1977 – Megistis Lavra, a walk around the monastery

The minivan drove us from Karies to Megistis Lavra. Every seat was taken. A long and winding dirt road takes you there. The old footpaths are mostly destroyed by the dirt road. Only short patches remain. We had been visited the Monastery before, but never found the time to take a proper look, due to late arrivals and hopping on the minivan at dawn.

We decided to walk around the complex. Herman had a copy of an old picture, taken from a high perspective. He wanted a remake from the same spot. So we climbed up.The helicopter platform used for medical emergencies or VIP’s. A medieval wall encloses the buildings.We were quite surprised to find a big water reservoir. A bench was placed there to enjoy the impressive view. And cranes, always cranes around many monastic settlements in recent years.

I couldn’t discover the reservoir on Athos’ best map by Peter Howorth from 2016. (Another minor detail: the helicopter platform is situated  a little lower, east of the grey main dirt road. )

A different perspective on Lavra, the oldest Monastery on Athos. We had just seen the fresco of Saint Athanasios the Athonite in the Protaton. He founded Lavra. He died here too, due to the collapse of a wall in the church.Many shiny metallic green beetles on a flowering giant fennel with the monastery as a backdrop.We climbed downhill into the cemetery, where a layman was working on a recent grave. He didn’t pay any attention to us. Monks live a long life here. Their years are on the crosses, I read: 65, 74, 88, 89, 94, and one who died in his 48th year on earth. We took the path down along the wall of the monastery. (The red line south of the complex on the Howorth map.). It descents through a olive orchard where the path dissolves into grassland. We walked on to a fenced garden. But couldn’t find a path. We saw this picture looking up to the monastery. We meandered our way down until we finally bumped into the dirt road (white road on the map). From that road we could easily find the nice, old and cobbled monopati leading to the arsanas. Only on the easy way back we realized that the path is much lower on the slope of the hill.A view on the tower at the arsanas from the dirt road. A bright light on the tower guided us. Next time more pictures from Lavra’s harbour.

Bas Kamps

This entry was posted in 01 Lavra, trip 2017 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to 1977 – Megistis Lavra, a walk around the monastery

  1. gerard koolschijn says:

    The long and winding (high) dirtroad was there also in 1970, but nowhere crossed the monopati. I took the monopati in 1971 and 1972/3 not far beyond Karakallou and then didn’t meet the dirt road either. I can’t imagine a new road would have been constructed.

  2. theodosios says:

    nice shots, which camera ?

  3. Sean Surlow says:

    Nice post as usual…Thanks. 😉

  4. bas kamps says:

    Many thanks for the kind comments.
    @Gerard: please take a look at Hermans post: https://athosweblog.com/2014/08/20/1617-the-destroyed-coastal-path-between-iviron-and-lavra/. I will show some details of the Peter Howorth map between Iviron and Lavra later, if you’re interested.
    @ Theodosius. The body is a Nikon D7200, a digital camera. On Athos I used two Nikon zoom lenses. A wide angle zoom: 17-70 and a tele zoom: 70-300. The number of pixels of the pictures on the weblog is limited. So I reduce the pictures from 6000 pixels (broad side of the picture) to 2000 maximum. There is ample opportunity to enlarge pictures or to show details. The only disadvantage is that the combination is quite heavy. The longer and steeper the hike, the heavier it becomes.

  5. gerard koolschijn says:

    Thanks for your reaction, Bas. I don’t understand it, however. I walked the long dirt road and also the monopati. I only said both never crossed, so ‘my path’ couldn’t have been destroyed by ‘my’ dirt road. The only solution, which I doubted, possibly wrongly, is that there has been constructed another, new dirt road.

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