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Chalkidiki/Halkidiki - Mount Athos

Mount Athos

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Mount Athos - Monastery of Simonos Petras Monastery of Simonos Petras
The monastery of Simonos Petra is one of the most impressive monasteries of Agion Oros, built on a stone of granite 300 metres above the sea. It is located on the southwest end of Athos peninsula. The monastery was founded in 1363 by Osios Simon, who was a hermit in a cave nearby the rock on which the monastery is built on. According to the myth, the spot was shown to Osios Simon by Virgin Mary with a vision asking him to build the "New Bethlehem". The monastery is a seven storey building, dominating the landscape and the Katholikon, the main church, is dedicated to the Birth of Jesus. It was partially burnt three times during its long history, in the 14th century, in the 17th century and in the 19th century (in 1891). The last fire was the most damaging and the Tsars of Russia gave donations in order to help the rebuilding of the monastery. The monastery has 12 smaller churches under its protection, four of them are inside the walls of the monastery. One that stands out is the the church of St Mary Magdalene, where you can see the imperishable left hand of the Saint. In the monastery there are 90 monks living permanently and the guests should visit the room where all relics are kept, as well as th library of the monastery where mane rare hand scripts are kept and preserved. The room for accommodating guests is limited so you have to call and arrange accommodation before visiting.
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