Karyes, the capital of Mount Athos is the administrative centre of the monastic republic of Mount Athos, Karyes is situated in a forest of walnut and hazel in the middle of the peninsula at an altitude of 370 m.
It is home to the representatives of the monasteries and to those who trade in ecclesiastical objects and forest products of Mount Athos. The Protos, or spiritual leader of the monasteries, is chosen for life from among the body of abbots of the Athos monasteries. The Holy Community is responsible for administrative matters common to the monasteries. In civil matters the community is subordinate to the foreign office of Greece, represented at Karyes by a civil governor.
The 2001 Greek census reported a population of 233 inhabitants, being this the largest settlement in Mount Athos.
Tradition relates that Karyes was built by Constantine the Great, but destroyed by Julian the Transgressor.