2212 – new building activities in the centre of Karyes

The first time I visited Karyes in 1980 I saw, if I remember correctly, that there was still an old building opposite of the Protaton bell tower, next to the chapel of Ag. Nikolaos and the graveyard, here visible on this picture from 1941.

Karyes: left from the chapel of Ag. Nicholaos and behind the mule in the middle: the old building (photo from 1941?)

But when I visited Karyes afterwards, all I saw on this was an empty space, covered in weeds and grass. The old building had been removed.

Karyes 2009

This is how it looked like in 2009, when the empty spot on the left still was covered with grass.

Karyes 2011

The same (empty) spot on the left, now seen from the other side, with the konkaki of Filotheou on the right.

But today things look very different! On Facebook Prodromos Grigoriatis and our reader Vasílis shared a video, made on the 4th of July 2021, from which I took some stills.

Karyes 4/7/2021

This picture shows the main street of Karyes, with its shops and the car parking in the background: on the right there is a green fence, with a hole in it to look through.

Karyes 4/7/2021

If you look through the hole in the fence, you wil see a huge excavation the rock and massive construction activities by workers, preparing the foundations of a large building!

I wonder what will be build here? Rumor has it that it will be a large supermarket. If that is true, is it wise to build something like this on this historic site, that is under the protection of UNESCO? Who knows the answer?

Wim Voogd, 17/7/2021

Update 21/7/2021: today the concrete floor is sprayed on the steel reinforcement grid.

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4 Responses to 2212 – new building activities in the centre of Karyes

  1. Japetus says:

    The plot belongs to Megisits Lavras, but I don’t know if the fathers are building it on their own or if -as rumored- the funds come from somebody else who is behind. It was the most prominent and central plot in the center of Karies that still remained undeveloped. The previous building there (with shops of various uses during its existence such as a restaurant, grocer, shoemaker) was demolished in 1973.
    At the back side of it -visible at the photo with the works- there are some smaller low buildings that are currently used from Esfigmenou brotherhood as their kitchen.
    The other prominent new building at Karies, which is a bit further away, is the new office building of the civil government (politiki dioikisis).

  2. Japetus says:

    Regarding your question whether it is wise for someone to build anything in a Unesco protected site, this is the reason why the greek government has formed KeDAK (Centre for the Preservation of Athonite Heritage) which is an official body comprising of architects and engineers whose purpose is to supervise and approve any sort of construction or renovation activity inside Athos. They are also responsible for supervising the allocation of the EU fundings towards the beneficiary monasteries.
    Every new construction in Athos has to get their approval. Of course in settlements like Karyes, such land plots were former buildings that were demolished. No new building is allowed to be built anymore anywhere in Athos, except if it is in a place of a former recorded construction.
    So searching at Kedak web page about this building I came accross the following from 2020:
    “Approval of the architectural and static study of the project ‘Construction of a new building on the site of the old kelion of Agios Nikolaos (‘Samaradiko’ [=saddle-making shop]) of the Holy Monastery of Megisti Lavra in Karyes”

    Kedak’s web page (kedak.gr) is unfortunately at the time being in greek only, but at the publications section, they have available for downloading some of their great books -that they once used to publish- in english language too.

    Koufopoulos and Mamaloukos at their book ‘Agioreitiki Metallotehnia’ (Athonite Metallworking) where a map of Karyes with places of workshops is featured (and you have used it at your webpage at the past), write about the empty land plot in question, numbered 15 at their map: “Demolished building belonging to the Monastery of Megisti Lavra (1973) with two shops on the ground floor: a)functioning as a coffeshop/restaurant, bakery, and grocery until 1973, b} minimarket and then shoemaker until 1973.

  3. Jemo says:


  4. Japetus says:

    Regarding the new building of Lavra in Karyes -which is now ready and blends perfectly to its surroundings-, here is a recent article on Voria newspaper, use a translator as it is in greek: https://www.voria.gr/article/agion-oros-syghrono-ktirio-pollaplon-hriseon-apoktoyn-oi-karyes

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