The first thing you see when you arrive by boat at the arsanas (harbour) of Simonos Petras is the mediaeval tower with a boathouse attached to it. The path towards the monastery, 300 meters up, starts just behind the boathouse.
Right from the path there is – for Athonian standards – an atypical building. It looks a bit like a Mediterranean villa from the fifties, with a veranda and porches. This is how it looked like in 2013.
In 2019 we had to wait for the ferry for quite a long time. It was time well spent by wondering around the arsanas.
The boathouse had been restored between 2013 and 2019. There is a clear difference in the thick layers of grout they added. But the villa was still left to the elements. It was still as deserted as in 2011 and the situation has not been improved. I decided to take a closer look.
It is a peculiar building with its pink walls and yellow ceiling. Iron is used as a material for the windows, the door and the fence. The plaster is coming down from the ceiling.
One of the main columns completely stopped supporting the ceiling. There seems to be a serious problem with concrete rot, probably caused by rusting iron. A grape, unaware of it all, is finding its way up via the iron fence.
A closer look at the ceiling. The missing pillar could become a problem for the structure, in due time it might collapse, for instance caused by another earthquake, which are frequent in the eastern Mediterranean.
Shoots of grape try to find their way on the crumbling terrazzo floor and through the rusting fencing.
This kitten was the only living creature around the house. The open bricks show how relatively new this building is. Has anyone an idea about the history of the building and inhabitants? Was it perhaps a kind of administrative building, an office or a shop for religious souvenirs?
Deserted, yes, strange-no. Being adjacent to the ancient harbour (boathouse and tower, in extension from the pier), it is part of another, more recent harbor where the boathouse is right below the building. The old building above the boathouse has been “renewed” somewhere in the ’60ties, in the style that prevailed at that time, concrete, steel, masonry. The monastery used in earlier years to baptize at the small harbour those willing to become orthodox, and the according liturgy was held in this building. Now it in ruins, someday it will be restored to its former (pre-1960) glory.
Note that some 30 meters up the path to the monastery, there is another house which with a well inside which was connected to the harbour as well.
Thanks for the comment, dear Theodosios. Good to know that the building was used as a baptize house. Let’s hope that soon it will be restored in its original splendour.
House with the well inside???