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Greece is a Christian Orthodox country with much for the traveler to see in terms of its religious past. The Eastern Roman Empire, what became known as Byzantium, was the first empire to make Christianity its state religion. As such, many of the Byzantine churches and monasteries have become an attraction for those interested in faith tourism. The greatest of these destinations is Mount Athos. Mount Athos is kind of like the Greek Vatican. It is a state within a state.
However, Mount Athos does not occupy a small piece of land in the center of the capital, it has an entire peninsula under its sovereignty filled with Byzantine monastic, religious architecture, and art. The one catch is, the peninsula is only accessible by men, as all women are forbidden. Crazy right? Indeed.
Nevertheless, we offer helicopter and boat tours that give everyone the sense of holiness that one sees in these buildings. The harmony that has been achieved between these monasteries and their natural surroundings should be a lesson for all architects!
The second most impressive Christian site is the Meteora. Now, here the landscape is even more unique, reminding many of the lunar rock formations of Cappadocia or Arizona. On the top of its monolithic boulders, the monks built monasteries that were only accessible by rope and basket. Talk about good security! Here both men and women can visit all these monasteries and take in the history and beauty.
And don’t stop before checking out Paros and Patmos, two islands at the center of the rise of Christianity in Greece. But even if you don’t make it to one of these destinations, you will be amazed by the number of churches you will see in every city and village of Greece. Just taking a step into one will give you a sense of the mysticism that defines Orthodoxy.