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Drone videos show wonders of Greek landscape

And now for a break from aerial videos of deserted cities. Recently two beautiful drone videos emerged online that show off the geographic and cultural diversity of Greece.
The first, by YouTuber Dhruv Rathee, depicts the amazing Meteora monasteries of northern Greece. These holy sites perch improbably atop great pillars of rock that rise up 1000 feet or more from the lush green landscape beside the Pindos Mountains, in the western region of Thessaly.

Greek hermit monks began building the monasteries in the 14th Century, in the waning years of the Byzantine Empire. As Turkish invaders threatened the territory, the monks sought refuge by building their monasteries in the sky.

They were nearly impossible to reach. The only way up was via ladders lashed together or in nets that the monks used to haul up both supplies and people. This was a perilous journey, as it’s said that the ropes on the nets were replaced only “when the Lord let them break.”

The monks built over 20 monasteries in total. Six remain today and form a UNESCO world heritage site. Meteora means “lofty” or “elevated” in Greek and is related to the word meteor.

An unexpected desert

A second drone video of Greece shows a radically different landscape—a little-known desert region in the north-western Peloponnese. It appears completely alien compared to the rest of the country. In place of rocky outcroppings and dark green vegetation, this arid region is dominated by sand dunes with sparse vegetation that appears to be barely hanging on to survival. It’s reminiscent of what you might see in the desert regions of the United States.

Comprising about 1,000 acres, the region is just west of ancient Olympia, home of the original Olympic games. If you like the looks of it, maybe place a bid. The Greek privatization agency is offering the land for sale.



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Sean Captain is a Bay Area technology, science, and policy journalist. Follow him on Twitter @SeanCaptain.