More and more people are visiting the “Holy Mountain” of Mt. Athos, a self-governed peninsula in northeastern Greece, which has been attracting pilgrims to its Orthodox monasteries for centuries, although only men, as women are not allowed.
The country’s economic crisis has, curiously, “led to a sharp rise in the number of guests seeking calm and solace there,” Daniel Steinvorth, Executive Director at the German magazine Spiegel wrote in a piece called Greeks Seek Solace in Mt. Athos Monasteries. He described it as, “the closest place to Heaven.”
Mt. Athos is luring people looking for some peace and quiet and a brief shelter from the storms of everyday life. Steinvorth likened life there to a Spartan existence and noticed that one Greek businessman who came for a stay was trying to “find himself” and said he wanted only, “To simply turn off, meditate and forget the material world.” Steinvorth said he was surprised that the monks continue to revere and invoke the names of Byzantine emperors, and still live by the Julian calendar.
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