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Mount Athos is on hilly, heavily forested penisula in northeast Greece has no radio, television, or newspapers. Electricity, hot showers, and cars are rare. But most importantly, women and children have been banned from the mountain for a thousand years. It is a surviving remnent of the Byzantine Empire, still functioning as a mini country based on a charter granted by the Emperor of Constinople in 972. clocks are set on Byzantine time, which starts at sunset, dates are calculated by the Julian calendar of the Roman empire. It is somewhat like the Vatican within Italy, a state within a state. Acess is only by boat. About 2500 monks live in the 20 large monasteries and many smaller hermitages and communities. Each monastery offers two meals and night's lodging for free. After coming close to dying out 30 years ago, the place is in a renaissance, with the average age of the monks being about 40, with many young monks. 90% of the pilgrims are Greek. church services often start at 4AM. The European Parliment has endorsed a report suggesting that the exclusion of women is a violation of women's rights.

— Neil Averitt  

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