Karyes was named after the nuts that grow in the area. The Simonopetra Monastery has had a fluctuating interest and in 2018 housed 54 monks, but it does not look to be closing its doors anytime soon.
Why are there no women or female animals allowed on Mount Athos? Orthodox tradition has it that the Virgin Mary was traveling by ship and a storm brought her to Mount Athos. She loved the place and converted the people. Afterwards, it was decided that to focus more fully on her, no other females would be allowed. It has remained so to this day.
Extra: For a different perspective on the town of Karyes follow this link. To read a “60-Minutes” account of a visit to the monastery see this page and watch the account here.
The monks of Simonopetra have become known in recent years for their chants.