In 1980 I visited the Holy Mountain for the first time and Ivíron was the first monastery I stayed in. Thirtynine years later I finally visited the last monastery of the 20, Xiropotamou. Although the monastery is easy to reach from Dafni (only 2.1 km, a hike a little more then half an hour), many pilgrims pass this place whilst traveling in the bus to Karyes or taking a boat further down the coast. So I am not the only one who completes the tour of the 20 monasteries with a visit to this, I am sad to say and also according to other pilgrims, rather inhospitable monastery. Not that they are unfriendly, because on our arrival we were treaded with a lovely lunch by a English speaking archondaris from Georgia and later with a beautiful room, but for us non-orthodox pilgrims the church and trapeza were kept closed and any contact with monks was avoided meticulously. Even a group of orthodox pilgrims, who asked politely to see the katholicon, were denied to have a look and left disappointed and a little frustrated, before hiking to a next destination.
But anyway, we started our hike from Dafni: the first part leads along the dirt road to Karyes. Soon after the arsanas of Xiropotamou a kalderimi goes up to the monastery.
The path going up to Xiropotamou monastery, standing on the bridge over a dried-up bed of a brook.
The dried-up bed of the brook that leads to the arsanas
The old stones of the kalderimi, fairly intact
Along the path: a praying mantis
The West wing of Xiropotamou seen from the kalderimi
The fence at the end of the kalderimi: here it goes down to Dafni
The main entrance to the monastery
The special gargoyle at the South/West corner: a dragon?
An old picture of Xiropotamou: the tower of the portico building is still in ruins at that time. This ruinous state of this part of the monastery is still confirmed by the plan made by Feigl in 1980.
On the Feigl plan of the monastery you can also see that the old path/monopati from Dafni continues here to Karyes. Some parts of this path should still be in use, as you can see on the two maps from Zwerger and Howorth (marked with a red line). I wonder if anybody recently walked on these paths on a hike to Karyes?
The archondariki building left of the entrance (builing U) is totally renewed nowadays, as you see on the next picture, that I took during my flight over Athos in 2017.
On a picture above from the main gate you can see that on the right side of the main entrance a new wall, with vines growing in front of it. This is how this place looked like in 1928, according to this postcard.
On this aerial photo (below right) is clear that the old wall and building has been removed totally at some point.
Wim Voogd, 15-5