Mount Athos in Halkidiki, Greece, is many things. It is a promontory, but also a mountain. Yet, most people know about it as of a Monastic Republic of Orthodox Christianity. Let us now return to the first sentence and state that Athos is also a mythical place. But before everything else, this destination was, and still is, a place of big natural beauty. And this point is where its story begins.
A mythical residence of Greek gods
According to legend, Zeus, the supreme ancient Greek deity, and Apollo, his son, resided on Mount Athos before moving to Mount Olympus.
Another legend states that Athos came into existence during the battle of the Gods and Titans. One version states that a Titan named Athos threw a rock at Poseidon, the Greek God of the Sea, which landed at the present spot. Yet, another version states that Poseidon hit Athos with the rock, thus creating the mountain.
The Virgin’s garden
In 49 AD, a happenstance brought Virgin Mary to the peninsula. She immediately perceived its timeless beauty and wished it to become her garden. There is a myth that once she stepped on Athos, a stone statue of Apollo acknowledged the Virgin and her holiness. At the same time, it declared itself a false idol.
A holy ground of Orthodox Christianity
Due to the fact, the Athos peninsula became a holy ground for Christians in the following centuries. There were hundreds of monasteries that existed here at some point, before turbulent times wiped out most of them.
The Monastic Republic of Mount Athos originated at a beautiful place. Yet, the monks didn’t satisfy themselves only by enjoying its beauty. They shared various beauties originated here. A trip through Orthodox Christian countries, from Greece to Russia, reveals that fact. Influences of the Mount Athos in religious art are present in those countries.
Because Mount Athos is a personal garden of the Virgin, no other female may enter the Monastic Republic. Still, the same doesn’t apply for views from a short distance. Hence, take a boat ride around the promontory to appreciate its eternal soul and timeless beauty that enchanted old and present gods.