Mount Athos, a mountain and peninsula in northeastern Greece is an important centre of Eastern Orthodox monasticism. It is governed as an autonomous polity within the Hellenic Republic and home to 20 monasteries, under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
Commonly referred to in Greek as the Agion Oros or ‘Holy Mountain’, Mount Athos is known for its long Christian presence and historical monastic traditions, dating back to at least AD 800 and the Byzantine era.
Today, over 2,000 monks from Greece and many other countries, including Eastern Orthodox countries such as Romania, Moldova, Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia, live an ascetic life in Athos, isolated from the rest of the world.
Access to women is strictly denied, and in order to keep unwanted tourists out, visas are granted only to pilgrims and workers.
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