Meteora (Greek: Μετέωρα, lit. “middle of the sky”, “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above” etymologically related to “Meteorite”) is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos.
The Cliffs of Meteora
Studies suggest that the pinnacles were formed about 60 million years ago during the Paleocene. Then weathering and earthquakes formed them into their present shape.
Beside Pindos Mountains, at the western region of the Thessaly plain in the middle of northern Greece, these sandstone rocks rise from the ground. The rocks are composed of a mixture of sandstone and conglomerate. A series of earth movements pushed the seabed upwards, creating a high plateau and causing many fault lines to appear in the thick layer of sandstone.
Continuous weathering by water, wind and temperatures extremes turned them into huge rock pillars, marked by horizontal lines which geologists maintain were made by the waters of a prehistoric sea.
Greek historian Herodotus wrote in the 5th century BC that local people believed the plain of Thessaly had once been a sea. If this was accurate, there was most probably an inundation at the end of the last Ice Age, around 8000 BC.
Theopetra cave, 5 kilometres south of Meteora, hading inhabitants fifty millennia ago.
The oldest known example of a man-made structure was found within a prehistoric cave in central Greece. The structure is a stone wall that blocked two-thirds of the entrance to the Theopetra cave near Kalambaka on the north edge of the Thessalian plain.
It was constructed 23,000 years ago, probably as a barrier to cold winds. An optical dating test, known as Optically Stimulated Luminescence, was applied on quartz grains nested within the stones. Nikolaos Zacharias, director of the laboratory of archaeometry at the University of Peloponnese, told Discovery News. According to a statement by the ministry of culture, the dating matches the coldest period of the most recent ice age, indicating that the caverns inhabitants built the stone wall to protect themselves from the cold.
Excavated since 1987, Theopetra cave is well known to palaeontologists as it was used and inhabited continuously from the Palaeolithic period onwards (50,000 to 5,000 years ago).
More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora