By 10Best Editors for USA TODAY 10Best

10 amazing mountaintop and cliffside monasteries

For centuries, devotees of major religions around the world have been building awe-inspiring structures to honor their gods. Take a look at these 10 seemingly impossible monasteries.

Meteora Monastery | Greece

Monks have enjoyed the serenity of these isolated buildings, perched atop sandstone pillars in Central Greece, since the 11th century.

Sigiriya | Sri Lanka

Sigiriya, or Lion Mountain, juts out of the jungles of northern Sri Lanka. Visitors pass between two giant carved lion paws before making the steep climb to the top.

Sant Miquel del Fai | Spain

This Benedictine monastery perched on the cliffs in the Catalan region of Spain was established by the 10th century.

Tiger's Nest Monastery | Bhutan

Paro Taktsang, also called Tiger's Nest, was built in 1692 nearly 3,000 feet above the valley floor. It became a prominent Tibetan Buddhist meditation site.

Phuktal Gompa | India

Located in Northern India, Phuktal Gompa was built directly into the side of a cliff with a honeycomb-like pattern to its structures. About 70 monks still reside within it.

Hanging Monastery | China

Constructed in 491, the temple complex has survived for centuries in the most unlikely of locations: suspended 164 feet above the ground.

Popa Taungkalat | Myanmar

Popa Taungkalat, one of the most important religious sites in the country, sits atop an extinct volcano plug. A total of 777 steps lead to the top of the outcrop.

Yumbulagang Monastery | Tibet

According to local legend, Yumbulagang was the first building in Tibet and the home of the first Tibetan king during the 2nd century BC.

Spituk Monastery | India

The Spituk Monastery in Northern India has served as a place of worship for both Red and Yellow Hat Buddhists since its construction during the late 14th century.

Sumela Monastery | Turkey

Built in 386, the Greek Orthodox Sumela Monastery clings to the steep cliffs of Altındere National Park in Turkey.

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