1866 – Find the location

1853It took me some time to find out where on The Holy Mountain this building and chapel is located. The photo is from 1853.  Approximately 30 years later the building is replaced by a similar house which you still can see today. Nowadays the chapel is still here but in a deplorable state.

Who recognize the spot?

Herman Voogd

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1865 – a closer look at Simonos Petras

Simonospetras is build on a rock, as you see on the pictures and plan below:

dscn7122-largedscn7111-largeThe plan of the monastery is quite complex, because of its many floors. These plans will help you find your way:13-simonos-petra-4-doorsnede13-simonos-petra-2-monastery-kopiedscn7146-largeBuilding M1 is the guesthouse, just outside the monastery and near the gate. At B7 on the right side of this picture a new guesthouse is build, that should have been ready this summer. In 2015 they had room for 15 to 20- pilgrims, after these quarters are finished the number of guests can increase to 30/40 pilgrims.dscn7104-largeBuilding activities at spot B7 and the entrance to the monastery (at spot Delta).dscn7105-largeBehind the guesthouse M1: a view over the hills with some houses for workers along the road. I tried in vain to find a path in the valley going uphill.dscn7106-largeAfter entering the gate the stairs go up anddscn7176-largethis is what you see looking down towards the entrance. Today this corridor is much lighter than 26 years ago, with four windows.056-athos-gang-naar-s-petras-056Here a picture from 1989 taken on the same spot. Because there were only two windows it was much darker (and spookier) on entering the monastery.dscn7100-largeAfter signing in we received a very warm welcome by father Michael, who came from Lebanon three years ago. He told us that 5 fathers passed away in 2014, one of them drowned. Another monk died on 15th of August 2015.dscn7101-largeThe traditional Tsipourou, loukoumi and water was served by father Michael.dscn7166-largedscn7163-largedscn7162-largedscn7161-largeIn the waiting room several monasteries were painted on the ceiling: 1. Vatopediou, 2. Xeropotamou, 3. Megistas Lavras, and 4. Grigoriou.dscn7121-largeThe kiosk outside the monastery: a place to smoke.dscn7120-largeMonks enjoy a cup of tea with honey.dscn7173-largeThe left side of the Katholikon (building Gamma)dscn7168-largeThe Katholicondscn7169-largeThe well from 1904dscn7170-largeThe church and buildings Z1 and Z2. If you take the stairs going down, you’ll see this hallway.dscn7174-largeHallway on a lower level.dscn7175-largeWith stairs leading to the gardens. dscn7154-largeSimonospetras at dusk, September 20th 2015.

Wim Voogd, 29-11

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1864 – The oldest pictures of Athos: Simonos Petras

Herman has already shown some of the oldest pictures of Athos by Ernest de Caranza & Emile Charles Labbé. The pictures were taken in the year 1853. Today we will focus on some of their early images from Simonos Petras. Look for the differences compared to some recent photos from 2015. A mere 162 years between the scenes. Imagine the quiet life then without internal combustion engines. No noise from cars. No motor boats, no mopeds, no chain-saws, no aircrafts. That noise machine was invented much later in 1876 by Nicolaus August Otto.simpet-3The steep ravine under the complex is even more impressive because of all the ladders on the rocks. They are placed in a chaotic way as if raiders were bound to invade. The impressive aqueduct is clearly visible from this sea side. The gardens under the fortress seem non-existent yet.simonaspetrasNowadays the aqueduct is hidden behind a number of new blocks right from the main building. The terraced garden is now well kept.simpet4The view from behind the monastery with the aqueduct on the left and the entrance gate. An almost grim medieval block on the top of a very steep slice of rock.simpet6

The negatives are numbered. This one has number 77. We found many more negatives. I turned them into positives. We will show some of the positives in the times to come. It is amazing that all these negatives where shot on Athos just 13 years after the invention of the calotype process by the Englishman William Fox Talbot in 1840. It underlines the significance of the Holy Mountain.simpet2
This perspective on Simonos Petras matches nicely with a slide by Raymond Geldermans. The monastery looks arisen from the marble. The rocks embrace and lift the structure. The rocks look like flames. Geldermans took this picture during his pilgrimage in January 1992.

Bas Kamps

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1863 – The arsanas of Pantocratoros

Looking up at the monastery of Pantocratoros from the small harbour. 2015
arsanasAlmost the same spot in 1853arsanas-pantoRuined house in 2016pantocratorosNot the same house as above but almost the same spot. 1853the-arsanas-of-pantocratoros5
Compare the wall on the right with the above imagethe-arsanas-of-pantocratoros3 the-arsanas-of-pantocratoros2
Ruins at the arsanas
the-arsanas-of-pantocratoros4The Pantocratoros boathouse.
In the right corner the harbour of Pantocratoros in 1744 by Barsky. More about Barsky or Vasilij Grigorovich Barskij and his sketches read the interesting article by Veronica Della Dora.

Herman Voogd

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1862 – film about the chef and winemaker Epifanios from Mylopotamos

This beautiful film about Epifanios and with spectacular drone shots from the Holy Mountain was removed from YouTube yesterday, but luckily our Athos friend Vasilis found it again on Vimeo:

The film is published one month ago. This is a part of the text on Vimeo: “Father Epiphanios, monastic figure, renowned chef and winemaker, introduces us to the beauty of Mount Athos and reveals the secrets of the Athonian Gastronomy”: read more here.

Wim (thanks again Vasilis), 20/11

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1861 – Find the differences

1853Xiropotamou in 1853. Photo by Ernest de Caranza and Emile Charles Labbé.
Watch the figure in the tower on the right.xiropotamou-2013
Xiropotamou in 2013. Photo by H. Voogd. The towerclock is not round shaped anymore and they plastered the church a bit.sografou-barsky-1744Sografou drawn by Barsky in 1744. Is there a part missing in the top righthand corner?
The Bulgarian monastery of Sografou (Zograf) in 1853. Photo by Ernest de Caranza and Emile Charles Labbé. Unique image without the prominent refectory. Below the situation a couple of years later 1867 – 1872. Now they have build an entrance tower with a cupola rooftop but still no refectory extension.


Sografou in 1941 by German scientist prof. dr. Dölger. Here the refectory is build.
This is how Sografou looks nowadays.

Herman Voogd

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1860 – The earliest photographs of Mount Athos 1853

In 1853 photographer Ernest de Caranza and artist Emile Charles Labbé (probably both sitting next to the ship in the harbour of Pantocratoros)) visited Mount Athos and made a series of photographs to make an album compromising 87 salt prints flush-mounted to card. simonospetras-1853
Travel notes and letters suggest that the trip was allowed by Sutlan Abdulmecit I and that the album was intended  to Empereur Napoléon III. esfigmenou-1853
The existence of these photographs was known but they were kept by a family. Now they are public and it is quite a discovery. The collection was sold in different lots by Sotheby’s november 2016. detail-vatopedi-academy
Historically it is a very interesting set of photographs. Here Vatopedi wth the ruins of the academy on the hill.arsanas
The same ship as in the first photo in the arsanas of Pantocratoros
arsanas-lavra 1853-lavra-harbour
The arsanas of Lavra (Mandraki) on photo and negative.
There is a whole serie of photographs of Konaki in Karyes. 1853-monastery
Sografou. Compare the changes with a similar view on the monastery in 1941.
Probably Koutloumousiou
arsanas-1853Arsanas Dionysiou

The entrance of Vatopedi

Herman Voogd

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