Monastery Karakalou

Founded: 11th century
Founder: Unknown
Feast-day: 29th of June
Library: 279 manuscripts
Collection: The icon of "Christ the Pantocrator" (15th century)


The Monastery Karakalou is founded on the NE side of the peninsula, on an elation of an intense downhill slope, at a distance of half an hour east of the Abbey Filotheou and at an equal distance from the sea. It is dedicated in the memory of the Apostles Petros and Pavlos.Various opinions as to the origin of the name of the Abbey have been expressed.Many have no base, eg the one that attributes her foundation, to the Roman emperor Karakalla (211-217 A.C.), or the one that connects the name with the Turkish words "kara-koule'" (black tower), which however we could say is more persuasive because of the frequent appearance of similar Turkish surnames during the midbyzantine period.

The existence of the Abbey, since the 11th century, is proved through a document 1018, that was saved in the records of Megistis Lavras , and in which its NE boundaries with the Abbey Amalfinon are determined .Reports also claim that it suffered horrible raids and pillages during the Fragokratia period. Its name is often presented in official documents during the period of Andronikos Paleologou the 2nd and in the acts of Protatos, which date back to the first half of the 14th century (eg 1314,.1324,.1345, 1350).

The renovation of the abbey in the 16th century, is connected to the generosity of the souvereign of Vlahias Petros Rares. In 1535, with the mediation of the Moldovlahian sultan Souleiman the 1st who sent out a declaration in which he recognized that "the certain monastery was in need of renovation " and allowed "renovations to the ancient buildings...", but no building on the existing foundations". A year later the coastal tower was built . In the engraved signs, apart from the founders ,the architect -something extraordinary - is also cited : "...Siropoulos Dionisios Hatzis and architect . The tower and the barbakas are completed". That is to say apart from the tower there was also a wall in the form of a - small castle - which surrounded the dining room and the cells . The entrance to the Barbaka became possible with a wooded ladder which would be lowered when needed .

During the 17th century important donations to the Abbey are reported: the metohi of Saint Nikolaos in Ismailia and the economic subsidy of the King of Iviros Arthil. Then,according to Georgirini,there were 500 monks living in the Abbey.

In 1707, with the subscription of the previous abbot Neofitou the northern wing is renovated.During the same century serious repairs and additions to the monastery are also made.The next phase of intense building activity, is expressed after the fire in 1875.

The tower of the Abbey presents remarkable elements in its shape and is one of the most beautiful towers on Mount Athos : with stretched out bastions, that offer dynamism but also elegance.