Located below the Meteora, one of the most complex natural formations in the world, Kastraki is a small, beautiful village in Greece. The village has a population of 1023 according to a 2023 survey. However, the number increases greatly during various seasons due to tourists. Kastraki is one of Greece’s most popular locations.
A quiet picturesque village, the history of Kastraki goes back to at least the 13th century. During the Byzantine times, the village had a castle, which is now in ruins. Historians believe that the name Kastraki comes from this castle.
The houses of Kastraki are the perfect example of a Mediterranean village. One or two-storied houses with white-painted exteriors and red-tile roofs with dense trees covering from every side. The foundation of the village was, however, during the 16th century. After the Ottoman Empire conquered Albania, some Albanians relocated to this area and founded Kastraki.
Despite the growing popularity, the village managed to protect its authentic identity. Due to its history and location, UNESCO added the village and the surrounding area to its Heritage List. Aside from its natural beauty, Kastraki is also famous for its monasteries and churches which are hundreds of years old.
Arguably the most interesting part of Kastraki is its rock monasteries. These monasteries located on top of the Meteora have been a popular place among Christians and tourists from all over the world.
The first mention of a church in the area comes from an 11th-century source. In those years, some monks settled in a cave under the Meteora. However, as time passed, they began to slowly climb upwards and establish their buildings there.
Until the early 20th century, people could only reach the monasteries through ladders and baskets. These methods have of course changed as technology developed and the monasteries became touristic places. Today, there are many roads and pathways that take people to the summit of the Meteora safely.
Whether it is its nature, history, views, or monasteries, Kastraki is a place with so many interesting aspects. There are many agencies that set up tours to see the village and experience its calm nature and historical atmosphere. Moreover, due to the Meteora, Kastraki has become popular among rock climbers as well.