975 – Sacred Mount Athos

Sacred Mount Athos Treasures from the Byzantine Millennium. The award-winning documentary about the second most revered site of pilgrimage in Christianity outside of the Holy Land. Take a behind the scenes look at the ancient treasures and iconography kept locked inside the sacred monasteries.

Video from Google Video (which could not be embedded). Thanks to Rainer.

Wim, 16/1

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28 Responses to 975 – Sacred Mount Athos

  1. John says:

    Regarding the Agios Onoufriou – Dionysiou footpath, I will update you in a few days. I am going to Athos the day after tomorrow and I will attempt to cross that footpath if it still exists.

  2. Wim says:

    John thanks, I never got such a quit reply and generous help !

  3. michalis says:

    according to “odoiporikon agioreitou” there is a footpath which connects monastery of dionysiou and the main road agiou pavlou-antiathonas-filotheou. this path is parallel to aeropotamos (river). kellia of agios onoufrios is on your right hand and there is no on the map any footpath to and from these kellia

  4. Bertinos says:

    Dag Wim, de mensen die op het filmpje staan, zijn uit de regio Brussel-Leuven. Als je wil, kan ik je het e-mailadres bezorgen van Pieter (de meest enthousiaste deelnemer), maar dan niet via dit forum.

  5. evripidis says:

    Hi Wim
    I don’t know if it still interests you but I walked the distance from Filotheou to Dionysiou 2 years ago, based on the Zwerger map.It is a 4.30-hour terrific walk, first on a forest road for almost 3 hours and then on rocky footpath for 1.30 hours. Basically, you climb the road to Mt Antiathonas by carefully following the map and your instict (no signposts for diversions!), until you reach a sign that directs you towards St Paul from the north of the top of Mt Antiathonas. You don’t follow this, but you go south of Antiathonas top and then start descending, until (and this is critical) you turn right towards Onoufrios (see map) and not take the second turn to the right, descending parallel to Aeropotamos (which is extremely difficult and dangerous). Then the road becomes footpath, you reach a small church roughly prior to Onoufrios (from where you will never pass), and then problems begin: no foot path, just descend on the right side of a river. You have to be lucky as I have been to find the point where you will cross the river and take a clear small footpath that will lead you to Dionysiou after 1.15 hours.
    I hope this helps.

  6. Wim says:

    Hi Evripidis, thanks for this information, it is very helpfull! The route attracts me a lot, both because of its beauty and its adventures character. I think I found the trail on the Zwerger-map and I hope I can convince my fellow pilgrims to do this route, maybe the first part by car, because we start in Mylopotamus and 4.30 h is a long walk! Thanks agian !

  7. Wim says:

    Hoi Bertinos, leuk om te horen dat je de mensen uit de regio Leuven herkent! Iedereen die iets wil/kan leveren voor deze weblog kan dat altijd doen via het webformulier, waarmee je direct contact met me krijgt (NB: ik kocht vanmiddag een 8 gig kaartje voor mijn camera, dus ik hoop binnenkort ook wat filmpjes te kunnen laten zien!).

  8. John says:

    I returned from the mountain and I had a go at that footpath. Admittedly, I only walked up to a specific point, so I could get a panoramic view of Dionysiou monastery, and not all the way to the Ounoufriou cell. However, up to that point, the footpath was in excellent condition and it was 100% cobblestoned. I presume it must be in this condition at least until the cell. Here is the photo I took from the path. You can see the path itself in the bottom part of the picture: http://www.imageshack.gr/view.php?file=qv1ygglmgseupbld6efq.jpg

  9. Wim says:

    John, can I use you picture in our blog ? (and do you have more?) greetings Wim

  10. George says:

    Spectacular photo John, well done and wishing you many more to come.

  11. John says:

    Yes, go ahead and use it. No problem. Regarding more photos, this time I only took a handfull as I have photographed those monasteries in previous trips. Unforunately, I only have printed versions of those.

  12. Fremaki says:

    Just 2 points of, maybe, some interest :
    – 1) I’m one of the guys you see on the video… (guess which…) and I don’t live in Leuven-Brussels’ region 🙂
    – 2) yes the path to Agiou Onoufriou is all cobbled up to the kelli, quite steep but not dangerous (I have pictures from higher above) ; I didn’t go further…

  13. Fremaki says:

    Oh, I forgot : why don’t YOU ALL become members of the “Friends of Mount Athos” (if not yet so) and join the guys on the footpath’s working team in 2010 ???
    Let me know…

  14. Wim says:

    Fremaki, please tell us more about the 2010 footpath project of the FOMA.

  15. Fremaki says:

    Glad to see a positive reaction !
    In a nutshell, each year for almost 10 years now, a group of about 18 people go to the Holy Mountain for 2 weeks in order to keep the existing footpath open and to reopen lost ones, in as much as possible.
    The period is always in the weeks following Easter. Prerequisite is to become a member of the association (cheap !).
    You can find all the details at their website: “http://www.athosfriends.org/”.
    Feel free to ask any questions.

  16. Wim says:

    Fremaki, keeping the paths open or reopen lost ones helps us all, so I admire FOMA’s efforts: I’ve seen the new signs near Stravronikita! I have been member of FOMA for a couple of years (in the pre-internet era), and at that time paying a foreign bill/member fee was a lot of work. I’ll consider become a member again, allthough a two week stay on Athos is impossible for me (because of job and family).
    By the way, I am planning to show all paths I know on http://www.communitywalk.com/athosmap in the future. Wim

  17. Fremaki says:

    Hi Wim,
    Today, paying abroad is a breeze !
    As far as staying on Athos with FoMA’s team, even one week is very valuable: all there is to it, is to be there at the same time they are working and “filling in”, so to speak (I’ve been doing this for two years now).
    Would you recommand this endeavour to all the readers of this blog ? If so, don’t hesitate and promote it all around you.

  18. Dimitris says:

    That is a very nice and useful effort! I use the paths myself as much as I can, and it is nice to know that someone is actively trying to keep them open and in good condition. Also, it is very important to keep them clean from garbage for both aesthetic and fire hazzard reasons. I presume you clean them as well, right?

  19. Wim says:

    I have been cleaning the beautifull track between Antiathanos and Dionysiou (the Aeropotamus-path) with garden shears on my own last week. I even started removing large stones when I had to wait a couple of minutes for my compagnons. I will show you later with some pictures.

  20. Sotiris says:

    Hi guys,

    I am waiting eagerly for your report about the Dionysiou – Antiathonas trail. I have booked my visit to athos for 27 Nov. and I plan to do a GPS survey of the footpaths around Dionysiou, Simonopetra as part of my “Digital footpath preservation project” at vision.iti.gr/sotiris/routes/ (sorry only in Greek). Any information about the condition of the footpaths would be very useful to me.

    Best Regards,

  21. Wim says:

    I will try to give you an account of the trip in the near future, but in short I can tell you that we took the path along the Aeropotamos, starting not far from the dirt road to Ag. Pavlou. A steep, but beautifull route and not dangerous, as others indicated.
    gr Wim

  22. Sotiris says:

    Thanks, a lot. Then I will try first the Ag. Onoufrios branch and descent from Aeropotamos on my way down.

  23. Fremaki says:

    Sotiri (and everybody else),
    As you might allready know, you can find usefull information about Mount Athos’ footpath’s conditions here : http://www.athosfriends.org/footpaths/FootpathDescriptionsList.html as well as here : http://www.athosfriends.org/footpaths/FootpathsChart.html
    Eagerly waiting for your contribution when you come back…

  24. Sotiris says:

    Hi Guys,

    Just back from a wonderful trip to Athos and I successfully surveyed the footpaths from Dionysiou to Antiathonas.

    The second day we descended from the Aeropotamos trail. Indeed one of the most beautiful trails I have walked on mount Athos. There are a couple of tricky junctions and the path is a bit obscure in places but otherwise no problems here. Notice, that when you exit the path you walk for 100m towards the port on a dirt road and then you re-enter the path that has been now surfaced with concrete all the way to the monastery curved on the cliff on the left of the valley for an exhilarating 5 minute walk.

    Next day we climb up again on the Onoufrios trail. Until the kelia of Onoufrios there is a kalnterimi trail with maginificent views. The junction between Kelia and Antiathonas is also very clear with an old signpost. Then the path enters the forest and your reach another junction. The upper (right) trail is the old trail not visible on Zwerger map. We asked two loggers we found further on and they told as that it is blocked. We luckily took the left path that immediately decented to the river and started to climb with switch backs. A lot of imagination was required here since the path was narrow and covered with leaves, disappearing in a few places. Not for inexperienced hikers. Finally the path cleared and we came just a few meters bellow the road and the small chappel just as in the map. Now the trail does not exit to the road but descents right crosses the stream and exits on the road on the other side of the valley. Following the roads we reached the main ridge and easily climbed Antiathonas peak with magnificent views.

    Then we descended to Grigoriou via Ag. Theologos finding with great disappointment half of the path destroyed by the new ugly road constructed a couple of years ago.

    A will upload GPS tracks, maps and descriptions (in Greek) on my web site later this week.

  25. George F Australia says:


    Can you please share the URL of your website with us.


  26. Sotiris says:

    Hi George,

    The descriptions, are in http://vision.iti.gr/sotiris/routes/

    I broke down the trip into three segments:
    1. Zografou-Vatopediou-Pantokratoros
    2. Pantokratoros-Karyes-Grigoriou
    3. Dionysioy-Antiathonas

    Also, my companion traveler took a lot of photos, some of which you may found in

  27. Vasxedlis says:

    Two sites: a useful and a nice one, Sotíri!

  28. George F Australia says:

    Thanks Sotiris,

    Much appreciated.

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