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New Athos Monastery

New Athos Monastery belongs to the attractions of Abkhazia and consists of architectural structures, revered shrines, temples, chapels, landscaped pier, stone sidewalks, etc. The complex is located on a mountain and surrounded by alleys, park areas, gardens, grounds with picturesque views of the Black Sea coast.

History of the New Athos Monastery

Monastery complex in New Athos
The monastery complex occupies a large territory.

New Athos Monastery is located in Abkhazia at the foot of the hills in the town of New Athos. The history of the temple complex began with the selection of a suitable site in 1875 by the monks of St. Joseph’s Monastery. Panteleimon.

The territory where the complex was built has been popular among believers for more than 2,000 years as a center of religious development in the Caucasus. It is associated with the name of Simon the Canaanite, who preached Christianity and died in the 1st century AD. The saint lived and prayed in a cave on the mountain, which in modern times is called New Athos. The relics of St. Kananita are near the base of the buildings.

The site is located at an altitude of 75 m above sea level. For the construction of the temple complex were equipped with access roads, removed tens of thousands of tons of soil and rock. Construction work was interrupted for periods of war. The restoration of the monastery was begun again in 1880 with the support of Emperor Alexander III of Russia.

Cobblestone sidewalks were laid, a pier was built, parks and alleys were landscaped, an artificial waterfall was created, etc. The first Russian hydroelectric power station was created near the monastery. The first hydroelectric power station in Russia was created near the monastery. The complex of buildings was completed by the early 20th century.

The date of consecration of the monastery is September 1900.

At the monastery complex, workshops dedicated to:

  • blacksmithing;
  • leather crafts;
  • carpentry work, etc.

On the territory of the monastery the monks set up apiaries, developed agriculture, horticulture, etc. In the gardens the staff of the complex grew olive and orange trees and rare plants. Ministers helped orphans and opened schools. Near the monastery grounds, fields were sown with wheat, potatoes, corn, and medicinal herbs.

Before 1917. The New Athos Monastery was one of the main spiritual centers in the Caucasian territories. In 1924 the complex was closed by decree of the Soviet authorities. For many years the buildings were abandoned, then used as warehouses, hospital premises, etc.

The revival of the monastery began in 1994. After the renovation, services, prayers, etc. began to be held here. A religious school was opened on the grounds in 2001. Since 2011, the complex belonged to the agencies of the Abkhaz Orthodox Church. The monastery holds services and receives visitors from all over the world.

Photos of the monastery in New Athos

The complex consists of several temples, assemblies, outbuildings, made in the Neobyzantine style. Inside the monastery rooms are painted with frescoes by Palekh and other masters of art.

New Athos Monastery inside
The interior decoration of the monastery.

Decorating the walls and domes were carried out by masters from different countries. The refectory under the bell tower was painted with frescoes by Volga artists. The buildings of the monastery are arranged in the form of a quadrangle, in the center there is a cathedral with domes. The total number of shrines of the complex – 6. Preserved bridges, man-made waterfall, karst caves.

Temples and shrines on the territory of the New Athos Monastery

On the territory of the complex are concentrated chapels, temples, different artistic design, purpose, etc. During excursions you can see architectural, cultural sights, shrines, natural objects, relics of saints.

In the northwestern part of the monastery’s territory there is a bell tower, defensive fortifications, outbuildings, gardens, apiaries, etc.

Panteleimon Cathedral

In the central part of the complex is a cathedral, built in 1888-1900 designed by architect NN Nikonov. There are five domes on the building. The maximum height of the complex reaches 40 m. The total width of the structure is 33.7 m and its length is 53.3 m. The architecture of the cathedral is in the Neobyzantine style, popular in the architecture of the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The frescoes on the walls were made in 1911-1914 by masters of painting from the village of Palekh and by Moscow artists under the direction of A. V. Serebryakov.

Under the bell tower is the former refectory for the monks.

Shrine of the Mother of God “Deliverer

The temple was named in honor of the main sanctuary – the icon of the Mother of God, which, according to legends, helps to heal diseases, determine the life destination of people, etc. The building was designed in the Byzantine style with elements of eclecticism. Its construction was completed in 1895. There are no services in the building, but tourists and pilgrims can see the landmark and ask for well-being and healing.

Shrine of Hieron the Martyr

The temple was erected in 1895 and belongs to the active on the territory of the monastery. In the past, the building housed a school for orphans, held charitable events, provided medicines, medical care, food for the hungry, etc. There are many icons inside and paintings on the walls.

Church of Hieron the Martyr
Church of Hieron the Martyr.

The Church of the Venerable Fathers of Athos

The architectural complex was designed by N. N. Nikonov in the same style as the monastery buildings. The building was completed after the Russo-Turkish War. The temple is located in the southwestern part of the New Athos complex. There is a shop with church supplies, souvenirs, etc. in the building. There are no regular services held in the building.

The Church of St. Andrew

The building was built in 1894. The project combines the architectural styles of eclectic and neo-Byzantine. The temple operates, there are divine services, souvenir departments and shops for the sale of church products. The first monks opened craft workshops.

Church of the Ascension

The Church of the Ascension is part of the general monastic complex. The building was completed in 1896. The church is located in the mountainous part of the monastery, so because of the landscape features of the area was built later than other objects. Yellow, red, and orange hues were used in the decoration of the hull and the interior. The consecration of the church took place in 1894.

The church above the gate is active, in the premises hold services, prayers.

Working hours and rules for visiting the monastery in New Athos

New Athos Monastery can be visited on Wednesday – Sunday from 12:00 to 18:00 hours. You do not need to pay to enter the complex. The ministers are accepting donations for the restoration of the buildings.

It is allowed to visit all the objects of the complex. You can take pictures without turning on the flash. However, it is necessary to obey the requirements to visit the monastery complex. Inspection of facilities is allowed in covered clothing, women must be with their heads covered.

On the territory of the complex there are trading stalls, tents that sell food, water, souvenirs and sanctified products, as well as supplies from the monastery servants (medicinal herbs, honey, jam, etc.). Long skirts, kerchiefs if necessary are provided free of charge at the entrance to temples, caves, etc.

Excursions to the New Athos Monastery
The monastery is visited by a large number of tourists.

Excursions to the New Athos Monastery and their prices

Excursions with an overview of the New Athos Monastery are conducted from Adler, Sochi and other cities of Abkhazia, Georgia, etc. It is possible to book a trip as an individual or as part of a group.

Popular tours:

  1. “Journey from Gagra to New Athos. The trip is a group trip (up to 4-5 people). The duration of the tour is 5 hours. Tourists explore the architectural sights, park with rare plants, man-made waterfall. By agreement it is possible to visit the New Athos karst cave. The total cost of the tour is about 7 thousand (per group).
  2. “Through the holy places of Abkhazia. The tour includes visits to Lykhny, New Athos and Dranda. Guides talk about the history of buildings, legends, show picturesque protected areas, healing springs, etc. Time of the tour is about 8 hours, the total cost for the group (up to 6 people) – 13 thousand rubles.
  3. “The Golden Ring of Abkhazia. The trip includes a visit to the shrines in Gagra, New Athos, Lake Ritsa. The tour begins with a review of the monastery, architectural and historical sites, New Athos caves, nature reserves of the Pitsunda resort, memorial sites, etc. The maximum number of participants in a group is 19. Excursion is bus and pedestrian, lasts about 12 hours. Transfer from Adler, the railway station in Sochi. Ticket price for one person – from 1 400 rubles. The price does not include food.

How to get to the monastery in New Athos

From the city of Novy Athos to the monastery can be reached on foot or by car. There are routes from Sukhum, Gudauta and Pitsunda to the complex. The way by car takes 30-60 minutes. From the resort towns of the Republic of Abkhazia to the temples there are regular buses and cabs. There are also excursion routes. The cost of the trip on the shuttle bus is about 200 rubles, by cab – from 4 thousand rubles.

Attractions on the territory of the monastery
Travelers can sign up for a group tour if they wish.

Hotels and hotels near the New Athos Monastery

You can stay after the tour at the following hotels:

  1. “Elishka.” The cost of a double room in a boutique hotel – from 4 thousand rubles.
  2. Abaash Afon. For a double room in a hotel complex you will need to pay from 8 thousand rubles.
  3. “Grand Afon. The hotel offers rooms of different sizes and capacities. The infrastructure includes a dining room, restaurant, swimming pool, landscaped beach. The cost of the room for 1 person – from 4 500-6 000 rubles.

Official website of the monastery

You can read the changes in visiting rules, archives, and documents on the official portal of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia: anyha.org. Information about the monastery complex and other shrines is published on the electronic site.

The site has employee phone numbers and other contact information.

New Athos Monastery in Abkhazia: photo, history, official site

On the website of the Abkhaz Metropolis one can read the history of Christianity on the territory of Abkhazia, articles, archival documents, audio and video recordings, etc. The site regularly updates the schedule of worship services.

Interesting facts and legends of the New Athos Monastery

Interesting facts and legends about the monastery complex:

  1. Land for the construction of churches and land of the monks in Sukhumi district was allocated by decree of Emperor Alexander III of Russia. The tsar participated in the laying of the stone on the site and commissioned the architect N. N. Nikonov to carry out the project.
  2. On the tower of the complex there is a clock presented by Emperor Alexander III. A steam locomotive was allocated for the needs of the monastic brethren, and a railroad was laid on the territory.
  3. According to legend, the settlement was saved from Arab attack by an appeal to the icon of the Mother of God of the church of the same name.
  4. The Sinner’s Path is a facility within the monastery. In modern times, the site is recognized as a historical landmark and is protected. It is believed that after walking the trail, pilgrims are absolved of their trespasses.

There are many other noteworthy historical facts about this structure, which is surrounded by an atmosphere of antiquity and spiritual sanctity.

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