctive UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site that hosts one of the oldest Monastic communities of the country.
The feeling of owe that the breathtaking landscape creates to the visitor can not be described, nor can it be conveyed by photos. Extremely large monoliths rise in the middle of a valley, fringed by rich and colourful vegetation. The site is also a designated NATURA 2000 area, due its exceptional fauna and flora species. On the inaccessible summits of the stone pillars, the Monasteries were built at the beginning of the 2nd millennium A.D. They are unique examples of architecture and remote places of contemplation.
In order to test the questionnaires and draw some initial conclusions of the situation, we met a few responsible agents of the region (the mayor of the nearest town, Kalambaka, the representative of a local development agency and several monks). The discussions proved to be informative and interesting. Within the following weeks, a detailed report will be prepared, analysing the situation further, in an attempt to investigate the intricate relationships that develop in sacred natural protected areas and how sacred sites can contribute to the conservation of the natural environment and vice versa.