Yes, you read right; there are tourist destinations around the world where women are banned entirely, or from travelling to alone. From a Unesco World Heritage site in India to sacred monasteries in Greece, there are a number of world tourist attractions that are inaccessible to women.
Here are three such destinations:
Mount Athos, Greece
Mount Athos is home to 20 sacred monasteries and Russian Orthodox monks. Only male pilgrims and non-pilgrims are permitted entry. A ban on female visitors was reportedly put in place over 1 000 years ago, According to The Telegraph, women are not allowed to come as close as 500m to the coast, while Mail Online reports that not even female animals are permitted. They also report that the reason for the ban stems from orthodox Scripture, which states that the Virgin Mary was “blown by a storm on a ship to the area, and converted its inhabitants. In a bid to solely focus on her, all other women were banned from the region.”
Haji Ali Dargah, India
In the southern part of Mambai, on a little islet, lies the tomb of India’s 15th-century Sufi saint, Pir Haji Ali Bukhara. The sacred landmark drawed thousands of visitors from all across the globe. In 2011, authorities placed a ban on women exploring the inner sanctum, saying that it was “un-Islamic under Sharia law” according to Fox News Travel. According to The Guardian, however, the ban was lifted in 2016, following a legal battle to allow women to enter and worship in the shrine, with the help of human rights activist, Noorjehan Safia Diaz, who campaigns for socio-equality for Muslim women.
Mount Omine, Japan
A Buddhist temple on Mount Omine in Nara, Japan has a centuries-old ban on women visitors. This is due to the Shinto religion, which prohibits women in Japan from climbing sacred mountains. While upholding the ban is reportedly voluntary, yet still largely observed, female activists have climbed it with no charges brought against them.