513 – A trip to Athos (day 3 nr 3)

On the road from Lavra to the capital Karyes you will see the harbour (Arsanas) of Karakalou. Also on the road to Karyes you find the settlement called Mylopotamou, which we passed last year. Next time I will take some time visit the vineyards over there; back in Ouranopolis I bought some fine wines to bring home.
After taking a turn at Iviron, we arrived in Karyes. In 1986 I spend a night in the local hotel and had the opportunity to see the town almost on my own. At that time Karyes still had a medieval character and every evening the streetlights were lit by a man with a small fire on a long stick.
Nowadays Karyes introduced energy saving lamps, instead of the romantic burning of oil lamps. The old pub near the bakery also disappeared. In my memory this place resembled a pub stolen from a movie-set of Harry Potter, with dark figures, like monks dressed in black clothes, drinking beer at 11 o clock in the morning, and unshaven, dirty and stinking workman, hanging around pointlessly and unemployed in a gloomy corner. This was also the place were you could find a Zwerger-map on the wall, with many improvements on it, made by travellers who just found out that a medieval path did not exist any longer.
In the new pub this (not very useful) map hangs on the wall.


Karyes still looks medieval, but the centre is not in decay any more. Near the busstation a lot of new shops opened their doors, where you can buy souvenirs and religious objects, but there is also a shop with basic needs like food and elementary things. It surprised me how crowded the streets were, maybe because the increasing numbers of visitors from the former communist European countries. In the new fresh white painted cafenion you find some contemporary paintings on the wall.

The building of the Holy Epistasia did not change at all, just as the tower with the library, where the Tragos (founding paper) of Athos lies.

On the internet I allready had seen that the Protaton church had a temporary roof, but seeing it “in situ” was shocking, because it is so ugly. On the inside it is even worse, because the church is totally filled with so many scaffoldings, that nearly all frescos were hidden.
But there also was a positive development: the restoration-team was removing the grim grey coating on the outside surface of the church. Here you ‘ll see a remnant a the old coating:
And on the other side of the building you can see the original stones that were used to build the walls. I am afraid that we have to have some more patience, but hopefully soon (?) the old looks of the complete church will reappear!


This small niche is almost falling apart.
and these frescos need to be renovated soon:

Parking spot for busses and cars – Karyes

Wim Voogd, 4-7

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4 Responses to 513 – A trip to Athos (day 3 nr 3)

  1. José says:

    Dear friends,
    I always enjoy your post about the trip to Athos!
    I will arrive in Athos on 18th July (Saturday) and my itinerary will be:
    18/07 Daphni-Kayres-Iviron-Lavra
    19/07 Lavra-Skiti St Anne
    20/07 Skiti St Anne – Simonopetra or Dionisius
    21/07 Daphni – Ouranopolis

    And I have many doubts about the trip, for example:
    1)the boat timetable between Iviron-Lavra
    2)The boat timetable Daphni-Ouranopolis
    3)Is estrictly necessary to book in the monasteries where I will stay to sleep?
    4)can I go into a monastery during the day only to see some places and later continue my walk to another monastery?
    Kind regards
    José From Argentina

  2. herman Voogd says:

    1. I doubt there is a regular time table for the boat on that side of the peninsula. You can always take a taxi.
    2. The boat back is in the morning. You can take the boat in Simonos Petras or Dionysiou to Daphni. There the boat to Ouranoupolis is waiting. Leaving at 11.00 or 12.00 o clock.
    3. Skiti Anni you have to book in advance. If its full you walk another hour to Paulou. At Paulou they have large guestchambers. Try to make reservations. You can ask your hotelmanager in Ouranoupolis to do it for you but that can be already to late.
    3.Of course you can vistit the other monasteries and ask for water and coffee but sometimes they are all sleeping

  3. José says:

    Hello Herman,
    Thank you for your help!
    I did´nt know there are taxis in Iviron-Lavra!
    What´s our opinion Zeus´hotel in Ouranopolis?

  4. herman says:

    The taxi starts in Karyes leaving for Lavra. But he will stop at Iviron. You can ask the driver to come back when you are done seeing Iviron and take you to Lavra.

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