Facts about Mount Athos You Should Know

Facts about Mount Athos You Should Know

Mount Athos is a unique destination in many ways. It is one of the holiest destinations in Greece like no other in the world

Mount Athos is a unique destination in many ways. It is one of the holiest destinations in Greece. More so, it is an organization like no other in the world. Thus, there are many interesting facts that relate to Mount Athos.

And these are just a few of them:

  • Mount Athos is the monastic republic. It consists of 20 monasteries of Orthodox Christianity. The Megisti Lavra monastery, founded in the 10th century AD, is the oldest among them.
  • 17 monasteries are under the sovereignty of the Greeks. Russian, Serbian and Bulgarian brotherhoods run a single monastery each.
  • In the past, non-Greek communities had more monasteries under their jurisdiction. However, Greek monks took those over when the number of brothers decreased to the point when monasteries couldn’t be run by them.
  • When the Turks took over the Balkan Peninsula during 13th and 14th centuries, they left Athos monasteries intact. But in exchange for quite big taxes, of course.
  • Entry to the Athos Peninsula of Halkidiki is denied to females and children. Only grown-up males can apply for the permit to enter the grounds of the monastic republic.
  • Only one woman in history was allowed to set foot on the grounds of the monastic community of Athos. This was Jelena (Helena), the medieval Serbian Empress. She was the spouse of Dusan the Mighty, the most powerful Serbian ruler in history.
  • The curiosity about the Athos Peninsula is that even the number of domesticated female animals is strictly controlled. Only cats, which keep the population of rodents under control, and hens are to be seen around.
  • Athos monasteries had proved significant in creating and sharing the Orthodox art. Works of art created by Athos monks decorate monasteries and churches throughout the Orthodox world.
  • In summer, sailing tours around Mount Athos take place on a regular basis. Some monasteries you can see on a cruise are Dochiariou, Xenophontos, Simonopetra, Dionysiou and Russian Panteleimon.

People that receive the permit to enter the Monastic Republic of Athos have a unique opportunity.

They could climb the highest peak and enjoy fantastic views of the surroundings. There is a statement that they could experience sunrises hours before those at the base of the mountain.

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Mount Athos is the easternmost peninsula of Halkidiki. It is usually known as the spiritual center of Orthodox Christianity since medieval times. Its 20 monasteries scattered throughout the peninsula are popular pilgrimage sites. Yet, Mount Athos is unique in other ways, too. Take its splendid nature as a reference. It features hills, forests and the sea crashing against the mount's rocky base. In short, Mount Athos is a place unlike any other. Flora of Mount Athos Mount Athos has delightful nature, which is the reason for its "Garden of the Virgin Mary" epithet. There are many endemic plant species inhabiting the region because of many reasons. The uniqueness of the terrain and a variety of micro climates are a few of them. Kassandra and Sithonia, the nearby peninsulas, have the Mediterranean climate. Athos combines elements of the Mediterranean and Continental climates among some others. Due to the fact, you can find a wide variety of plants there. The olive tree, holm oak and the lentisk are some representatives of the Mediterranean vegetation. Some sub-continental species found in the area are the chestnut, fir and the pine. Even semi-desert plants inhabit the Holy Mountain, such as the arboreal euphorbia. And so on. Wildlife of Athos Since around 90% of Mount Athos's surface is untouched, there are many animal species inhabiting the region. While wandering around, you may find traces of various mammals and spot birds. Some mammals found on the Holy Mountain are jackals, red foxes, gray wolves, weasels and monk seals. The Garden of the Virgin Mary is also an excellent destination for birdwatching. Among other birds, you may see golden eagles, black storks, eagle owls, short-toed eagles and gulls. Landscapes of the Holy Mountain Pilgrims constitute the biggest part of Athos's visitors. Getting from one monastery to another is usually carried out on foot via stone-paved paths. Along the way, pilgrims traverse wooded areas with occasional clearings revealing magnificent landscapes. Fields and grooves encircle some monasteries, while others boast forested settings. Some of them are true islands in the sea of greenery.

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