Wednesday, July 06, 2022



Rihla (The Journey) – was the short title of a 14th Century (1355 CE) book written in Fez by the Islamic legal scholar Ibn Jazayy al-Kalbi of Granada who recorded and then transcribed the dictated travelogue of the Tangerian, Ibn Battuta. The book’s full title was A Gift to Those who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling and somehow the title of Ibn Jazayy's book of Ibn Battuta's travels captures the ethos of many of the city and country journeys I have been lucky to take in past years. 


I do not have a rigid belief system but I do like experiencing and trying to interpret the structural conversations that we as humans from the earliest beginnings have designed and built, both as individuals and communities to have with God and the Gods. 

In many personal journeys, to highlight a few, from the temple complex of Gobekli Tepe near Sanliurfa in Turkey of circa 9000BCE (see: , to the 320BCE temple complex of Zeus Lykaios in Mt Lykaion, Arcadia, Greece ( see: to the pillar of St Simeon Stylites in 450CE Telanissa, Aleppo, Syria, to the 537CE Haghia Sofia in Istanbul, to the 2001CE Sultan Qaboos mosque in Muscat, Oman all of these constructs directed towards the heavens are magnificent in their execution in their ambition of faith. 

This particular Rihla is a pictorial journey, in the main, depicting some specific Eastern Orthodox monastic structural conversations – or praxis with their Logos – in Meteora and Mount Athos, Greece; built to provide shelter, to educate, to withdraw from, to show the path, to illuminate, to impress and to survive the intrusions of Mammon. 


Hermits and monks first came to the Meteora – from the Greek for something "hovering in the air" – sandstone pillars in the 8th Century. At one point during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent (1530s) there were 13 substantial monasteries and about 20 other small monasteries, hermitages, skites etc. There are six open today, two of which are nuns convents.

Roussanou nuns convent.

Great Metereon, Varlaam and Roussanou Monasteries 

St Nicholaos

The remains of monastery at rear of Doupiani Rock

Ypapantis (Monastery of the Purification) 1367
Very similar to M. A. Ioannis Prodromou in Loussios Ravine near Stemnitsa 
and ancient Gortis that I have previously been to. 

Dupiani Chapel on site of very first monastery in Meteora.
Originally it was the place on Sundays where hermits in smaller monasteries or hermitages would come down from their eyries and gather to pray.


The ferry from Ouranopoli to Dafni. Had many Orthodox Russian men waving goodby to their girlfriends and wives on the dick who then had to console themselves in the wall to wall jewellery shops that line the two streets of Ouranopoli. 

Mount Athos

Skiti Nova Tivaida

Anchorage of the Bulgarian Orthodox Holy Zografu Monastery


M. Xenophontos

M. Ayiou Panteleimonos (Russian Orthodox)

The ferry port at "secular" Dafni

Monastery of  Simonpetra with its seaport below. This monastery is the link to the Meteora monasteries as it is populated by monks from the Grand Meteron monastery.

M. Ayiou Dionysiou

M. Ayiou Paul on Kalatha gorge at western foot of Mount Athos

Skiti Ayias Annis