Away from civilization | 9 precariously perched temples and monasteries | MNN

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Away from civilization

They may be visually stunning, but cliff-top temples were typically not built with architectural beauty in mind. Instead, some of most famously located monasteries — like these in Meteora, Greece — were built so that monks could protect themselves from the kind of political upheaval that was so common in the Middle Ages. The builders of another religious complex, the Paro Taktsang in Bhutan, chose their construction site because it was adjacent to a network of caves where early Buddhist figures had meditated and lived.

Today, some mountainside temples are off-limits for safety reasons. Others still hold cultural or religious significance and are either closed to the public or only partially open. Some still welcome visitors including pilgrims and those willing to display the requisite level of respect.

Here is a selection of clifftop structures that are significant for religious and historical reasons — and for the sheer drop-offs that surround them.





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