Rising high from the easternmost “leg” of the Chalcidice peninsula and widely known as “Holy Mountain”, Mt. Athos is certainly not the ‘heart’ of Macedonia, geographically speaking, but in terms of culture, it has played a central role for more than 1,000 years. Through good and bad times it has been the hub of Eastern Christian Orthodox Monasticism, and the 20 monasteries dotting the treeless slopes are its outstanding, tangible reflection. The self-governing communities form the oldest monastic republic still in existence, and it is hard to believe that this secluded spot on Earth has never ceased to powerfully influence the outside world, from which it is basically cut off. Sadly enough, Based on a historic agreement with the Greek state, only male visitors are allowed access to this intriguing, awe-inspiring bastion of genuine spirituality .