For the finale of For Your Eyes Only (1981) – the twelfth James Bond film and the fourth to star Roger Moore – Melina Havelock and Colombo assist 007 to gain access to an abandoned Greek monastery where Kristatos plans to hand over the top secret ATAC over to KGB chief General Gogol.
The monastery – the fictional St Cyril’s – is set atop a mountain and protected from attack thanks to the sheer rock face, which Bond is forced to climb before gaining control of the lift basket and letting the remainder of his team up the easy way.
These scenes where filmed at the Agia Triada Monastery in Greece, which is one of six remaining “Meteora” (suspended in air) monasteries. Dating from the 14th and 15th centuries, they are all perched on top of natural sandstone rock pillars on the Thessaly plain.
The Agia Triada, or Holy Trinity, was once part of a complex of 24 monasteries belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church. It was originally constructed in 1475 but remodelled and expanded throughout the late 17th and early 18th centuries with a small group of Byzantine hermits inhabiting the rock as early as the eleventh century. A larger group of followers established themselves at the location in the early fourteenth century, finding it ideal protection against the Turkish invaders.
These days it is usually inhabited by just one monk and is reached by climbing 140 steep stone steps. To supply the monastery the monks used to have to haul up baskets attached to the end of ropes and a winch can be still seen that was used for the same purpose, as well as bringing up visitors.
Agia Triada is a thirty-minute drive from Trikala, or five hours from Athens. From the monastery you can walk to Kalambaka , the nearest town, which is three kilometres away; whether or not you walk, it is advisable to wear comfortable shoes.
When to visit and travel details
Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00 daily.
Sometimes closed on Thursday and/or Fridays.
The busiest times are the summer season and weekends, while you will experience the best weather if you plan your trip either in May to June or September to October when it is cooler than the summer months.