Ouranoupoli, Ierissos, Nea Roda ...

Ouranoupoli

Ouranoupoli, the last frontier for the monastic republic of Mount Athos, whose port boards monks and pilgrims for the big journey to the religion, the unique in the world alive monument, Mount Athos.

A refugee village, inhabited by refugees right after the destruction of Minor Asia, giving it initially the name of “Prosphoro”, when later in 1960 was renamed to Ouranoupoli, meaning in Greek, the city of the sky. The imposing Byzantine tower, the “Prosphoriou Tower” set at the port was built during the 14th century, in order to protect the metochia (church properties) of Vatopedi monastery. In 1379 the tower housed the king of Thessaloniki, Ioannis Paleologos and much later the first refugees coming from Minor Asia. In 1928 it housed the couple Loch, coming from Australia, who loved the village and became members of it really quickly. They even founded a remarkable small weaving industry, creating carpets using the monasterial patterns and keeping the tower in a intact condition as well. Mrs Loch was taking care of the residents with her valuable medical advice, since there was no other doctor in the village. The older locals narrate that the light of her room was giving them a strange feeling of safety. Nowadays, the Tower is being incredibly well- preserved and boasts an impressive collection of Byzantine exhibits and findings which trace back, even to Paleochristian period.

The seaside paved street is embellished with famous fish taverns, supplied by local boats which harvest the rich fishery of Mount Athos, when in the same time a stroll around the village will reveal picturesque shops with traditional products such as icons painted by monks, weavings, jewels, wine from the Mount Athos’ vineyards and lots of others.

It is also worthy to see:

  • The Zigou Monastery, the unique one built outside the borders of Mount Athos, and visitable from women as well. Built during the 11th century, of a majestic architecture, situated only 40m away from the border line. The Byzantine church was recently rescued and made accessible to visitors. Despite that the excavations which are still ongoing, brought into light rare and significant findings. The historical artifacts found during the excavations are on display in the “Prosphoro” Tower.
  • Ammouliani, the idyllic, charming island, with spectacular beaches and picturesque neighbourhoods “painted” with the scent of the past.
  • Drenia, or Gaidouronisia (meaning Donkey Islands), a complex of inhabited islands, connected with Ouranoupoli, all endowed with golden sanded beaches and emerald waters.