For more than a thousand years, the holy peninsula of Mount Athos in northern Greece is synonymous with the ultimate devotion to god for Orthodox men.
A micro-state almost self-managed by the numerous monks of various origins inhabiting the twenty monasteries of the headland. Women have always been banned on the territory in order to avoid any temptation to men who have sworn sole fidelity to their faith. Getting to Athos is never trivial. The journey is made by the sea, and it is the scene of a fascinating human mixture and an interesting interaction between pilgrims.
You come to look for something, to see, to feel, not only the spiritual but also the olfactory and the visual. A definite disconnection for some, very brief for others. The rules and conditions of life, still very traditional, sometimes difficult, must strictly be applied by the citizens as well as by the pilgrims. Despite everything, in recent years modernization has made its way.
Some motorized vehicles criss-cross mountain roads that are still badly marked. The monasteries have telephones and sometimes even internet. Monks have become as inseparable from their smartphones as from their cross. A paradox often striking. Visit the state whose inhabitants light up the candle, but where the bible is now read on iPad. [Official Website]
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