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Mount Athos - A travel report by Srelios
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Mount Athos,  Greece - flag Greece -  Piraiévs
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slageris's travel reports

A pilgrimage to the monasteries of Mount Athos

  10 votes
The Holy Mount Athos is an autonomous and self-governed territory of Greece. It occupies the whole of the third peninsula of Halkidiki, about 50 km in length and having a breadth of 8-12 km covering an area of 330 square kilometers.


Mount Athos travelogue picture
Mount Athos, known as the Holy Mountain, is a peninsula in Halkidiki, north Greece containing 20 monasteries. The region is governed by the Holy community under the ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Only men are permitted to enter Mount Athos. The rule, known as the ABATON, forbids access to Mount Athos by any female and is enforced by law. In accordance with the procedures established by the Holy Community foreigners must obtain a written permit to visit Mount Athos from the Mount Athos Office. The Mount Athos Office is open: from Monday to Saturday from 09:00 to 13:00. The address is: 109 Str. Av. Egnatias – 54622 Thessalonica Greece. Tel.:0030-2310-25257-8 and fax: 0030-2310-222424. The office issues only 10 permits per day for foreigner pilgrims and 100 for Greek orthodox pilgrims. These permits are valid for a 4days stay in Mount Athos. Pilgrims can go to Ouranoupolis by car or by bus. It is about 120km from the airport of Thessalonica. When pilgrims arrive in Ouranoupolis, the port where ferryboat depart to Mount Athos, must go to the Mount Athos office for pilgrims and take the diamonitirion (visitors permit). The pilgrims’ office is open every day including Sat. & Sun. from 07:30. This permit is required upon boarding the ferryboat and also when pilgrims arrive at the monasteries. It costs €35. Students pay €18. The F/B leaves at 09:45 from Ouranoupolis. This F/B arrives in Mount Athos port of Dafni around 12:00. From Dafni you can take the bus to Karyes the capital of Mount Athos and from there to other monasteries. Pilgrims can move to Mount Athos with mini busses (mini bus tel.: 0030-23770-23266 and fax: 0030-23770-23879). Pilgrims to Mount Athos should be decently dressed (no shorts pants). Several penalties are enforced against anyone who attempt to remove religious items from Mount Athos. The entrance of video cameras on Mount Athos is strictly forbidden.

Favourite spots:
Mount Athos travelogue picture
Monastery Vatopediou
The monastery was built during the second half of the 10th century, by three monks, Athanasius, Nicholas and Antonius from Adrinople, who were the pupils of St. Athanasius of Lavra. From then onwards several buildings have been constructed, but the most important ones, were those built during the Byzantine period, and on the 18th as well as the 19th century, when the monastery reached its highest peak. Inside the spacious courtyard, there is the central church, the cross-formed refectory and several chapels. Inside the central church one can see the only existing mosaics in the Holy Mountain, while its frescoes, painted around 1312, are attributed to the painter Manuel Panselinos from Thessaloniki. Apart from the frescoes and the masaics, the monastery has in its possession a large number of unique portable icons, manuscripts and religious objects.

What's really great:
Mount Athos travelogue picture
Today on Mount Athos there are 20 monasteries, 17 of them are Greek: Megistis Lavras, Vatopediou ( Greek Cyprian ), Iviron, Koutloumousiou, Agiou Pavlou, Dionissiou, Xenofontos , Stavronikita, Gregoriou, Konstamonitou, Esfigmenou, Doheariou, Karakalou, Xiropotamou, Pantokratoros, Simonos Petras, Filotheou. One monastery is Russian (Agiou Panteleiminos), one is Serbian (Hilandariou) and one is Bulgarian (Zografou).There are also 14 skites and many kellia, kalives and kathismata.

Sights:
Mount Athos travelogue picture
THE HERMITAGES



The hermitages are small seats. They are at deserted and sacred places, sometimes on rocks and inaccessible summits and sometimes in caves and clefts of rocks where the monks establish their inaccessible refuges. They live there on fasts, wakefulness and endless prayers, studying the Testaments and the phenomenon of death.-

Accommodations:
The monasteries do not charge for their hospitality, however donations are accepted. Most of the monasteries and skites require that pilgrims call in advance to reserve a bet. Also visitors who have been issued an "idiko diamonitirio" (invitation from a monastery) they must stay only at the monastery that made the invitation.

Restaurants:
Monasteries Trapeza

Other recommendations:
Mount Athos travelogue picture
Karies
Karies is the capital of Mount Athos. On the beginning was called “Mesi”, in the 11th century it was called “Lavra of Karies” and the 14th century, Skite of Karies. Today is a small village that has some houses, shops and few temples. Here is situated the building of IERA KINOTITA (Holy Community), where the representatives of the 20 Monasteries meet. In front of this building stands the temple of Protato, the cathedral of Karies. There is kept the miraculous icon AXION ESTI. Opposite the Protato, lies an ancient tower. Inside the tower is the library where is kept the first document of Mount Athos, written on goat skin and called “Tragos”.

Published on Tuesday August 5th, 2008


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Thu, Sep 04 2008 - 10:00 AM rating by marianne

A place I will never be allowed to visit.

Tue, Aug 19 2008 - 07:51 PM rating by jorgesanchez

Bravo, Mount Athos is a wonderful place, unique in Europe, to get there is really something especial. Thanks for writing about it.

Wed, Aug 06 2008 - 05:16 AM rating by louis

Adding a photos to this report you would gain more points. Place seems to be extremly interesting.

Tue, Aug 05 2008 - 09:33 PM rating by eirekay

Being Orthodox, this is a journey I would love to take. Being a woman, alas, I can't. Thanks for being it me in your report!

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