The Spirit of Mount Athos
Geography Mount Athos is situated in the eastern and most enchanting third peninsula of Halkidiki, which is called the peninsula of Athos. It is the only place in Greece, which is totally devoted to praying and worshiping God and thus, it is called the Holy Mountain. The Holy Mountain or the Mount Athos has about 50 Km length, 8 to 12 Km width and it covers a surface of about 350 square km. The borders of the monasterial city are set on the ground by an imaginary line that begins from the location "Fragokastro" on the West coast and reaches the cape "Arapis" on the opposite side. The natural beauty of the peninsula is wonderful. The Mount Athos that dominates there is an enormous cone of 2.033m height. It’s bare top that seems to be piercing the sky and its slopes, which are full of old evergreens, give the area a unique natural beauty.
Mount Athos is a self- governed division of the Greek state. Politically it comes under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but religiously it comes under the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. It has been divided into twenty self- governed territories. Each territory consists of a leading monastery and some other monastic settlements around it (hermitages, cells, huts, seats). All the monasteries are communes, which means that the monks have a common liturgy, prayer, housing, board and work. The Abbot of the monastery, who is elected by the monks for life, is in charge of the monastery. The Abbots of the monasteries are members of the Holy Assembly and exercise legislative authority. Furthermore, every year the monastery elects its representative in the Holy Community, which exercises administrative authority, while the Holy Supervision exercises executive authority and is consisted of 4 members, elected by the first 5 leading monasteries.
The cave of Petralona "embellished" with stalagmites and stalactites is located in the west foot of the Katsika (Goat) mountain and in an altitude of about 300 meters from the level of sea. It was found in 1959 by the inhabitant of Petralona, Mr. Philippos Hatzaridis and it became well known all over the world in 1960, when another inhabitant of Petralona, Mr. Christos Sarrigiannidis, found the skull of Arhanthropos. The systematic excavations of the Cave began in 1965 by the founder of the Anthropologic Company of Greece, anthropologist professor Aris Paulianos. His researches proved that the Arhanthropos is about 700.000 years old, and this makes him the "oldest" European. This age was determined after the detailed analysis of stratigraphy (until today 28 geological layer have been revealed), and after studying the primitive and Paleolithic tools as well as the palaiofauna that were discovered in almost all the layers of bats. In order to verify the age, the contribution of nucleonic is very important. The materials that have been dated are bones, argil, stalagmites and ashes. These are fire traces - the oldest ones that humans have ever lighted.
The capital of Chalkidiki, Poligiros, is located at the center of the Chalkidiki peninsula at the foot of the Holomontas mountain. At the northern part there is a green hillside that reaches the top of “Tsoukalas” (890m height) from where one can gaze at the panoramic enchanting view: that is, the three peninsulas (Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos), the picturesque islands of Diaporos, Ammouliani and Kelifos.
Nea Moudania is a fishing destination and a modern town with a well-developed beach and sea. It possesses a commercial harbor that can serve tourist and fishing boats, it has Public Services, Banks, the greatest commercial and tourism businesses as well as a large number of commercial stores and shops.