The first monks who settled on Mount Athos are recorded only at the beginning of the 9th century, who originally lived in caves, while the way of monastic life changed radically with the arrival of Saint Euthymius from Mikrasia (coast of Turkey).

In 883 AD the monks of Mount Athos, according to an imperial decision of King Basil I, secured their right to practice monasticism freely, maintaining it to this day, while in the middle of the 10th century the peninsula began to be called “Agion Oros”. Saint Athanasios the Athonite marked the monastic state with his strong presence but also with the drastic changes he brought about and after securing large state funding, he built the “Vasiliki” in Karyes, in the place of the small temple of Protatos.

“Vassiliki” was the beginning for further great buildings, such as the monastery of Megisti Lavra, the Monastery of Zygos, the monastery of Iviron, Vatopedi and others. The rule of “Avaton” in Agion Oros occurred in the 12th century, when cattle breeders settled on the peninsula, disrupting the monastic life of the monks. Thus, royal intervention expelled stockbreeders and all the laity, as well as women, by instituting a ban on their entry, something that was consolidated in the 20th century by the European Union. During the Ottoman Empire and more specifically in 1387, Agion Oros surrendered to the Ottomans, for a short time, until it returned to the rule of the King of Thessaloniki.

In 1423 the monastic state reaches an agreement with the Ottomans, this time, ensuring the milder treatment of the conquerors. The monks, taking advantage of this event, managed to strengthen the field of education and, among other things, to establish the Athoniada Academy, a school that managed to greatly influence the bad state of education of the then enslaved Hellenism.

In 1821, Agion Oros nevertheless was sided with Halkidiki and helped the Revolution, a fact that later was paid dearly, both financially and with victims, men, women and children, who had then found refuge on Mount Athos.

According to the first Standard confirmed and ratified by the Emperor John Tsimiskis, Athos is simply called the highest mountain which may have been the usual name of the place at that time.

However, the predominance of the name “Agion Oros” seems to have taken place during the first half of the 12th century, specifically in a golden document of the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos to the Holy Monastery of Megisti Lavra in 1144 which is definitively and officially recognized and the new name is imposed as written in the particular document.

Do not hesitate to contact Agion Oros Treks for any additional information.