Mount Athos is a monastic republic, which under international law belongs to Greece, but it is managed autonomously.
The access for women is strictly prohibited – out of reverence for the Virgin Mary. In recent years, the modernization of the monasteries were funded by the EU with 150 million EUR, although it is rumored that the assets of the monasteries could cover the Greek debt.
Furthermore the monks are not always picky in their choice of methods. During the annual election of the supreme chairman, truncheons were used and to declare opposition, a monastery was occupied, too.
At present, approx. 2.000 monks live on Mount Athos. Apart from that, the monasteries around the holy Mount Athos are worth seeing. They house art historically unique objects, such as icons, manuscripts, frescoes and relics. The monasteries are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The steep northern flanks of the 2,000 m high Mount Athos are visible over a long distance.
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