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View the Byzantine Tower in Athos

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The Byzantine Tower of Ouranoupolos is the only tower that still exists in Athos, Greece. It is located near the Monastery of Vatopediou and was built by Emperor John II Komnenos to protect his navy from pirates. This large stone structure overlooks the sea and has a unique design with two levels, one on top of another. The lower level consists of an open space whose ceiling rests on four pillars. The upper level has windows on every side which offer a fantastic view.

About the Byzantine Tower of Ouranoupolos

The Byzantine Tower of Ouranoupolos was built during the 11th century by Emperor John II Komnenos to strengthen the naval power of Byzantium. This large stone structure is 20 meters high and has a unique design with two levels, one on top of another. The lower level consists of an open space whose ceiling rests on four pillars. The upper level has windows on every side which offer an amazing view.

The tower was named “Ouranoupolos” or “of Uranius” in honor of the Emperor’s general, who built it to protect his navy from pirates. However, this large stone structure did not serve its purpose for long because pirates were successfully attacking all ships in the Aegean Sea a few years later.

What to Do at the Byzantine Tower of Ouranoupolos

The Byzantine Tower of Ouranoupolos is an imposing sight. Its height and location make it a majestic part of the Athos landscape in Northern Greece. When walking in its open space, you’ll enjoy beautiful views over the sea and the surrounding countryside. For most people, visiting this historical sight is complete once they climb up to its upper level.

However, it is highly recommended to see it from below as well. It’s not easy to climb up there, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can ask one of the monks in the adjacent monastery for help. The Byzantine Tower of Ouranoupolos is also known as the Monastery of Iviron. So if you want to visit both, I would recommend you go there after having a tour of the Monastery of Vatopediou.

Getting to the Byzantine Tower of Ouranoupolos

The Byzantine Tower of Ouranoupolos is located near the Monastery of Vatopediou, famous for its library with over 2,000 manuscripts. If you’re planning to visit both places, I recommend you go there after having a tour of the Monastery of Iviron. There are daily scheduled busses from the port city of Dafni that will take you directly to both.

And if you’re planning to visit only one of them, I would recommend you go to Ouranoupolis either by bus or by boat. The boat ride takes about an hour, and it leaves three times a day. It’s not included in the ticket price, but it’s worth mentioning that there are no other direct ways to reach Ouranoupolis. The closest alternative is by foot. However, be advised that the path takes about 4 hours to walk and has many stairs, so be prepared for a long journey.

The Byzantine Tower of Ouranoupolos is the only tower that still exists in Athos, Greece. Emperor John II Komnenos built it to strengthen the naval power of Byzantium, and today it offers one of the most amazing views over the sea and surrounding landscape.

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