Mount Athos is the only monastic state in Europe or indeed anywhere in the world.
All-male monastic community, Athos is the centre of the global Orthodox religion - an area of mystique, contemplation, and isolation. The Mt Athos monasteries operate in much with the same manner as they have for over 1,000 years.
Of the 20 monasteries, 17 are Greek and the other three are Russian, Bulgarian and Serbian - Hilandar.
A maximum of 120 Orthodox and 10 foreign visitors per day are allowed onto this sacred land. A decree issued in the mid-11th century prohibits women from entering the world's sole monastic state.