On our first day of our pilgrimage to Athos on Sunday 20th of September we reserved a place to sleep at Skiti Andreou (or Serail). Before we went there we tried to get an extention of our Diamoniterion at the building of the Holy Epistatia in Karyes.The bell tower of the Protaton church and the Holy Epistatia on the right.
We should have had this information, because the office is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9 to 12 h. I took the opportunity to have closer look at the current restauration efforts outside the Protaton. Although I thought the had finished the project, they still busy with enforcing the fundaments outside the walls of the church:Pilgrims waiting outside the Protaton to enter the church: look the pile of stones on the right, where the restauration activities take place.Around the church: large quantities of concrete secure the walls and fundaments of the church, I presume earthquake prove! Photos above: the tower and teh apse – East side. Photo above: the South side.The West side, with the second entrance.The West side of the Protaton with Holy Epistatia The North side of the recently renovated church (uh, do I see a crack in the wall?)Having a rest on the steps of the Holy Epistatia: beware, if the guards spot you, you will be asked to not sit down here!
Four days later we could extend our Diamoniterions and we entered the building:Waiting for our extentionThe place where the guards sitA cubboard with post boxesA mosaic with Christ PantocratorBehind this door the old tower lies, where the Tragos – the founding document of Athos – is kept.A copy of the Tragos is to be seen in the hall – details see below
Information about the old tower: the green color at the lower regions/fundaments dates from the Byzantine period, the dark green color from 1694 and the light green color from 1890.A cubboard with giftsThe stained glass window at the stairwayLeaving the building (photos above thanks to Jitze Bakker)Outside the building: our extention til 28-9-2015.A cup of coffee at the busstation in Karyes, together with pilgrim Gert Jan (24/9)A (siromahki?) monk with a wooden leg: later that night he slept on a couch in the Serail!Heading towards the Serail, where we slept that night. According to our reader Hans this place resembles Hogwards of the Harry Potter books, with its school and ruined buildings.
Wim Voogd, 11/12/15