New Delhi: Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the monasteries at Mount Athos in northern Greece to mark the 1,000-year presence of Russian Orthodox monks. This happens to be the same place where females are banned from entering the monastery. Yes! You read that right. This place may be the world's largest area where women, including female animals, are barred form entering.
It is said that women are not allowed to be seen within 500m of the coast at Mount Athos. Its been over 1000 years now, that this tradition is being practised.
But, the reason behind this is yet to be decoded.
As per a BBC report, Dr Graham Speake (author of 'Mount Athos: Renewal in Paradise') claims that female animals were barred in a 10th century charter. At the same time, he also states that although there was nothing mentioned about women being barred categorically, but, 'everyone knew that women were not allowed in men's monasteries'.
The other reason behind banning women is related to Orthodox tradition.
"One of the traditions is that the Virgin Mary was blown off course when she was trying to sail to Cyprus and landed on Mount Athos. And she liked it so much that she prayed to her son that she should be given it as her own and he agreed. It's still called 'the garden of the mother of God', dedicated to her glory, and she alone represents her sex on Mount Athos," the report quoted Speake as saying.