Holy Mount Athos is the only “alive” museum of the Byzantine Civilization in the world. Mount Athos is the spiritual capital of the Orthodox Christian World, consisting of 20 monasteries and approximately 2,000 monks.
Located on a Halkidiki peninsula, it is home to the oldest surviving monastic community on Earth. The way of life for the monks is practically unchanged since the first monks arrived in the ninth century. Most of the monks live within the walls of their chosen monastery, but others choose to live in complete isolation, away from any distractions.
Women are not allowed within 500 meters of the shore, and even female animals are prohibited from walking on Mount Athos! This is because the Virgin Mary is said to have visited the peninsula and prayed to have it as her own. It is believed that the presence of women might distract the monks, tempting them away from true celibacy and lead them to sin.
Mount Athos is a little more than 120km away from Thessaloniki city after the small town of OuranoupoliS. This is the last harbor before entering the monastic state of Athos, a place with a rich history that takes us back to the 11th century AD along with its unique Aegean landscape.
You will feel like traveling back in time in a journey that you will take you to the heart of the Byzantine empire while entering a different state of mind.
Moreover, the monasteries of Mount Athos are a veritable conservatory of masterpieces, ranging from wall paintings to unique portable icons, gold objects, embroideries, or illuminated manuscripts held and preserved with great pride.
Daily cruises to Mount Athos depart with the boat sailing on the shores of Sithonia in the direction of Mount Athos. The cruise continues on to the island of Ammouliani where one can swim in the blue waters of the exotic beaches of the island.