Mount Athos. Environment – Art – Architecture.
There are so many things that someone would plan to visit the monastic state. Geophysically, it is about 60km long and 7-19km wide. Its borders begin from Fragokastro (Zygou Monastery) east of Ouranoupoli and continue on a conspicuous line at the foot of Mount Megali Vigla to Cape Arapis. It is a mountainous and densely forested area with the top of Mount Athos in 2033m. It is covered by dense vegetation with deep torrents, many streams of water and many ecosystems. The coast is rocky, steep, without natural harbors. The climate is generally mild with its eastern segments exposed to the winds, while the west is more protected and with relatively higher temperatures. See more information about the climate of Mount Athos in the article.
Architecturally each monastery is a complex with its own character, consisting of many buildings, which because they have been constructed in different periods show different influences in their architectural style. They resemble medieval cities, built in beautiful locations, fortified with strong walls and observation and defense towers for raids, with one or two entrances (double entrances) and a large and spacious inner area. In this area is the katholikon (the central church), a place for water blessing, the dining room, chapels, peripheral are places, the cells of the monks placed in rows with access from corridors or galleries, the place of the abbot and all auxiliary structures . Near the entrance is usually the reception area of ​​the pilgrims with the guesthouse, which has bedrooms, reception room, kitchen, bathrooms etc.
The monasteries have holy relics, icons, frescoes and mosaics of immense value, invaluable remains of their Byzantine past. As many have been lost in fire or stolen during the raids, rare documents, manuscripts, historical texts and relics are now kept in their libraries. Due to the enormous wealth of frescoes and icons, Mount Athos is the most important source from which anyone can gain insight into the history of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art. There are too many works of the Macedonian and Cretan schools of art, less than previous eras, which may have been destroyed, plundered, renovated or overlapped. Mount Athos has perhaps the largest collection of images in the world. It is estimated at 20,000, the number of follow-up is increased by new revelations and records from the maintenance and rehabilitation work done there.
Religious Mount Athos is considered as a haven for those who seek to save their soul with fasting and prayer. There are about 2,000 monks living in the monasteries and also a number of workers and employees working in them. Also every day, many pilgrims visit Mount Athos. Up to 110 people can come in – visit the Mount every day, of which 100 are Orthodox Christians and 10 are non-Orthodox. Clergy and those who have a special invitation from the monasteries are excluded. Guests can stay for free at each monastery for one day, for a maximum of three nights / four calendar days. This can be done after each visitor has secured the special permit /entrance fee, named Diamonitirio,  on Mount Athos, a permit from the pilgrim’s office in Thessaloniki. Employees, scholars, etc. can obtain more permission for that purpose.