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THE MALE ONLY MONASTERY GETAWAY


Mount Athos in Greece is the ultimate male-only destination. More than 1,000 years ago Mount Athos has barred women – they are not allowed within 500m of the coast, and can only see Athos from the sea. The rules here are strict. Even pets and birds are only male.

The Mount, actually 335 sq km peninsula, is the largest area in the world from which women and female animals are banned.

Athos is different from other monasteries because the whole peninsula is regarded as one huge monastery.

THE HISTORY OF BANNING

The reason for this ban was to remove thoughts of temptation from the monks who are supposed to practice the strict self-denial of a hermit in an isolated mountain. This was the simplest way, he says, to ensure celibacy.

But there is other reason for banning women, connected with Orthodox tradition. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist were on their way to Cyprus to visit their old pal Lazurus who had made the most of his second chance, when they ran into a storm that blew them way off course. They landed on the shores of the Athos Peninsula, and Mary was so overwhelmed by the beauty of her surroundings that she asked to give the mountain in her exclusive possession, even though its inhabitants were pagans. Since then, no woman can step on the slopes of the mountain. Only Virgin Mary’s Garden dedicated to her represents the feminity in Mount Athos. The legend is backed up by the decree of the President of Greece, according to which women face up to a year in prison for entering Athos.

This applies to both humans and domestic animals, except for cats. There are a lot of cats around and it’s probably a quite a good thing that there are because they are good mousers. Monks turn a blind eye to the fact that there are female cats.

DAWG SAYS: THE QUESTION IS WILL YOUR OTHER HALF ALLOW YOU TO GO?


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