Mt Athos, The last of Byzantines or Where Byzantium still exist.

map of athos

detailed map

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map of monasteries

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the deep south, between capes is the desert.
 
PRE- MONASTIC STATUS

the myth and history gives strange data about Athos,

written say was inhabited by Amazones, and was men excluded,

Archaiology proves that Alexander the great at the top placed the biggest Fryktoria, to signals all Greece,

Archaiology and written also provides us that some East parts were habitet by Kabeires, and Cybele followers, or Magna Mater in Romans

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybele

besides at some older icons, mother Mary apears with a diadem like a city at her head.

3a25494929cf38fa20d53111a75c2568Panagia_to_Axion_Esti.jpg
 
Early Monastic era,

mt Athos begining is divided to 2 eras,

1 pre 963
2 after Lavra era,

963 is considered the day of Megisti (great) Laura estblishment.

Christian monachism started at Egypt;s desert,
after the expansion of Islam, Monks used to gather to other arid or desert areas,
the primary target was Kappadokia (Cappadokia) in today Turkey, that days East Roman empire
secondary was mt Athos,
and third S Italy (Benedecto is possible one)

so the pre 963 era is mainly by hermits who gather at the desert of Athos,
with no organized to a community system,

the foundation of Megisti Lavra.

The Monastery of Great Lavra (Greek: Μονή Μεγίστης Λαύρας) is the first monastery built on Mount Athos. It is located on the southeastern foot of the Mount at an elevation of 160 metres (170 yd). The founding of the monastery in AD 963 by Athanasius the Athonite marks the beginning of the organized monastic life at Mount Athos. At the location of the monastery, there was one of the ancient cities of the Athos peninsula, perhaps Akrothooi, from which the sarcophagi of the monastery that are in the oil storage house come. The history of the monastery is the most complete compared to the history of the other monasteries, because its historical archives were preserved almost intact. It is possible that the study of these archives may contribute to the completion of the knowledge of the history of other monasteries, whose archives were partially or completely lost.

The founder of Great Lavra, Athanasius, began the construction of the buildings in 963, according to the will of his friend and Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas who funded the project.[1] Nikephoros had promised Athanasius that he would soon become a monk of Great Lavra but the circumstances and his death canceled those plans. However, a permanent imperial grant, which was doubled by John I Tzimiskes, allowed the integration of the buildings.
 
Megisti Lavra the older monastery.

entrance

monastery-of-megisti.jpg



aerial photo

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photo from sea

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Great Lavra is the oldest, with a life of 1060 years,
so there is not only one architecture.

Inside yoy may see from ancient Greek elements, to Roman Persian aven Arabic and Late medieval to Gothic elements,
that has to do with the era that buildings were build, donations, even era of reconstruction damaged sectors,

the city structure follows typical of monasteries, which is nothing else than the older Greek Oikia/small palace, which evolute to Roman block of multihousing,
you may say a Roman block, or a small fortified city,

the 2 videos bellow show us the interior.





Here is a 360 view walk of monastery.

https://mountathos360.com/en/360/iera-monh-megisths-lauras/
 
The thread title spokes about Byzantium
but until today how much Byzantium did we see?
All monasteries except religious relics have also other treasures.
Megisti Lavra has a lot of secret treasures,
only few are known,


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The crown of Nikephoros Phokas emperror.
with his scepter,
his dress
his Evaggelion (bible)


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Nikiphoros_Phokas.jpg
 

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