Mount Athos – in Greek known as Agion Oros, the Holy Mountain – is the most easterly of the three peninsulas of Chalcidice and took its name from the monastic state that lies spread out over its territory. Mount Athos occupies an area with a length of 47 km and a width of 5-10 km, in a total area of approximately 322 square km. It is narrow in shape – the ancient writer Strabo describes it is “breast-shaped and high” – and has a rocky and inaccessible terrain, with steep cliffs and no natural harbours. It thus forms a long and narrow mountainous area, resulting in a kind of isolation, which explains the specific nature of Athonite monastic life.
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