HAGION OROS

Orelse "Panagia's orchard" is located just a stone's throw from Thessaloniki and is the first choice of so-called alternative or religious tourism. It is located on the east side of Chalkidiki and is a self-governing part of the Greek state, dedicated entirely to the worship of God. It is the center of Orthodox monasticism and is the only place in the world where the abode is valid, the prohibition of women's presence there. The unique natural environment, combined with the unsurpassed architecture of the Holy Monasteries, most of them built literally on the edge of Mount Athos, provoke awe and ecstasy, enhancing the religious feeling of the visitor.

Smart Rent is ready to offer the right car for you and to show you ways and routes that will facilitate your access to this holy pilgrimage. At the peninsula of Athos there are 20 Holy Monasteries where unique works of art, sacred relics and books of immeasurable value are preserved, not only economic but, above all, historical and religious in the world.

The 20 Holy Monasteries do not change in number and are as follows:

Holy Monastery of Megisti Lavra (963): First in the monastery hierarchy and the largest in extent. It was built on the ruins of the ancient city of "Akrothathos" by Agios Athanasios, relatively close to the beach.

Vatopedi Monastery (972): Dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and known for its Katholiko, where 5 out of 33 chapels are included. In the Monastery there are 8 miraculous icons of Panagia, such as Vimatarissa, Antifwnitria, Paramythia, Pantanassa, Elaiovritissa, Pyrovolitheisa, Theodorskaja and Esfagmenis. A great treasure, among other things, is the Agia Zoni of Theotokos that the Emperor Ioannis Katakouzinos donated to the Monastery.

Iberon Monastery (976): The Monastery's sacristy is considered one of the most valuable on Mount Athos where invaluable treasures, golden vestments, the mantle of Patriarch Grigorios E, etc. are kept and is housed alongside the library that is organized and rich in content.

Serbian Monastery-Chilandari (1197): On the northern side of Mount,  is the spiritual center of the Serbian people for 9 centuries. Its Katholikon is dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin Mary and besides the rich frescoes, it has one of the largest libraries of Slavic and Greek manuscripts. It has a number of sacred icons with the most famous of Virgin Mary Tricherousa.

Dionysiou Monastery (1375): On the western side of Mount Athos and on a steep cliff 80 meters above the sea dominates the Holy Monastery, which holds the right hand of the Holy Prodromos, to which is dedicated its katholikon. The southern side is seen by  Arsana that consists of suspended wooden arcades, which crown the wild peaks of the steep rocks, descending Athos, bring the endless hill of the north. Donation by the Emperor Alexios Komninos, to the assailant Osios Dionysios, the sacred icon of the Lady of Salutations or the Akathistos, in which the Salvation Service was first performed in Constantinople, and which is today buried in the Holy Monastery.

Koutloumousiou Monastery(12th century): Just 10 minutes from the capital of Karyes with the picturesque houses and the dominant Protaras basilica, through a verdant slope, the castles of the Holy Monastery of Koutloumousios emerge silently. The Catholic dominating the center is devoted to the Transfiguration of the Savior. There is the icon of Panagia Stylarinis or Giatrissa and the well-known Virgin Mary called "Fovera Prostasia", which is abolished on the third Easter day. In the Monastery there are also some 200 pieces of sacred relics of seventy Saints. For the hospitality of the Monastery, pre-communication is required by telephone, due to the increasing number of pilgrims and the proximity to Karyes. Tel: +30 23770 22532 (12.00-14.00)

Pantokratoros Monastery (1363): Built on the sea, on the eastern side of Mount Athos, it is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior. The main icon of the Monastery is the sacred icon of the Virgin Mary of "Gerontissa", a gift of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos. There, the holy relics of Saint Apostle Andrew , Sacred Chrysostom and many other Saints, as well as a piece of Holy Wood are preserved.

Xeropotamos  Monastery(11th century): Dedicated to the Forty Martyrs, built at an altitude of 200 meters, at a short distance from the main road that connects Dafni (25 minutes walk) to Karyes (2 hours walk). The wood-carved iconostasis of the katholikon is gilded, a work of excellent technique. The second largest piece of Timber Wood in the shape of a Byzantine Cross is enclosed in a silver-gold cross.

Zografou Monastery(919): On the southwest side of the Athonite state, on a wooded slope, unobstructed by the sea, which is a 1 hour hike away. It was originally Greek but since the middle of the 19th century all monks are Bulgarian and the sequences are chanted in Bulgarian. It is dedicated to the (Holy Virgin) memory of St. George. The library hosts rare manuscripts, Greek and Bulgarian codes, most notably the manuscript of the first history of the Bulgarian nation which was written by the monk Paisius in 1745.

Dochiariou Monastery (11th century): The most picturesque monastery built next to the sea, on the edge of a verdant cypress slope that ends there. It is the first monastery that the visitor sees once reaching Mount Athos. Its katholikon is dedicated to the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. One of the chapels preserves the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary of Gorgoipikoos. There are also many manuscripts and printed books, as well as pieces of Holy Wood, as well as relics of Saints.

Karakalou Monastery(1070): At 200 meters above sea level, the Monastery of Karakalou dominates the northeastern side of the peninsula of Athos. It is a 5-minute drive and a 30-minute walk from the Filotheou Monastery. Dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul. In the Monastery there are sections of Saints' relics and a piece of Holy Wood. Also sacred vestments and functional utensils and objects of historical and artistic value. From the many portable icons, the one of Petros and Paul's conquest stands out, the work of Constantine the Paleocapas and the Circumcision of Christ. The library also houses chrysobulls, handwritten books, and more.

Filotheou Monastery(992): It is a popular destination in the East of Mount Athos with great hospitality. It is situated on a northeastern cape-tree plateau at an altitude of 310 meters, 30 minutes from Karakallou, 45 minutes from the coast and 2.5 hours (or 30 minutes drive) from Karyes. In its katholikon the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary is celebrated. There are books and precious heirlooms that are kept there. Next to the sea is the Holy Virgin Mary of Glykofilousa, which is constantly flowing with standard quantity and temperature, to the place where, according to tradition, the Abbot of the Monastery saw in the vision the Virgin Mary inviting him to bring her from the sea. (12th place in the hierarchy)

Simionos Petras Monastery (1363): Built on a steep cliff 230 meters above sea level, the Holy Monastery is dedicated to the Birth of Christ, from the boldest buildings of Mount Athos. It is the library of over 70,000 volumes of humanities that uses the most modern methods of organizing and keeping her books. Due to extensive renovation, there is limited hosting possibilities.

St. Paul's Monastery(11th century): Located at the base of Mount Athos on the west side. Its katholikon is dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ, where the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary Myrovlitissa, pieces of Holy Wood and the Gifts of the Magi to the newborn Christ are kept. It keeps a rich library.

Stavronikita Monastery (1542): The newest and smaller Monastery of Mount Athos. It is 15 minutes from Karyes by car or 1 hour from Pantokratoros monastery from a coastal path and is dedicated to Agios Nikolaos. Saints' relics, functional vessels and Crosses are kept in the sacristy. The monastery occupies the 15th place in the hierarchy between the Monasteries.

Xenofontos Monastery(1070): At the seafront section of the southwest side of Athos, within a short distance of Moni Docheiariou Xenofontos Monastery is built. It is the only Monastery of Mount Athos with two Catholics. The oldest is in honor of St. George and the newest katholikon is among the largest Catholics among the Monasteries of the Mount.

Gregoriou Monastery(14th century): Dedicated to Agios Nikolaos, it is built on a rock, above the sea. The library contains 297 manuscripts, theological, ecclesiastical and functional books, as well as chrysobulls and other valuable items.

Esphigmenou Monastery(11th century): Built on the northeast of the peninsula of Athos, in a bay. It is 1.5 hours from Ierissos. It was founded by the Byzantine Empress Pulcheria and due to its easy access from the sea, it suffered greatly from the pirate raids.

Russian-St Panteleimon Monastery (11th Century): Known as the Russian monastery is a huge and imposing complex. All of the buildings are examples of Russian architecture and are decorated with frescoes of the 19th century Russian painting school. Its katholikon, dedicated to Saint Panteleimon, is the only one in which there is no Divine Liturgy, but in the chapel of the Holy Skepis. This is because, according to the typical monastery, the Divine Liturgy is in the Greek and Russian in rotation, while in the rest, only in Russian. The imposing bell tower features 32 bells, the first of which is the largest bell in the Balkans, and the second largest in the world. It is about 3 meters in diameter, weighs 13 tonnes and the sound reaches Polygyros - 70 kilometers away!

Konstamonitoy Monastery (1086)

Twentieth in the hierarchy, it is built in the Gulf Siggitikos, in a forested alley 200 meters high, which is difficult to communicate with the rest of the monasteries. The monastery is about an hour away from its arsana, through a path full of olive groves and chestnut trees. It was founded by Konstas, son of M. Konstantinos, which explains its name. It is dedicated to the martyr Stephen, whose miraculous icon is kept in the Catholic, along with the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary Odigitria. The monastery contains heirlooms, vestments, chrysobulls, relics of Saints and a piece of Holy Wood.

In order to visit Mount Athos, it is first and foremost to secure the accommodation from the Office of the Pilgrims in Thessaloniki (8.30-14.00 and Saturday 10.00-12.00), since the permissible number is 120 persons per day. The transfer is made by boat from Ouranoupolis or Ierissos, where the visitor has to leave the car. These cities, as tourist sites, have all kinds of shops, hotels and parking for cars in order to serve this purpose.