Mount Athos is a mountain and a peninsula in Macedonia, northern Greece. Politically it is known in Greece as the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain. This World Heritage Site is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The peninsula, the easternmost “leg” of the larger Chalcidice peninsula, protrudes into the Aegean Sea for some 60 km at a width between 7 to 12 km and covers an area of about 390 km², with the actual Mount Athos and its steep, densely forested slopes reaching up to 2,033 m. The seas around the end of the peninsula can be dangerous.
Though land-linked, it is accessible only by boat. The number of visitors is restricted and all are required to get a special entrance permit before entering Mount Athos. Only males are allowed entrance into Mount Athos and Orthodox Christians take precedence in the permit issuance procedure. Only males over the age of 18, who are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church are allowed to live on Athos.