Mount Athos (1988)
Greece

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An Orthodox spiritual centre since 1054, Mount Athos (in Greek: Aghion Oros) has enjoyed an autonomous statute since Byzantine times. The 'Holy Mountain', which is forbidden to women and children, is also a recognized artistic site. The layout of the monasteries (about 20 of which are presently inhabited by some 1,400 monks) had an influence as far away as Russia, and its school of painting influenced the history of Orthodox art. 

The community was established in 963, and in 1963 it celebrated its 1000th anniversary.  

Greece 1963. Vatopedi Monastery at Mount Athos. Greece 1963. Main building of the Megisti Lavra Monastery, at Mount Athos. Greece 1963. *Dionysos Monastery at Mount Athos.
Greece 1963. Protatos Monastery at Mount Athos. Greece 1963. Stavronikita Monastery at Mount Athos. Greece 1972. Hagiu Paulu Monastery at Mount Athos.

Most of the remaining Byzantine architecture today is found in the Saloniki region of Greece.  Of the most outstanding examples is the Mount Athos Community existing for 1.000 years.  

Visiting Mt. Athos is no simple matter. If you are thinking of going (particularly in summer), start planning early, as only a restricted number of non-Greek male tourists can enter each day. 

Women and children aren't allowed at all - the closest they can get a view of the monasteries is from one of the round-trip cruises that leave from Ouranoupolis). 

  • Greece 1994.  Book painting from the 11th century, belonging to the community of Mount Athos. 

Greece 1994. Book painting from the 11th century, belonging to the community of Mount Athos.

St. Vincent of the Grenadines 1996. UNESCO Anniversary. Ceiling Painting Mount Athos. St. Vincent of the Grenadines 1996. UNESCO Anniversary. Painted Ceiling, Mount Athos. St. Vincent of the Grenadines 1996. UNESCO Anniversary. Mount Athos. St. Vincent of the Grenadines 1996. UNESCO Anniversary. Painted Interior, Mount Athos.

To book a date, contact the Mount Athos Pilgrims' Office in Thessaloniki, 00 30 31 861611. You will need to fax or email a photocopy of your passport details, and, if you are Orthodox (which makes entry easier), a photocopied certificate showing your religion. Once you have received written confirmation, you can pick up your permit, valid for four days, from the Ouranoupolis Pilgrims' Office. There is no land access from secular Greece; ferries depart in the morning from Ouranoupolis and Lerissos. The journey to Daphne takes about two hours; from there, a bus will take you to Karyes, the starting point for exploring the monasteries by foot. 

Other World Heritage Sites in Greece (on this website). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Greece-section, for further information about the individual properties.

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Revised 01 aug 2006  
Copyright © 1999 Heindorffhus 
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