The Metéora (Greek: Μετέωρα, pronounced [mɛˈtɛoɾɐ], lit. "middle of the sky", "suspended in the air" or "in the heavens above" — etymologically related to meteorology) is one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metéora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria
The Theopetra caves 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south of Meteora had inhabitants fifty millennia ago. The oldest known example of a man-made structure was found within a prehistoric cave in central Greece, according to the Greek culture ministry. 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.
We dated four different samples from the sediment and soil materials, and all provided identical dates,” 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 cavern’s inhabitants built the stone wall to protect themselves from the cold.” Excavated since 1987, the 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)
The village of Ouranoupoli is situated on the coastline in the northwest part (the very beginning) of the Athos peninsula, part of the bigger Chalkidiki peninsula. It is the last settlement before the border with the monks republic of Mount Athos (the Holy Mountain). The village houses the Christian Chalkidiki Exhibition at the old tower. The city of Thessaloniki is in about 140 km road distance from here.
Because of it's relative isolation Ouranoupoli has not been affected by mass tourism. It was founded in 1922, when approximately 50 families, Greek refugees from Asia Minor arrived under the auspices of the League of Nations, looking for a new home. The land was provided by Mount Athos and each family was given an one bedroom house, an arid plot of land and ten sheep. Without a road to connect it to the rest of the world the village remained isolated and life was hard. In 1947 the locals took shovels and spades and cut a crude dirt-track road which ended the isolation and brought the very first adventurous tourists to the village. Currently, Mount Athos-related trade and pilgrimage is the biggest source of income for the village
The beaches in Halkidiki are famous for their soft sand, the crystal water and lush surroundings. Most popular Halkidiki beaches are found in Kassandra peninsula, including Xenia beach. A light sandy beach with numerous rocks, Xenia beach is ideal for tourists looking for the perfect tan. Since it provides no natural shade, it is advised you carry your own umbrella to the beach
This small beach is ideal for swimming and is also safe for children.Lined with refreshingly green trees and rocks that slide into the water, Xenia beach is surely a must visit, guaranteeing a fun day out. It is located 100 km of Thessaloniki .