2256 – the ruins of the Athonias or Athonite academy

The Athonias was founded in 1749 and the first building was erected on the top of a hill northeast of Vadopedi, where its imposing ruins still exist today. In the beginning it was well known because of the progressive educational methods of Eugenios Voulgaris, the director of the Athonias from 1753–1759. However, conservative circles of Mount Athos were encouraged to come out openly against the progressive educational methods of Voulgaris. By the end of the 18th century the rate of literacy in Mount Athos had declined and the traditional local circles became hostile towards the progressive teaching in the Athonias. Already 72 later, in 1821, the Athonias was closed, when the Greek War of Independence broke out. It reopened in 1845 in Karyes. Since 1821 the large building slowly fell in ruins….. On the drawing below you can see how it once looked (also have a look here).

Drawing of the the Athonias in 1821
The ruins in present days
The hill with the Athonite academy, seen from above on May 17th 2017

During my last visit to the Holy Mountain together with the Friends of Mount Athos I could visit the ruins and take a short hike from Vatopedi to Athonias (on Sunday afternoon 25th of September 2022).

Part of he hike we made on 25th of September 2022.
The surroundings of Vatopedi and Athonias with the vineyard of the Five Martyrs – from the Peter Howorth map
The Pende Martyres vineyards – the grapes had just been harvested
Further down in the sea: six round nets flote on the surface (with fresh fish in it?)

Before going to the the ruins of the Athonias, you’ll see the aqueduct that provided fresh water from the opposite hill:

The beginning of the aqueduct, where the fresh water came in
The aqueduct
Looking up: the ruins on top of the hill
The South wall: what used to be the entrance door
Inside the Athonias: left from the entrance a part of the second floor still stands
Inside the Athonias: right from the entrance, with Vatopedi below
Inside the Athonias: the Western wall
Inside the Athonias: the premises are largely overgrown (Western wall)
The Eastern wall (North side)
The Eastern wall (South side)
The chapel of Agios Eliou: once a year they celebrate a service here.
The interior of the chapel: a shot through the closed window
My fellow pilgrims: Tjeu, Bart and Lukas from Belguim
The chapel with a pile of stones and the Eastern wall behind it
The South and West wall, towards the entrance
A wooden beam survives, even after 273 years!
Detail of a window arch with baked bricks
Looking down at Vatopedi monastery from the Athonias hill

Wim Voogd, 30-12-2022

To all our readers: we wish you a healthy and peacefully new year, maybe we will meet once on the Holy Mountain (in September 2023?)

the Athos weblog team:

Herman Voogd

Bas kamps and

Wim Voogd

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