Simonopetra, Mount Athos, northern Greece

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.

Take a 360° tour of Simonopetra here.

Mount Athos, in northern Greece
Mount Athos, in northern Greece, was built on the side of this rocky cliff. (CC BY 2.0 ©2018 Marco Verch)


A father and son in actual life, Father Galaktion (right) and Father Athanasios both chose to lead a monastic life in Simonos Petra. The daughter is also a nun at the Ormilia Monastery outside Mount Athos. (CC BY-SA 2.0 ©2016 Istanbul’daki Yunanistan)


Mount Athos
The Rock of Simon, or Simonopetra. Halliburton calls it Simopetra. (CC BY-SA 3.0 ©2006 Michalis Famelis)
This amazing structure was built into the rock 1200 feet above the sea
This amazing structure was built into the rock 1200 feet above the sea. There is no entrance to the monastery until one climbs another 200 feet. (2016, public domain)