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30 of the most beautiful places in the world

By: Melissa Breyer on July 8, 2014, 9:01 a.m.
Meteora Greece

Photo: Mikadun/Shutterstock

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Meteora

The meaning of Meteora is variously defined as "middle of the sky," "suspended in the air" or "in the heavens above,” and indeed, all three seem to apply. Built on barely accessible sandstone pinnacles that rise 1,300 feet from the Peneas valley in Greece, 24 of these Greek Orthodox monasteries originally perched atop the geological columns. Intrepid pilgrims were lifted up the cliffs by nets; supplies were hoisted by ladders and baskets. Talk about escaping the rat race ... but today visitors can get there by paths and stairs that were built in the 1920s. Now only six of the original 24 remain; it's of little surprise that these stellar structure and their environs can be found on the UNESCO World Heritage List.