Mount Athos

Mount Athos

 

 

Contact: The Holy Executive of the Holy

Mount Athos Pilgrims' Bureau

109 EGNATIA STR.

546 22, Thessaloniki, Greece

Tel. +30 2310 252578

Fax +30 2310 222424

 

Description of Mount Athos

Mount Athos also known as Holy Mountain is located on the Eastern “leg” of the Chalcidice peninsula in the Northern Greece and harbors 20 Eastern orthodox monasteries. Without a doubt this is the most important pilgrimage site for Eastern Christians in Greece as well as abroad. Mount Athos peninsula is connected to mainland, but only way to get there is by boat.

 

Mount Athos MapBefore you will visit the site you will have to learn some of the rules that apply here. Women and boys under 18 are not allowed to step on the soil of the mountain. Besides you will have to get a permit (diamonitirion) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Directorate of Churches; No 2, Zalokosta Street, Athens, tel: 3626-894) or from Ministry of Northern Greece (Directorate of Civil Affairs; Diikitiriou Square, Thessalonica, tel. 031/270-092). Another way to get the permit is by contacting offices of Mount Athos at Ouranoupolis. It costs 18 Euros for the Orthodox visitors and 35 Euros for the non- Orthodox. Besides you will need a passport. Then contact the Pilgrims’ Bureau (contact info below) to give them a notice of your arrival. It might be up to six months in advance if you choose to travel in summer, which is why it is probably the worst time to travel there. Besides notifying each monastery where you choose to stay is a must. You can do that by contacting each by phone or fax. You can get both from this site: abacus.bates.edu/~rallison/friends/friendsguide.html

 

 

 

Mount Athos has twenty monasteries:
Great Lavra (Μεγίστη Λαύρα Megísti Lávra) Vatopédi (Βατοπέδι) Iviron (Ιβήρων) Chilandariou (Χιλανδαρίου, or Хиландар Hilandar in Serbian) Dionysiou (Διονυσίου) Koutloumousiou (Κουτλουμούσι) Pantokratoros (Παντοκράτορος) Xiropotamou (Ξηροποτάμου) Zograf (Ζωγράφου, Зограф Zograf in Bulgarian) Dochiariou (Δοχειάρι) Karakalou (Καρακάλλου) Filotheou (Φιλοθέου) Simonos Petra (Σίμωνος Πέτρα or Σιμωνόπετρα) Agiou Pavlou (Αγίου Παύλου) Stavronikita (Σταυρονικήτα) Zenofondts (Ξενοφώντος) Osiou Grigoriou (Οσίου Γρηγορίου) Esphigmenou (Εσφιγμένου) Agiou Panteleimonos (Αγίου Παντελεήμονος, or Ρωσικό Rossikon) Konstamonitou (Κωνσταμονίτου)

 

Climate

The Athos peninsula is the extreme eastern end of the Chalkidiki peninsula. Its length from north-west to south-east is about 60 km, width - from 7 to 19 km, area - 335.637 km².

The relief of the peninsula gradually rises to the southeast and turns into a rocky mountain range, ending with the marble pyramid of Mount Athos (height - 2033 m). In the place where the low-lying isthmus turns into a hilly plain called Megali-Vigla (Greek Μεγάλη Βίγλα - literally “Great Guard”), there is the city of Ouranoupolis (Greek Οὐρανόπολις); to the east of it, since the 1920s, the administrative border of the Holy Mountain passes (earlier it passed northwest, along the "Xerxes Isthmus", a narrow strip of land 2 km wide, along which the dry bed of the "Xerxes Canal" runs).

The bay between Athos and the Sithonia peninsula lying to the south is called Ayon Oros (Greek κόλπος Αγίου Όρους) or Singitikos (Greek Σιγγιτικός), the bay to the north of the Athos peninsula is the Ierisos (Akantios) bay.

In the sea, a few kilometers northeast of Athos, is the largest abyss of the Aegean Sea, with a sharp drop in depth from 80 to 1070 meters.

The peninsula has more than 20 capes, the extreme extremities in the south - Cape Pines (Nympheon, Greek Νυμφαίον, St. George, Capo Santo), in the east - Cape Akratos (Timios Prodromos, St. John the Baptist, Smerna). The steep rocky shores have only a few large bays, the main of which is Daphne, the port of the Holy Mountain, where ships from the mainland arrive and where the customs, postal and police stations are located. The administrative center of the Holy Mountain - Karje (Karea) is located in the very center of Athos and is connected to Daphne by a road.

Dirt highways, laid mainly from the mid-80s of the XX century, lead from here to other ends of the peninsula, vehicles are used mainly for the transport of goods.

The climate is subtropical (Mediterranean), with mild rainy winters and hot summers. With the exception of the southern peak and the rocks adjacent to it, almost the entire Athos is covered with rich vegetation: spruce, chestnut, oak forests, dense bushes. There are many plane trees on the lower part of the mountain slopes, in the upper zone there are heather wastelands. Citrus fruits, apple trees, pears, cherries, walnuts are grown here, vineyards and olive tree plantations are planted. Snow rarely falls and does not last long. The sources of drinking water are streams flowing down from the mountains.