Daphne (Athos)

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Daphne is a sea port that is the main point of entry into the Mount Athos monastic republic. It is situated at a mid point on the southwestern side of the Athos peninsula, a short distance north along the peninsula from St.Panteleimon's Monastery. The town is a small place of a few buildings including some souvenir shops and a restaurant.

The name of the port of Daphne comes from Greek mythology. In an ancient myth, the god Apollo fell in love with the daughter, Daphne, of the king of Arcadia. In the story she wished to keep her virginity and fled to the main port on what is now the Mount Athos peninsula, thus giving her name to the place.


Daphne, view from the sea.

The principal path of entry to the Athos community is by boat from the ports of Ouranoplis or Ierissos. From Daphne one can travel by bus to the center of the peninsula to Karyes, the administrative center of the monastic republic. Some taxi service also is available.

Entry to Mount Athos still adheres to the rules promulgated by Emperor Constantine Monomahos in 1060 in his Chryssobul. The conditions include the proviso that only males can enter Mount Athos and thus also the monasteries. Visiting overnight is forbidden except for those males over 18 years old who had been so approved as having proven, valid religious or scientific interests.

Entry permits for both individuals and groups are required and are issued by the Directorate of Churches of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens and by the Directorate of Civil Affairs of the Ministry of Northern Greece (Pilgrim Bureau for Orthodox Christians) in Thessalonika. Visits by Orthodox Christians are limited to 120 per day. Those males with explicit invitations from any of the monasteries are not included in the limit.

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