Archaeological council bans international climbers' gathering at Meteora

The Greek Central Archaeological Council (KAS) has banned an international festival of climbers at the giant rock formations at Meteora, in Thessaly, central Greece.

More than 1,000 visitors – including climbers, spectators and journalists – were expected to take part in the annual Petzl Roctrip contest between September 29 – October 3.

KAS officials told Kathimerini that organizers had failed to provide enough details about the contest's rock climbing routes and the festival's parallel cultural events.

Officials denied speculation that the decision was influenced by opposition to the gathering from the monastic community of Meteora.

Built into and on top of huge pinnacles of smooth rock, the monasteries of Meteora are one of the most extraordinary sights in mainland Greece.

The KAS decision came under criticism from the centrist To Potami party.

“We have to make use of our land in a way that is beneficial for future generations, without prejudice and red tape getting in the way, but of course, always respectful of the natural beauty and history of the place,” the party said in a statement.

Two members of the party were scheduled to climb the Meteora rocks in a symbolic gesture against the decision.