If you visit the wonderful, magical, beautiful Halkidiki, and you skip the Mount Athos, it’s more than a shame. In fact the visit itself in most of the cases means a sea cruise around the peninsula where you could take a look at the monasteries in the foot of the sublime mountain.
This whole place was inhabited too long ago and the first monastery here dates from the Byzantine era. The whole meaning of this place that makes it so magnificent and impresses you a lot, however, hides in its importance during the Ottoman era. The many monasteries here that are Greek, Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian and Serbian saved the culture of all these countries. In the dark time when these countries didn’t exist at all and the whole Balkans were part of the Ottoman empire, only here there were people who cared, who worked and saved all the records of the greatness and majesty these countries had once. And the life of the monks here was and still is difficult and uncertain and tense, but they do not want a prize, all they do is so implicit and that makes you feel uniquely. You sit there, on the boat, and you look at the mountain, at the monasteries in the middle of nowhere, you imagine the ascetic life all these people have and had in the past and there is nothing more you can do, than being lost in admiration. You stay here in silence, because all the words you could hear or speak are absolutely unnecessary. The emotions you feel cannot be simply expressed – this place doesn’t offer you sightseeing, it offers you sensations. And though all the women are not allowed there since 1046 and the men need special permission, you don’t care; you don’t need more, just the energy of the sea, the mountain and the history.