1457 – the Athos border at Komitsa beach

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:

DSCN1938 (Large)                                             DSCN1939 (Large)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:

004 Ouranopolis - de grens naar AthosThe Athos border near Ouranopoli in 1986

006 Nea Roda - de grens naar AthosThe 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).

Border Athos 3On 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).

DSCN1969 (Large)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.

DSCN1970 (Large)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:

DSCN1968 (Large)Along the beach lies a road with modern houses build next to it: in 1986 none of this was here

Border Athos 5The 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)

DSCN1971 (Large)Looking back in the direction of Nea Roda

DSCN1965 (Large)Looking at Cape Arapis

DSCN1966 (Large)Detail of meadows on Cape Arapis. In a previous post 572 we showed (wild?) horses near this spot

DSCN1977 (Large)Standing on the wall

DSCN1976 (Large)View of the Athos beach behind the wall and Cape Arapis

DSCN1981 (Large)The empty Athos beach with the yellow warning sign, of which all text did fade away by the sunlight

DSCN1980 (Large)Looking inland from the wall, with another privat house in the background (and my bike)

DSCN1972 (Large)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.

DSCN1973 (Large)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?

DSCN1975 (Large)Looking back from the gardens of the houses to the wall in the sea

DSCN1967 (Large)The empty Komitsa beach with (old) caravans on it

Wim, 9/10

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