Did you ever wish to live among holy men and reach divinity? If so, Mount Athos will give you a chance you’ve been looking for. Check out why you should visit Mount Athos at least once in your lifetime.
Greece is known for its beautiful and rich ancient history and mythology. Yet, it is also a land of abundant Christian traditions and history. Today, there are plenty of important religious spots in Greece, but the most sacred is Mount Athos.
Mount Athos is the holiest mountain in Greece
The second most important Christian Orthodox Religious site after Jerusalem. It has a long history of holiness and monastic traditions, and currently, within the Christian Orthodox community, it is known as the Holy Mountain or the Garden of the Virgin Mary.
Mount Athos has been a secluded monastic community for a thousand years, and it still follows Byzantine traditions. Today, there are 20 operating monasteries which are all only for male monks. After all, only men are allowed to enter Mount Athos as visitors.
Visiting Mount Athos
When visiting Mount Athos, you feel like stepping back in time. That is because monks live in the ways of the Byzantine era, so visitors can experience and discover the mysticism of the orthodox religious lifestyle for a few days. Furthermore, you can admire works of hagiography and unique architecture of stunning monasteries, churches, hermitages, and sketes.
All monasteries accept guests and have a hospitality custom of greeting visitors with a small glass of alcohol and some traditional sweets. They also offer a free meal per day. However, as they follow Byzantine customs, they use the Byzantine time, where the 00:00 hour begins at Sunset. So, visitors will need to adjust their meal times accordingly. Nevertheless, this is undoubtedly a unique experience.
Furthermore, Halkidiki is a top destination for fantastic natural landscapes. It has dense pine trees, lush green mountains, incredible coastlines, white sandy beaches, and crystal-clear azure waters. This is because, at Mount Athos, nature is still unspoiled due to the very little human activity in the last few centuries. So, visitors can trek kilometers of astonishing landscapes across the entire peninsula.
Still, planning a trip to Mount Athos is relatively complex, even if you are a man. As an autonomous region, they have their own laws. For instance, only 100 Christian Orthodox males and 10 non-Christian Orthodox males per day are allowed entrance. And only with a special entry permit, called the Diamonitrion.
Also, it is essential to find accommodation and transportation before arrival. Specifically, you need to notify the monasteries of your arrival to prepare a bed and a meal free of charge. And then, contact the bus driver to pick you up and drop you off if you’d rather drive around the area rather than trek from monastery to monastery. After finishing all preparations, Mount Athos will surely be one of the best experiences you’ll ever have while traveling.