Mount Athos border
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How to get

The border of the Athos Monastic Republic is a conditional line that is almost 10 kilometres long. It is located on the neck at the beginning of the peninsula of Athos. It separates the holy places of pilgrimage from the rest of Halkidiki.


The border is located in the middle of a small desert. There are almost no trees here and tumbleweeds are moving along the road. The Athos Monastic Republic begins from here, from the two inconspicuous buildings that are located a short distance from the outermost houses of Ouranoupolis. This is the administrative border of the Holy Mountain. It runs here through the entire peninsula, starting in the west at the castle of Francocastro, which was once a robber one, and ending at cape Arapis on the opposite eastern side.

On both sides of the border, there are police posts that are monitoring the order and do not allow women or men to enter the territory of the Republic. This is stated by all information signs that are installed along the entire conditional line.

A few hundred metres away, you can see the restored post-Byzantine aqueduct. This part of the border area was once the property of the Orthodox Greek Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos. If you look west from here, in the shade of the trees you can see the chapel that is called Agia Triada. Nowadays, local residents of Ouranoupolis meet under it. Behind it, you can see a small windmill and the dome of the church of Khromitsa, founded on Mount Athos by Panteleimon, a Russian man of God.

Few historical facts

In its structure, Athos, the same as its border, resembles Vatican: its statutes, laws and rules. And everyone must obey them if he wants to walk along the territory of the third and the most unusual "finger" of Halkidiki. However, it is forbidden for women to enter here, as it was thousands of years ago. By the way, in 2008 there was a big scandal on Mount Athos. Then the police expelled several women from the territory of Monastic Republic who protested against the centuries-old ban. And despite the fact they managed to walk only a couple of metres along the Holy land, such a fuss was made that even journalists came here.

How did the ban appear? According to an ancient legend, in the V century, the daughter of the Emperor of that time Theodosius the Great, Princess Galla Placidia wanted to see Athos. When the girl reached the place where the border of the Republic now follows, she heard the voice of the Mother of God telling her not to confuse the chosen and the subjects. It was for the first time then that locals laid down the imaginary marker between the Holy Mount Athos and Halkidiki. Moreover, even female domestic animals were not allowed to set foot on the Holy Mountain. After some time, the ban was fixed by imperial orders, and later by the Constitution of Greece.

However, the exception is still made for chickens that lay eggs for the locals, and cats that catch mice in monasteries. Otherwise, the times would be tough for the monks.

As for men, they are also forbidden to enter the territory of the Republic across the border. Why? In order to walk around Mount Athos and to pray in local monasteries, they must be pilgrims and get a special permit. In fact, this is an independent visa — diamonitirion. After all, the Monastic Republic of Athos is not just a part of Greece, but a state within a state. Therefore, a man can set to the Holy Mountain from Ouranoupolis by a regular ferry only if he has got diamonitirion.

You can get to the Mount Athos border (Arsanas Cromnitsas) from Ouranopolis. To get here from Thessaloniki, you need to take a regular bus that departs every hour. If you want to get to the sight by car, you should follow the main road of Halkidiki towards the Mount Athos and follow the signs along the road.


  • Largely, there is nothing to see on the border. Therefore, it makes no sense to go here purposefully. If only you do it on the way to the beaches or hotels that are located nearby.
  • The closer Athos is the fewer shops are on the road. Take the necessary food and water with you.