EXPLORE Mount Athos with this slideshow, check the location map and get all the facts and information below.
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Website Categories: Temperate & Boreal Forests;
Area: 330 km2
- Exceptional natural phenomenon (vii);
- Outstanding natural beauty (vii);
- Cultural criteria (I,ii,iv,v,vi)
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.
The slideshow introduces Mount Athos with a portfolio of photos by Peter Howard from a visit in May 2019. Visits to the semi-autonomous Republic by non-Greek citizens are highly restricted, being possible only for men with a special permit (which takes several days to get). Most visitors have to satisfy their curiosity about Mount Athos by taking a boat tour along the coast, viewing the monasteries and surrounding semi-natural environment, coastal features and mountains from a distance. The slideshow starts with a few introductory photos from outside the site, which give an idea of the coastal vegetation and rocky shoreline in this part of the Aegean Sea, before taking the boat tour along the peninsula, with views of the main monasteries and landscapes from offshore.