I have been publishing on this weblog for more then 10 years. One of my aims is to share my travels with others – who are not able to visit the Holy Mountain -. For me it is exciting to discover places that hardly recieve any visitors and to show you the pictures of places that have not (or almost not) been published before.
Ten years ago the internet was not as widely spread as nowadays, so in these days many pilgrims share their experiences on the world wide web. But even in these modern days there are some hidden jewels to be found, and one of them is Kolitsoú. From Pantocratoros to Kolitsoú: 6,1 km along the coast, partly dirt road and in the end monopati.
Kolitsoú is situated between Pantocratoros and Vatopedi, not for from the coast and the main road, but there are hardly any pilgrims who take the trouble of going there, because it takes some effort to visit it and it consists of only a couple of (new) houses. The monks who live in these cells are of Rumenian origin. The second reason to pay a visit to this place is the tower of Kolitsoú, one of the few standing alone in the Athos-landscape (like the Amalfi tower). The third reason to go there is somewhat trivial: Prince Charles has been there….The few huts of Kolitsoú (Google Maps)
Let’s have a look at the pictures I made on the hike from Pantocratoros to – at first – arsanas Kolitsoú:
The Kolitoú tower, seen from a far distanceZooming in: the huts of Kolitsoú and the towerA small rocky island near the Kolitsoú harbour called “N. Vracháki”.N. Vracháki zoomed in (picture Tadeusz)Looking back to the South/Pantocratoros: rough cliffs called “Ak. Chalkiás”Pointing the camera in the opposite direction: the arsanas Kolitsoú appears with a small beach. Zooming in at two well kept buildings and one ruined boathouseLooking up: Kolitsoú and the towerThe dirt road that leads to Kolitsoú is hardly used by cars and overgrown with camille flowersArriving at the arsanas Two boathouses, one in ruins, building materials are spread around the placeThe two intact boathouses of the arsanasand the ruined boathouseThe beach of arsanas KolitsoúThe third boathouse in the North, with rubbish and pieces of wood on the beach.The third boathouse, attached to the natural rocks the door of the third boathouse
Kolitsoú beach with small islandsLooking up at Kolitsoú tower. Everywhere on Athos and even in this deserted place you can find signs that where placed there decennia ago, but all texts and paint disappeared because of the influence of light, wind and salt.
The hike over the monopati to Kolitsoú takes 20 minutes. According to FoMA map of Peter Howorth there should be two possibilties to walk up, but I could not find a path starting from the North part of the beach, although on the picture above a road is clearly to been seen leading from the Northern slopes of the valley down to the beach. The South path we took was very beautifull and it ended in a T-crossing. When you go left at the place, seen on the picture below, you will the cell called Ag. Dimitrios.Near the T-crossinga water tap in the wall, showing Ag. Dimitrios (and pilgrim GJ).Kolitsoú: Saint George (Agios Georgios – thanks Silviu for your comment)With large pottery standing is the courtyardAfter a warm welcome and a cup of coffee we were invited to have look in the church of this cell
Prince Charles has a special commitment with this place, because he spoke to the Rumenian Elder Dionisie on April 19th 2000 (now 18 years ago!) and he was apparently so impressed by him, that he attended his funeral four years later on May 12th 2004. Elder Dionisie died on May 11th 2004.Prince Charles at the funeral in Kolitsoú, May 12th 2004 (photo Pemptousia) Elder DionisieThe Prince of Wales visiting Kolitsoú and Elder Dionisie in 2000
The grave of Elder Dionisie, May 9th 2017.
I did not have time to visit the other two huts of this forgotten and hidden settlement on Athos: here are two pictures of the Rumenian houses. Next time I will show you pictures of one of the other houses in Kolitsoú that was being renovated and almost ready to be used by Georgian monks, who make their re-appearance on the Holy Mountain, ages after they left their (former) monastery Iviron!
Wim Voogd, 19/04/2018