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Escapists. The Most Remote Monasteries and Temples in the World

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Among the attractions of global significance many ancient monasteries and temples are notable, as their atmosphere remains unchanged for hundreds of years. The oldest and the most interesting monasteries of the world are situated in places, which are extremely hard to reach, for example, on the steep slopes of high mountains and cliffs in vast deserts or wild forests. Hundreds of years ago only the most motivated and faithful people could get to these monasteries. Today, these shrines are centers of attraction for thousands of tourists. Path to religious sites can be an unforgettable experience. However, it requires considerable courage, tenacity and physical endurance.

Taung Kalat, Myanmar

One of the most remote religious sites in the world is the beautiful Taung Kalat monastery in Myanmar. It was built relatively recently, in the late 19th century. The monastery was founded on Taung Kalat mountain being the old extinct volcano. The last eruption of this volcano occurred in the 5th century BC; in fact, the monastery was built in the crater, which makes it even more unique.

Taung Kalat, Myanmar Taung Kalat is 737 meters high. Visitors have to overcome a long and steep staircase of 777 steps to get to the top. Given that it was constructed on almost sheer mountainside, climbing requires really good physical training. The initial portion of the stairs is rather wide and made of stone; gradually stairs become narrower and more tangible with each step.

Originally, the staircase was roofed-in, but eventually the old roof has dilapidated and today some areas are completely open. The only thing that can save from falling into the abyss is fragile wooden railing. Another dangerous feature is a huge number of monkeys running around. Thus, you will need a lot of patience and caution to overcome the cherished 777 steps. Since ancient times, locals considered Taung Kalat mountain to be the sacred place and an abode of spirits, which were revered on par with Buddha. Most pilgrims visit the monastery during the festival of the full moon, Nayon. This religious festival is celebrated twice a year. Next - Sumela monastery

Sumela monastery, Turkey

Sumela monastery, Turkey Turkey or more exactly Atindere valley can boast one of the oldest temples in the world, Sumela Monastery. Unique in all respects, this monastery was carved in the slope of the Black Mountain at an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level. According to the legend, monks from Athens called Barnabas and Sophronius were founders of this Christian monastery. They have found an icon of the Virgin Mary in one of the local caves and in 386AD the monastery was founded on that site. The hard-to-get monastery looks fascinating; it seems that it was literally built in the rock. Complete article

Hanging Heng mountain temple, China

Hanging Heng mountain temple, China The name of the temple located on Mount Heng in China fully describes its main distinguishing feature. This amazing temple was founded more than 1500 years ago. It’s located on the steep slope of the mountain and literally hangs over a gorge at a height of about 75 meters. According to one of the beautiful legends, a Buddhist hermit has begun its construction. Hundreds of years later, his work was continued by other admirers of Buddhism and Taoism, but the scope of primary work seems simply unbelievable. The modern Hanging Heng mountain temple is an impressive architectural complex comprising of more than 40 halls and rooms connected by paved stairs and tunnels in the rock. Complete article

Meteora, Greece

Meteora, Greece Amazing Meteora monasteries are among the most striking sights in Greece. They owe their name to Greek word ‘meteor’ that can be translated as ‘floating in the air’. The name succinctly and clearly describes the feature of these religious structures. Currently, the complex includes six active Orthodox monasteries located on the cliff tops. Complete article

Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

Paro Taktsang, Bhutan Many travelers go to Bhutan in search of unique Buddhist monasteries. This tiny state features hard-to-get Paro Taktsang monastery. Its name can be translated as ‘Tiger's Lair.’ The monastery is situated on a steep slope of rocks, it’s about 700 meters above the earth. According to historical records, the monastery was founded in 1692, but the very first monks have settled in these areas much earlier. Complete article

The Temple Of Donators, Ukraine

The Temple Of Donators, Ukraine The Temple of Donators is one of the most important sights of the Crimea. It’s located in an incredibly beautiful place, in one of the caves of Eski-Kerman mountains. It’s incredibly difficult to find this amazing cave storing priceless religious artifacts. Travelers are advised to go sightseeing with an experienced guide, otherwise there would be a great risk of getting lost in the maze of insurmountable mountains and dense forests. Main features of the ancient cave temple are primeval murals; according to scientists, they were painted in the 12th century. Complete article

The Monastery of Mar Saba, Israel

The Monastery of Mar Saba, Israel There is the Orthodox monastery of Mar Saba In Israel, near Jerusalem. The shrine is known to many travelers as the Great Lavra of St. Sabbas the Sanctified. In appearance it resembles a powerful medieval fortress. The monastery was named after its founder and was laid in this place in the 5th century. An amazing legend tells that in search of solitude Sabbas the Sanctified has found a cave, where he spent several years. A few years later, a small church was built near the cave. After that, devotees and followers of a hermit began to settle there. Complete article

Monasterio de Montserrat, Spain

Monasterio de Montserrat, Spain The amazing monastery of Montserrat located in a mountainous area of the same name is the main religious center of Catalonia. It attracts Catholics from around the world. Hundreds of years ago, a wooden statue of the Madonna has been founded by shepherds in one of the caves. The monastery was laid down around this legendary cave in the early 11th century. It’s incredibly beautiful mountainous area at an altitude of over 720 meters above sea level. Complete article

Monastero di San Colombano, Italy

Monastero di San Colombano, Italy San Colombano can safely be called the most inaccessible monastery of Italy. It was founded almost 700 years ago, in 1319. The temple can be found in the picturesque province of Trento, or rather, in Piano delle Fugazze. The monastery carved into the cliff looks fascinating. It’s literally locked in the center of the cliff. The monastery is surrounded by incredibly beautiful natural landscapes framed by mature trees. It is more reminiscent of a fairytale mirage than the work of human hands. Complete article

Dionysiou monastery, Greece

Dionysiou monastery, Greece Monasteries of Mount Athos are prominent landmarks of world importance. One of the most famous is Dionysiou monastery. It was founded in the 14th century on top of a steep and incredibly narrow cliff of about 80 meters height. The founder of the monastery was Dionysius the Reverent, who had started to collect funds for the construction of the monastery and has received support from the Emperor Alexius III Comnenus. Complete article

Monastery the Jail, Montenegro

Monastery the Jail, Montenegro Ostrog Monastery in Montenegro is a religious monument unique in all respects. It is one of the few shrines in the world that can be attended by both Muslims and Catholics. The monastery is an incredibly beautiful architectural complex carved in the rocks. Only a few similar structures have survived in the world. The location of the monastery is unique, as it’s literally built in the sheer rock wall and is 840 meters above sea level. The founder of the monastery was Basil, the bishop of Herzegovina; the shrine was founded in the 17th century. Complete article

Church of Saint Maximus the Confessor, Georgia

Church of Saint Maximus the Confessor, Georgia Among the most interesting religious shrines planet the Church of St. Maximus the Confessor in Georgia is certainly worth noting. This is where the Katskhi pillar is situated. Latter is one of the most famous and popular natural attractions in the country. The height of the limestone monolith that was formed millions of years ago is 40 meters. Complete article
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