Today I will show pictures of the outside of Xenofontos monastery. The plan below is drawn in 1980 by Mylonas.
As you can see on the aerial below, which I took in 2017, the layout of monastery has undergone some changes. Two new large buildings appear next to Northern wall, at the place where the yellow crane is today.
On the internet I found this aerial photo of unknown date, where you see a construction site and the first contours of a new building (on the right). This new construction also explains why the ugly yellow crane was put in the corner.
Two old pictures from my photo library: the first one is from 1986, everything is still in its original state. The second is from 2007: the new buildings are almost ready and the yellow crane showed up.
A long time ago, in 1744, the monastery looked quite different then it is now: at that time the Northern and Eastern external walls were integrated in the buildings. These buildings probably burnt down in the meanwhile and were replaced by walls.
Notice a funny detail in the sea in the Barsky drawing: a fisherman catches a large octopus!
Here are the spots where I took my photos, roughly divided into six sections:
- the Northern wall and buildings (E1 on the Mylonas plan above), at the backside of the monastery
- the Eastern wall, (E1, Φ1 and H),
- and 6. surrounding buildings
- the entrance and boat house (South wall)
- the kitchen gardens and ossuary (Western wall)
As I described in post 2054 we took a wrong turn on the path coming from Docheiariou and we ended up behind the monastery, at the – not very interesting -long wall at E1. The view is furthermore spoilt by the ugly yellow crane, that has been standing at the corner for a while now. Why are these iron monsters not demolished after use?
Xenofontos is one of the few monasteries where some parts of the defence structure consist of separate walls, which are part of the fortified complex. Other examples of these walls you can find in Iviron(South wall) and Agiou Pavlou (Eastern wall). In all other 17 monasteries (and most larger skites) the outer walls are integrated by buildings that are used by the monks, which serve a double purpose (living and defence).
According to this postcard the situation in 1911: mostly walls instead of buildings.
Towards the Northeast you will find a number of buildings for workers, where they park their cars and where they store the firewood:
Just around the corner of this boathouse you can find the entrance to the monastery. At the time we were there workmen were working on the pavement and they didn’t like to be photographed by us. So I’ll have to skip a recent picture of Δ1, the main gate. I found one old picture from 2007, but it only shows the top of the entrance.
At spot 6 there are four surrounding buildings: their mainly purpose is housing for temporary workers.
(see here for the situation in 2017).
Below: the vegetable gardens lie between spot 4 (boathouse) and 5. This is also a photo of the entrance (Δ1).
And finally we arrive at spot 5, the ossuary and graveyard.
Photo 5.6.- 5.8: the cemetery of Xenofontos
Wim Voogd, 17 june 2019
(next time more photos within the monastery)