As part of measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the Holly Mount Athos, Greece, announced on March 19 that it will not be receiving any visitors or pilgrims until March 30.
The all-male Orhodox enclave comprises several monasteries and hermitages, some of the oldest in the country, occupying the easternmost section of the Halkidiki peninsula in northern Greece.
Mount Athos is an enclave of 20 monasteries. Women have been banned for over 1,000 years.
Greece and Russia are both largely Orthodox Christian countries and have close religious ties.
Mount Athos is an autonomous and self-governed territory of Greece. It occupies the whole of the third peninsula of Halkidiki Greece, covering an area of 130 sq mile.
The Mount is the largest area in the world from which women, and female animals, are banned.
Each day, 100 Orthodox and 10 non-Orthodox male pilgrims are admitted for a three-night stay in one of the peninsula’s 20 monasteries. Mount Athos has barred women for more than 1,000 years – they are not allowed within 0.3 miles of the coast.