2228 – spectacular drone photo’s of the Amalfi tower

Morfonou bay with the Amalfi tower (photo by Theodosios, 05-05-2021)
Amalfi tower on the Peter Howorth map

The Amalfi or Morfonou Tower is what remains of the old monastery of Amalfinon, one of the first major monasteries of Mount Athos, founded in the 10th century by seven monks from Amalfi, Italy. The monastery -and the tower- was built in the 10th or 11th century. 

After the Great Schism of 1054 the Christian church broke up in two sections, the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. And with the decline of Byzantium, the community of the Amalfi merchants in Constantinople declined also. The monastery was finally abandoned after the Fourth Crusade (1202–1204). Deserted by monks, it was granted in 1287 by Andronikos II Palaiologos to the Monastery of Megisti Lavra. Apparently, the tower remained in use -probably to support the defense of the area against pirates. It was refurbished in the 16th century and essentially a new fortification was built over the old byzantine tower.

These pictures of the tower are made on the 5th of May 2021 and the maker shared his pictures exclusively with Athosweblog.com. To my knowledge no other pictures were made before at such a short range and that hight of the tower. Even a picture from above and inside the tower will be shown here.

The Amalfi tower from above

It is obvious that the condition of the tower is in a terrible state. Trees are growing insde and between the stones of the walls.

Inside the Amalfi tower
Amalfi tower in 1986 – photo by Wim Voogd

In 1986 things looked very different, because the whole hill was stripped of all bushes and trees at that time. Let’s have a closer look at the top of the tower:

The North facade of the Amalfi tower, with in the background the snow on Mount Athos. Stalactites hang under the two large niches in the wall
The East facade of the Amalfi tower, with in the background the mountains near Lakkou skiti. Saplings grow out of the wall, where more red bricks are used
The South and most interesting facade of the Amalfi tower, here also many bricks were used in three niches and a cross on he left. Above the cross and on the right side are two marble stones with decorations on it
The left corner of South facade of the Amalfi tower, with awhite marble stone amd the red cross
detail of the marble stone: plant decoration with grapes and leaves (?)
The South facade of the Amalfi tower, with a marble stone showing a decoration and left from brick niches
detail of the last picture: on the left a brick niche with the letters “IB” in it (?) and on the right an richly decorated eagle (NOT the double headed eagle, frequently seen as the symbol of the Orthodox church)
The West facade of the Amalfi tower, with Morfonou bay in the background (photo by Theodosios, 05-05-2021)

Three photo’s of the base of the tower, hidden in bushes

One the (former) windows of the tower
Another window or door of the tower

Looking at the photo reportage I think it’s high time to do something to save this building from destruction. So I do an appeal to the KEDAK official’s to reserve fundings tp preserve this extraordinary remnant of the early history og the Holy Mountain. And I wonder what a acheological survey would bring to light if the old monastery is found. The image below shows how promising this survey might be.

Below the Amalfi tower: important findings of archeological artifacts

Wim Voogd, 16-1-2022

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2 Responses to 2228 – spectacular drone photo’s of the Amalfi tower

  1. Jemmo says:

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