ATHOS - THE ORCHARD OF THE VIRGIN MARY
The third peninsula of Halkidiki, Athos, whose mountain reaches a height of 2,033 meters, includes Mount Athos, an ideal religious destination. It is worth noting that it is a World Heritage Site protected by Unesco. It is a monastic state inhabited by more than 2,000 monks. Entry to Mount Athos is allowed only to men and requires a special permit and even after the permit has been granted men can stay up to 4 days. Characteristic are the green mountains, the impressive monasteries and the unique spirituality that leads every believer to reasoning and contemplation. There are 20 monasteries, 17 of which are Greek: Megisti Lavra, Vatopediou, Iviron, Koutloumousiou, Agios Pavlos, Dionysiou, Xenophontos, Stavronikita, Grigoriou, Konstamonitou, Esfigmenou, Docheiariou, Karakalou, Xiropotamos, Pantocratoras,Simonos Petras,Filotheou.One monastery is Russian (St. Panteleimon, another is Serbian (Chilandrari) and one is Bulgarian (Zografou).
There are also 14 hermitages, many cells, huts and seats. At Mount Athos are preserved masterpieces of Byzantine painting, including works of the two of the most important schools, Macedonian and Cretan, but beyond Mount Athos there are other interesting areas that can be visited: the imposing historical monasteries, the impressive cells built in caves or perched on the tops of the rocks, the fortresses, the domes and the bell towers at the edge of the mountain create the devoutness, the atmosphere of awe and the reverence that the monastic community deserves. The most famous, for the passage to Mount Athos, a seaside village of the prefecture of Halkidiki is Ouranoupoli on the border with the Monastic community from which the ships with the pilgrims depart. There are also luxury hotel facilities and rooms for rent. a, hostels, pensions, furnished apartments, campsites etc. with uniquely natural sandy beaches that accommodate travelers. You should also visit the Byzantine Tower, in a wing of which there is an exhibition of Byzantine antiquities while you will find in the area products of Byzantine hagiography and jewelry made with natural raw materials.