2064 – a closer look at the Iviron aqueduct

During our road trip in September 2018 together with Father Theodosius from Simonospetras we paid a visit to the aqueduct of Iviron. In earlier posts, 1985 and 1608 ,we showed you pictures others made on this spot, including those of my recently deceased Athos friend Jan Paul ten Bruggencate.

Although before we have been searching in vain for the right place of this aqueduct, it is actually not difficult to find. Just take the road or the footpath behind the monastery and walk for 500 meters and you can’t miss it.

The footpath behind Iviron monastery leads through a house with vines
a balcony with vines and a Greek flag
the large vegetable gardens behind Iviron
The vegetable gardens are surrounded by stone walls, with a niche with a cross in it, dating from 1857
the stone cross from 1857
On top of the niche: another cross and a face

In the top of the niche I found an interesting detail: first I noticed the two snakes, made artfully in brick. But having a closer look, I saw that below the snakes another interesting detail appears: a round styled face is carved in natural stone.

the round face

I am quite puzzled of its meaning. It is probably not an ancient piece of classical Greek art, and I cannot find any relation with the face and a Christian symbol. Could it be a moon with a face in it, but why does it appear here next to the gardens? Is the face maybe related to the snakes, who sometimes symbolize danger, and in other occasions protection?

And then finally we arrive at the aqueduct. Here is aerial view from Google maps. I numbered all the 11 large arches in A, 8 smaller next to the building, and B, 3 lager arches, where the water of the river can flow and cars can pass. The 5 smaller arches are given the letter C. Let’s start with a historical from 1917, when monks from Iviron carried the Portaitissa icon during Easter through the aqueduct, waving with Greek flags.

1917: Arches B1 and B2 in the centre, B3 on the right, together with the smaller top arches C 4 and 5. At that time: scaffolds hold the aqueduct together!
Almost the same spot, 100 years later, arches B 1 2 and 3 (photo by Theodosios Simonopetritis)
Iviron aqueduct, photo by Theodosios Simonopetritis
Father Theodosius resting on the wall of the aqueduct
The stairs leading up (photo by Theodosios Simonopetritis)
Arches B 1, 2 and 3 and the smaller ones C 1/2 and 3/4. In the background behind the wall of the building arches A 8, 7 and 6 show up.
Between arch B1 and B2 and below the two small arches C 1 and 2: a cross in the wall and a plague (photo by Theodosios Simonopetritis)
the cross and the plague.
An inscription from 1858 with a text in Greek. Could the aqueduct have been build in 1858?
Another niche in the wall, made in brick (photo by Theodosios Simonopetritis)
the brick niche

On the other side of the aqueduct old pieces of wood, that once had a purpose, and hole in the wall can be seen. A large platan tree grows near the wall.

the arches B 1 and 2 seen from the back
The backside of the aqueduct with the large tree
The arches A 8 to 1, starting at the wall of the nearby farm
The arches and farm seen from the other side (the ‘A’ arches).
The same spot, but now a little bit higher: the top of the aqueduct is still covered with stones!
the top of the aqueduct
where water is collected in a basin
One of the ‘A’ arches with pines
Seen in a shed from the farm nearby: old – broken – clay pots and a scale
and than back to the coast of Iviron Monastery: large waves batter the shore on 2018-09-20 (photo by Theodosios Simonopetritis)

photos by Wim Voogd and Theodosius (thanks!) , 23/7

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5 Responses to 2064 – a closer look at the Iviron aqueduct

  1. Vasílis says:

    Concerning ‘the plague from 1858 with a text in Greek. Could the aqueduct have been build in 1858?’: the answer is no. The aquaduct has been build 1617-1619, when Géronta Gabriël was the hegoumenos (abbot). Maybe it notes the rebuild after the fire? Anyway, I could read the half of the text, but with the help of my good friend Janni I think you may read:
    So abbot Anthimos (from Didimóticho (eastern edge of the Evros regional unit of East Macedonia and Thrace) payed the costs (for the restauration?)

    • Dear Vasilis, could you indicate a bibliographical reference for the aqueduct ? Romanian sources from the 17th century say that it could have been built by Neagoe Basarab, who ruled in Wallachia from 1512 – 1521. Thank you in advance.

  2. iulianadamian says:

    Dear Vasilis, could you share a bibliographical reference for the building of the aqueduct in 1617-1619 ? There are Romanian sources from the 17th century that say it could have been built by Neagoe Basarab, voivode of Wallachia between 1512-1521. Thank you in advance.

    • Vasílis says:

      Well, iulianadamian, the reference, I quoted, you may find in the book (in Greek) from Ι.Μ. Χατζηφώτης, Μονές του Αγίου Όρους, τόμος Δ’, Αθήνα 2009, σ. 42.

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