The monasteries of Mount Athos are 20 in number. They are large complex buildings surrounded by a strong wall with the main features of a Tower with its battlements and machicolations that helped monks to keep the pirates and conquerors away, especially for monasteries by the seaside.
The Athonic sketes are small monasteries that belong to the Dominant Monasteries. They can be organized communities formed by many monastic cabins.
Αpart from Monasteries and Sketes, several Cells are scattered on Mount Athos, as well as Cabins, Seats and finally Retreats and Ascetics.