The capital of Mount Athos is situated in the middle of the peninsula and is the seat of the First. In Karyes reside the representatives of nineteen out of twenty monasteries, in buildings called Konakia.
The central Church of Karyes is the Holy Church of Protaton, which honors the memory of the Assumption. The frescoes are the work of Emmanuel Panselinos, the major representative of the Macedonian Painting School.
There is also the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary, Axion Estin. The image is so called because archangel Gabriel chanted the homonymous famous hymn in front of it. Monk Seraphim, who excelled in virtue, wisdom, learning and indigence, wrote the story of the icon in 1548.
Next to the Temple of Protaton dominates the Tower, and also the Athoniada Academy, the Administration of Mount Athos and the various authorities and services buildings such as the Police, the sanatorium, the post office, the bakery, shops with religious items, and the monks’ cells.