Monastic architecture in Macedonia is represented in its most complete form on Mount Athos. The basic buildings of a monastery are the katholikon, the side chapels, the refectory, the cells, the towers and ancilliary structures.
The earliest church on Mount Athos, the Protaton at Karyes (10th century) was built as a three-aisled basilica. The katholikon of the Great Lavra, founded in 963 by Saint Athanasios the Athonite, was a cruciform church with dome. Around 1000, however, it was remodelled by him with the addition of two lateral conches; this type was subsequently known as "Athonite" and was henceforth to prevail in the building of katholika.