Meteora is a rock formation in central Greece hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries. The monasteries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area. Monks settled Meteora from the 11th century onwards, searching for a safe place. As a result, the only way to access the monasteries was by rock climbing or being carried up in a basket. In the 16th century there were 24 monasteries build on these peaks. Today there are six still functioning, while the remainder are largely in ruin. Perched onto high cliffs, they are now accessible by staircases, build after 1920s, and pathways cut into the rock formations. The functioning Monasteries are: Great Meteoron Monastery, Varlaam Monastery, Rousanou Monastery, St. Nicholas Anapausas Monastery, St. Stephen Monastery, Holy Trinity Monastery.