Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Today Greeks commonly refer to Mount Athos as the "Holy Mountain" . In Classical times, the peninsula was called Akta. The peninsula, the easternmost "leg" of the larger Halkidiki peninsula, protrudes 50 kilometres (31mi) into the Aegean Sea at a width of between 7 and 12 kilometres (4.3 and 7.5 mi) and covers an area of 335.637 square kilometres (129.59 sqmi). The actual Mount Athos has steep, densely forested slopes reaching up to 2,033 metres (6,670 ft). The surrounding seas, especially at the end of the peninsula, can be dangerous. In ancient Greek history two fleet disasters in the area are recorded: In 492 BC Darius, the king of Persia, lost 300 ships under general Mardonius (Herodotus "Histories" book VI . In 411 BC the Spartans lost a fleet of 50 ships under admiral Epicleas.