Most pilgrims know the Athos border near Ouranopolis, that is situated some 3 km from this little town. Here are two pictures from the border taken last month:
The border at the other side of the peninsula is seldom visited by pilgrims. Together with my old friend Pieter Voorn we walked the long distance in 1986 and at that time, 27 years ago, the situation at both sides looked like this:
The Athos border near Ouranopoli in 1986
The border at the other side near Nea Roda – 1986
After 27 years it was about time to take another look at the situation. This time I did not walk the distance of 8/9 kilometers, but I rented a mountain bike (it took me 45 minutes, including some breaks to rest and to shoot some pictures).
On these places I took my pictures, some of them were shown in the last post (1456). Let’s start with the photo of the border and the wall as it lookes now (22 September 2013).
As you can see the old wall with a fence on top of it has disappeared and it is replaced by a new, thick and solid one, with a small niche in it.
The new wall with a niche: notice the piece of blue rope hanging above it. It gives you the possibility to climb the wall and walk on top of it. But first let’s have a closer look at the surroundings:
Along the beach lies a road with modern houses build next to it: in 1986 none of this was here
The places where I took my pictures near the border (I did not see any road just behind the border, as seen on this picture from above)
Looking back in the direction of Nea Roda
Looking at Cape Arapis
Detail of meadows on Cape Arapis. In a previous post 572 we showed (wild?) horses near this spot
Standing on the wall
View of the Athos beach behind the wall and Cape Arapis
The empty Athos beach with the yellow warning sign, of which all text did fade away by the sunlight
Looking inland from the wall, with another privat house in the background (and my bike)
Further on the old wall reappears: a concrete wall with an iron fence on it. The Unesco World Cultural Heritage sign is the same as on the other side of the border.
A curious detail: a hole it the iron fence! How easy it is for illegal trespassers to enter the Holy Mountain? I certainly do not hope this gate is used by thiefs to smuggle icons or other valuable things. Or do some monks use this route to smuggle goods into Athos, who knows?
Looking back from the gardens of the houses to the wall in the sea
The empty Komitsa beach with (old) caravans on it