Karyes is the capital of Agio Oros, from the 10th century onwards. Today, it has about 260 inhabitants; it stands at an altitude of 233 meters. As attested by the sigil of Emperor Leon VI Sophos, Karyes stood near the Xerxes Canal. Its previous name was “Mesi” (Middle) because it is located in the middle of the Athos peninsula.
Nineteen of the twenty monasteries on Mount Athos, with the exception of Koutloumousiou which is 5 minutes from Karyes, have representatives here who stay in buildings called “konakia”. The representatives convene whenever it is deemed necessary to resolve issues pertaining to the Agio Oros community.
Also 5 minutes from Karyes is the Skete of Agios Andreas.
The most important structure in Karyes is the Protato church, which is dedicated to the Assumption of Theotokos and is the oldest in Agio Oros.
Also in Karyes is the administration building, post office, health center, police precinct, fire department, and telecommunications office. There are also several stores selling ecclesiastical items, bakeries, a pharmacy, restaurants, a hotel, bank branch, bookstore, and taxi dispatch center. Finaly, the ecclesiastic high school of the Athonite School is in Karyes.