Location and Values: Mount Athos is located on the Aegean coast in the north-east of Greece, on the easternmost promontory of the Halkidhiki peninsula. It is a mixed site, with natural values that are protected by Orthodox Christian monastic communities within a semi-autonomous Theocratic Republic. There are about 20 monastic communities, mostly established during the tenth and eleventh centuries, whose traditional use of the land, farming practices and forestry activities has ensured the survival of many species that have become rare elsewhere. Mount Athos itself dominates the landscape at the end of the peninsula and is revered and protected as a Holy Mountain. The population of the Mount Athos peninsula has been exclusively male – including farm animals – since an edict in 1060 which banned females from the area. The religious architecture, monumental paintings and art developed in the ancient monasteries at Mount Athos has been used and elaborated as far afield as Crete, the Balkans and Russia.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of Mount Athos is ‘good, with some concerns’. The IUCN report notes that management of the site is undertaken as a collective responsibility by the Holy Community –representing all 20 sovereign monasteries on the peninsula, and benefits from strong cooperation between State and Monastic authorities with support from the World Heritage Centre.
UNESCO Official Website
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description