2026 – How to preserve and keep the ancient paths of Mount Athos?

Greece has a long tradition in preserving ancient heritage. Even old roads, such as this one,  leading to Thessaloniki are kept in good condition for the future. This road is in the Museum of Modern Art in Thessaloniki. This nicely restored road or path is located in the archaeological site of the ancient village of Akanthos, nowadays Ierissos close to the Athos border. 
Alongside the old walls of Thessaloniki workers are building a road in ancient style.On Mount Athos there are many old roads and paths (monopati or kalderimi) such as this one, close to Karakallou.Or this beautiful path in the Profitou Elias region. But the Mount Athos paths are vulnerable. This path is partly destroyed by water erosion.There are other natural causes that can damage the paths. Here an old tree avalanche, now overgrown by vegetation,  between Prodromou and Lavra has destroyed the path over a length of 15 meter. But the worst problem is that the paths are threatened by human intervention. Such as the use of metal walking sticks without plastic caps or rubber tips. The scratches on the photo are made by metal tips and are damaging the stones of the paths. In the trekking paradise Machu Picchu, Peru the use of walking sticks without rubber tips is not allowed!But what really has to stop is the bulldozing of the old paths. This is what is left of a path in the centre of the peninsula. Some stones are still there but most of the path is gone forever. The path has become a dirt road.
So stop making new roads and preserve the old paths for the future.

Herman Voogd

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