"The Holy Mountain" Top 5 Page for this destination Aghion Oros (Mount Athos) Travelogue by StefanosS

Aghion Oros (Mount Athos) Travel Guide: 41 reviews and 269 photos

Each photo equals 10,000 words!

Saint Athanassios of Athos. He was the founder of the first big monastery in the Holy Mountain, the one of Meghisti Lavra, in 962AD. The mural is from the church of Protaton in Karies, painted by the great hagiographer Manuel Panselinos (about 1290AD).

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If you want a musical collection of byzantine religious hymns, click at the site of
the Greek Orthodox Church:

Two pilgrims on the path to Iviron Monastery.

Karies, the capital of the Holy Mountain

A view of Karies, the capital of the Holy Mountain.

Old houses of traditional architecture in Karies.

In front of the Holy Administration House (Protaton) at Karies. (October 30, 1992).

The church of Protaton, probably the oldest church of the Holy Mountain.

The Descent into Hades (detail). A mural in the church of Protaton, painted by Manuel Panselinos.

A photo and a folk painting of a cell near Karies, named "Marouda".

The Annunciation of Virgin Mary, a painting on the hatch of the Sanctuary, at Stavronikita Monastery. Made by the famous hagiographer Theophanis the Kretan, 1546.

A golden Holy Cross with miniature icons on it, kept in Dionyssiou Monastery.

Xiropotamou Monastery.

Watching Simonos Petra Monastery from the boat.

The impressive Simonos Petra Monastery.

At the balcony of the guesthouse of Simonos Petra Monastery, 330m above the sea, I had the illusion of flying...

Descending an old stone-paved path to Saint Grigoriou Monastery.

Saint Grigoriou Monastery.

Today, the old arsanas of Saint Grigoriou Monastery is used as a guesthouse (archondariki).

Philotheou Monastery: the internal yard with the main church (katholikon) and a side chappel (the red one). Camelias are very popular plants in the Holy Mountain, flowering continuously during spring and summer.

The katholikon of Philotheou Monastery.

Starting from Philotheou Monastery on foot and following the signes to Simonos Petra Monastery, at about 20min distance (on your left) you will find a chappel of the Holy Trinity, wedged under a big flat rock. On the 16th century, a monk named Dionyssios made his hermitage under this strange rock. Later he moved to Mount Olymbos and founded a monastery, that today is named after his name: Saint Dionyssios of Olymbus (near Litochoro). Visit it and admire the calm forest arround it!

Climbing Mount Athos is an unforgetable experience

Aereal view of the top of Mount Athos (2,033m).

Panaghia is a kind of refuge with a small chapel, at 1500m, on the way to the top of Mount Athos. 115 pilgrims and monks were there, on August 18 and 19 1995, to celebrate the Transfiguration of Christ (Metamorphosis). The chappel of Metamorphosis is exactly on the top (2033m) but there is not enough space for all this people to stay there. The Holy Mountain follows the "old calendar", that has a difference (delay) of 13 days.

My friend Prodromos on the top of Mount Athos and behind him a phenomenon unique in the world: As the sun sets down, you can watch towards the East the shadow of Mount Athos on the Aegean Sea. The shadow has the shape of a perfect triangle, whose top angle "travels" away towards the East, to meet the horizon. They say that the same phenomenon can be wached on some specific island of the Pacific Ocean (I have not more information about it). Anybody knowing about it?

The sunset viewed from the top of Mount Athos. This huge iron cross is exactly above the small chappel of Metamorphosis.

Two monks watching the sunset.

Air photo of the step south coast of Athos peninsula.

Here is the two transportation media you can use while visiting the step south coast of Athos peninsula: You can travel on foot or on mule!

The Skiti of Prophet Elias, with the giant russian-style church.

The bell tower of Vatopediou Monastery.

The huge yard of the Vatopediou Monastery.

Lakoskiti, a Romanian skiti

Lakkoskiti is a small "village" of not more than 15 "cells" (houses) that form the idiorythmic skiti of "Aghiou Dimitriou tou Lakkou". Sited at the north foothills of Athos, in a valley crossed by Morfonou river, is inhabited by Romanian monks. Here is the Kyriakon of the skiti, i.e. the church of Aghios Dimitrios, and an old cell a little higher.

The cell or hut (kalivi) of Annunciation of Virgin, at Lakkoskiti. As Lakkoskiti is far from the main roads, pilgrims-visitors are rare there and the Romanian monks are really very attentive to them.

"The dirge" (Epitaphios thrinos), a holly icon of the 15th century, kept in Pantokratoros Monastery.

Mylopotamos, the cell of Aghios Efstathios

Mylopotamos (=mill river), while called "cell", is an ancient little castle with a very interesting history, founded some years before 972AD by the monk and saint Athanasios of Meghisti Lavra Monastery. Today in its area there is a vineyard and an olive grove, and a very good wine is produced there.


"Arsanas" in Athos is a little dock, a fortified building and a storehouse, used to receive supplies by sea for a specific monastery. The word, which is not a greek one, probably comes from the latin "arsenal". Here is Arsanas of Zografou Monastery (the "Bulgarian").

A monk is waiting for the boat at arsanas of Kastamonitou (or Konstamonitou) Monastery. The portal of the building is wide and tall so as to put in and protect boats from bad weather conditions.

The katholikon of Kastamonitou Monastery.

A traditional distillation copper, at Yovanitsa, the arsanas of the Serbian Monastery. Distillation of grapes and other fruits produces "tsipouro" or "raki" that is the first treat to the pilgrim arriving at a monastery or a cell.

Chelandariou Monastery or the "Serbian".

An external view of Chelandariou Monastery.

A view of the internal yard of Chelandariou Monastery. The photo is taken from the window of my room in the guesthouse.

A sculpture on a rock presenting Saint Symeon, the founder of Chelandariou Monastery.

Another small castle: The cell of Saint Vassilios is built at the side of an old ruined tower, that was protecting the second arsanas of Chelandariou Monastery.

A stone bridge near Esfigmenou Monastery.

Esfigmenou Monastery.

Aghiou Panteleimonos Monastery, usually named as "Rossiko" (Russian). Today the most of its monks are from Ukraine.

Stavronikita Monastery. A view from the sea.

  • Page Updated Mar 8, 2005
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