2276 – the arsanas of Vatopedi

Vatopedi harbor/arsanas from a Cessna airplane 2017 – photo Wim Voogd

After one of our working days with the FoMA footpath team, when we had been clearing paths in the hills above Vatopedi, we arrived back at Vatopedi area. Near a small chapel the path follows its course down to the beach (on the right side on the photo above and the photo below).

Vatopedi: where the path ends and the beach begins

On one of our working days with the FoMA footpath team, when we cleared trails in the hills above Vatopedi, we came back to the Vatopedi area. At a small chapel, the path continues its course to the beach (on the left in the photo above).

Although sun-loving tourists never set foot on this pristine beach, the remnants of their existence can be found, even on the beaches of Athos.

At this point, where the beach ends and FoMA signs point you in different directions, is the first large pier. This pier is mainly used for landing goods and fish, and not for the boats that bring the pilgrims from Iersissos.

There are fishing nets in front of the building opposite: on the left side of the building is a large iron water mill. If you walk a little further you will soon see the second pier, where the passenger ferry moors. The Athos-police also has its boat here.

The passengers pier and police boats
The opposite building from 1820

In the wall is an antique plaque depicting a bull’s head with vine leaves and grapes draped above and beside it, possibly pre-Christian art from the ancient city of Dion.

The building with the bulls head, next to the path that leads to the monastery.

The path to the monastery

Above the door at the higher part of this building there is a plaque from 1899 wit a text in Greek.

Near the harbour there is another plaque: this one is definitely of Christian origin, with an emporere offering the Vatopedi monastery to the Panaghia and the Child Jesus, but also with the bulls head on it!

What is also interesting here is the water tap, which also has a large plaque above it.

Details from the scene: the Holy Mother pulls somebody from the sea, with a ship above him, a person resting next to a basket and plant and a person offering a gift to an icon.

Looking back to the area and building we just seen.

The southern part of the arsanas, with a ramp leading to a boathouse.

The boathouse

The same boathouse in the centre, but then on a photo from 1870.

At this point of the arsanas you can either follow the road up or go down along the shore and the other boathouses:

The road going up

Here the road goes up hill, to continue behind the monastery, or you can take the path, where all kind of building activities were taking place.

New stairs are being build

The back of the two old boathouses, seen from the road.

The front of the two old boathouses, seen from shore. Below are some pictures of these houses. They are in a deplorable state.

In front of one of the old boathouses: a table with “chairs”, made in 2012.

The other boathouses in the bay, with the house of the harbour police on the right.

The harbour police of Athos. Below: the fishermans boats under this building
Left: the next houses with a small pier

The next houses: these are neatly renovated. These photo’s are taken from another pier, as you can see on the panorama picture below.

A panorama picture taken form the pier, as also the pictures below.
Vatopedi arsanas, an etching from 1876, from the book Syrie, Palestine, Mont Athos, Voyage aux pays du passé by Eugene-Melchior de Vogue

Wim Voogd, 16-8-2023

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