An Italian in Mount Athos part 2 – Karies

The boat from Ouranoupoli takes us to Daphni in about an hour. Dafni  is a small settlement on the southern coast of the peninsula between Xeropotamou Monastery and Simonopetra Monastery. It is basically where most travellers on the west coast of the peninsula can get food and whatever else they need before starting they’re journey.

From there, we went to Karies, the capital of Mount Athos. On the beginning was called “Mesi”, in the 11th century it was called “Lavra of Karies” and the 14th century, Skite of Karies. Today is a small village that has some houses, shops and few temples. Here is situated the building of Iera Kinotita (Holy Community), where the representatives of the 20 Monasteries meet. In front of this building stands the temple of Protato, the cathedral of Karies. There is kept the miraculous icon Axion Esti. Opposite the Protato, lies an ancient tower. Inside the tower is the library where is kept the first document of Mount Athos, written on goat skin and called “Tragos”.

As I explained in my previous post, transport is not easy in Agion Oros. After having a very quick look at Karies we need to rush back to Daphni to get our last boat to our final destination of the day. In Karies you find mini buses that leave whenever they are full or whenever they find somebody willing to share the 45€ ride (which is the price of any use of these mini buses). Fortunately, we find a group of Georgian pilgrims we can share the ride with and make it to Daphni back in time. We need to get to Docheiariou before they serve lunch since we know it will be the last real meal we’ll have in the next three days due to the fasting period the monks will undergo for Easter.

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