Not only on Athos but also outside the Holy Mountain there are interesting trails to hike with more or less the same look and feel. Theodosios Simonopetritis, in response of our previous post about the pilgrim’s route to Ierissos, send us text and photographs about the old pilgrim’s route between Megali Panaghia and Gomati, a small town which is located a couple of kilometers from Ierissos.
Theodosios walked this route the other way around. So not in the direction of Mount Athos but starting in Gomati hiking to Megali Panaghia and, in doing so, following the trail back in the direction of Thessaloniki. Which makes me wonder what is left of the rest of the old pilgrim paths to Thessaloniki?
On the photo: The small chapel of St George lies 2,5 kilometer outside Gomati alongside a concrete road.
Inside the chapel is the burial site of St. George, a local saint who was a wonderworker and can help healing peoples hearing.
A Byzantine bridge of the type that resembles the ones on Mount Athos.
A beautiful close up of the bridge
To the right, a new stone covered footpath was partly destroyed by heavy rain fall in probably 2010.
The same path
The path leads through a magic forest
In this forest, not known by many people, the cave of St. George is situated
Continuing the walk from the bridge, an old path with stone pebbles (Kalderimi) just like those on Athos leads in the direction of Megali Panaghia. In 2007 it was still largely intact. Unfortunately bulldozers destroyed parts to make the road more suitable for cars. On the photo a refuge for pilgrims.
A small chapel alongside the road, as well as crosses and other pilgrims hide outs.
There are many remains of Byzantine structures along the route. It is said that the prominent Greek theologian and ecclesiastical figure of the late Byzantine period Gregory Palamas (1296 – 1357 or 1359) walked this pilgrim route to Mount Athos
At the end of the trail Theodosios photographed a muddy wild boar with piggies.
Herman Voogd, editing
All photo’s and many parts of the text: Theodosios