The Mount Athos peninsula is the most eastern of the three in Chalkidiki. It has a length of around 70 kilometers and a width between 8 and 12 kilometers. It is of course, dominated by the 2300 meters high mountain. The sea on the north side is, depending the season, ferocious while the water of Siggitikos gulf is usually milder.
There are more than 11.000 species of vegetation growing on this unspoilt ground. On the border with Ouranoupolis one finds endless forests of pine trees that reach the seashore. The visitor is walking on the paths under the shade of chestnut and walnut trees. Various bushes, like arbutus, fill the hills and the remaining terrain. Early in fall you can enjoy the brownish wild oak and beech trees; the branches of the chestnut trees are full of chestnuts.
One plant that dominates with its presence is the fern. Their colors vary from bright green to yellow in the summer, covering all shades of orange and brown in between.
Near the monasteries the monks carefully and lovingly grow vineyards. The wine that is produced in Athos is of very high quality and renowned all over the world. The monks attend fruit giving trees like apricots, plums, peaches and so many others. Of course, they also take care of their gardens from where they take what is necessary for the daily food. Green peppers, eggplants, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, onions, garlic, cabbage, lettuce all grow under the Mediterranean sun, in the clean air with the pure water from the fountains.
As we go further south the dominant vegetation is that of bushes. Wherever water springs from the rock, we see tall plane, platanus trees. The forests are so thick that the monasteries exploit this wealth by allowing controlled logging. Approaching the foot of the mountain the terrain gets rougher. Vegetation is scarce. In fact the area on the north-east side under Athos is called the Desert. The rock is barren and only few reptiles wonder on it.
All around Agion Oros, and especially under the shadow of the high mountain top, one can find many springs of fresh, cool water. Wild berries bushes are also a usual sight. As well as laurel. It is interesting to think that the port of Agion Oros is called Daphni after it.
Agion Oros could well be the most beautiful and unspoilt part of Greece. Its rich vegetation, the virgin landscape, the thick forests, the wild rocks, the clear blue sea, along with the singing of the birds, form a unique scenery that fits so well with the calmness of the monastic life and provide the visitor with a calmness that can rarely be found elsewhere. So, it is safe to say that apart from the religious and historical importance, another critical factor making your visit worth while is the wonderful nature you can enjoy here.
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