The Monastery of Varlaam is a portal to an ancient world where echoes of the distant past still reverberate. Archaeological evidence suggests that the history of this mysterious monastery goes back an incredible 130,000 years. This is a timeline detailing events from the late Paleolithic to the close of the Neolithic.
Dr. Aikaterini Kyparissi-Apostolika led an exploration team that set out in 1987 to solve the Varlaam Monastery’s mysteries. Dr. Kyparissi-Apostolika, an expert in prehistoric archaeology and spelaeology and the head of the Ephorate of Palaeoanthroplogy and Speleaography of Greece’s Ministry of Culture and Sports, spearheaded this remarkable endeavor.
Over the course of two decades, this brave team painstakingly unearthed the layers of history hidden within the monastery’s chambers. Their findings shed light on the lives of the ancient monks who once inhabited this sacred space, revealing details about their daily routines and spiritual practices.
The Monastery of Varlaam is not only a record of human history, but it is also an important part of the geological history of the Earth. Located on top of a steep limestone cliff, it provides a panoramic vantage point. Adding to the rugged beauty of the area around the monastery is the Lethaios River, a tributary of the Pineios River.
Between 137 and 65 million years ago, during the Upper Cretaceous geological period, geological forces formed the limestone hill that this ancient monastery stands on. It’s a reminder that the history of the Monastery of Varlaam is but a fleeting moment in the grand chronicle of Earth’s geological evolution.
If you’re interested in taking a walking tour of Varlaam Monastery yourself, we recommend checking out our Varlaam Monastery Greece Self-Guided walking tour. More prolific travelers might also be interested in Action+, a new subscription service that grants access to over 100 tours for a single yearly price.