Spectacular Monasteries to Visit in Halkidiki outside of Mount Athos

Monasteries to Visit in Halkidiki outside of Mount Athos

Discover the history and beauty of Christianity while traveling in Greece. Check out these five spectacular monasteries in Halkidiki.

Discover the history and beauty of Christianity while traveling in Greece. Check out these five spectacular monasteries in Halkidiki outside of Mount Athos.

Ouranoupoli is right at the borders between Mount Athos and the rest of Halkidiki. Undoubtedly, Mount Athos is a special place to visit. After all, it is one of the sacred lands for Christians. However, access to the Holy Mountain is not easy.

Thus, if you still wish to visit spectacular monasteries, here is a list of the top 5 monasteries in Halkidiki outside of Mount Athos.

1. Monastery of Zografou, West Halkidiki

The monastery is at the village of Zografou in West Halkidiki, just before the beginning of the Kassandra peninsula. It dates back to the Byzantine era since its tower. Some of its preserved buildings are from the 14th century.

2. Monastery of the Annunciation of Theotokos in Ormylia, Sithonia

It is about 4 kilometers away from Ormylia village, and it is a women’s abbey. It is the biggest in Greece, and it hosts over 120 nuns of various nationalities. Most of the nuns are educated women and researchers.

In 1996, they established the Ormylia Art Diagnosis Center to study and research the Orthodox Church.

3. Monastery of Agios Prodromos in Metamorfosi, Sithonia

It is a relatively new monastery since it was established in 1975. However, its buildings once upon a time belonged to the old monastery of St Dionysios. Today 50 nuns live at the monastery, and it is about 2 kilometers north of the village Metamorfosi.

4. Dependency (Metochion) of the life-bearing spring in Ierissos, East Coast

It belongs to the Monastery of Hiliandary and is located close to Ierissos, after the bridge of Kokkinolakos. It is a small Byzantine chapel at the top of a high rock cliff. It is surrounded by other buildings such as cells, workshops, an artificial pond with fish, and an open-air guest atrium. The monastery is habited by monks who welcome visitors every day.

5. Monastery of Agia Anastasia Farmakolytria

It was founded in the 16th century by St Theonas, who later became the Metropolitan bishop of Thessaloniki. During the Turkish occupation, the monastery was destroyed, and it was built again from scratch in 1830.

Today it belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

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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.

Nature of Mount Athos, Halkidiki, Greece

Mount Athos is the easternmost peninsula of Halkidiki. It is usually known as the center of Orthodox Christianity since medieval times.

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