Fancy a trip to Mount Athos? Learn about its rich history:

Mount Athos, also called Holy Mountain is one of the most important centres of the Orthodox Christian world, consisting of 20 monasteries and approximately 2,000 monks. Located on the Greek Chalkidiki peninsula, it is home to the oldest surviving monastic community on Earth dating back for more than one thousand years.

According to Greek mythology, the name Athos belongs to a Thracian giant. During the battle of Gods versus Giants, Athos threw a huge rock against Poseidon. The rock slipped through his fingers and fell into the sea creating a huge block of land which is now known as Mount Athos. However, on a different version of the story, it was Poseidon who threw the rock against Athos. The rock crushed Athos and buried him underneath. This rock is now called Mount Athos.

It is a self-governed part of the Greek State, administrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Visits are restricted – a special permit has to be obtained- and only adult men and males under the age of 18 accompanied by their fathers are permitted to enter Mount Athos. This rule, which is known as the “avaton”, forbids access to Mount Athos to any female.

Monasteries are built under the style of Byzantine architecture. The buildings are constructed with massive walls to create a defensive shield like a fort, giving Athos a castle appearance. The Athonian monasteries hold invaluable art treasures while at the same time form a cultural center for almost one thousand years. There are numerous painting collections and portable icons as well as mosaics and sculptures from the medieval years. All pieces of art are precious and unique holding a sacred story that traveled through the years.

Today there are 20 monasteries of which 17 are Greek, one Russian, one Serbian, and one Bulgarian. There are also twelve Skites (similar to monasteries but much smaller), a large number of Kellia (large farm houses), Kalyves (smaller houses), Kathismata (small houses for a single monk) and Hesychasteria (hermitages or caves in desolate cliff faces, for the most austere hermits).

ifly’s Travel Tip:

From Athens the helicopter flight to Ouranoupoli lasts 1 hour & 15 minutes, and then a car is needed to get to Mount Athos. From Thessaloniki the flight lasts about 30 minutes.


Mount Athos
Enjoy a comfortable and safe flight to Mount Athos.

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