Geraki (Geronthrae)


Aghios Giorgios

The city of Geronthrae, mentioned by Pausanias, is located inland about 40 kilometers southeast of Sparta, near present-day Geraki. The walls of the acropolis are probably prehistoric and may even predate the Mycenaean period. Excavations on the acropolis have been carried out for 7 years by the University of Amsterdam in collaboration with the NIA (Netherlands Institute of Athens). Geraki-Geronthrai has been inhabited from prehistoric times until late in the Middle Ages, given the large number of Byzantine churches in the area. In the Frankish period Geraki was one of the 12 original baronies. The castle of Geraki was handed over to the Byzantines in 1262 as a ransom for William de Villehardouin. It was built by Guy de Nivelet in 1254. To visit the churches of Geraki ask for the phylaka in the village. Many have beautiful frescoes, as shown below.


1 Agios Johannis Chrysostomos, a small church consisting of a single room with an apse and frescoes from the 14th century. The huge blocks that serve as door jambs and sill are in fact ancient inscriptions. Above, from left to right: the church, the death of Mary, St. George, the death of Mary.


2 Evangelistria, a small church with beautiful frescoes from the second half of the 1st century, with a beautiful Pantokrator in the dome (left).


3 The Agios Athanasios, with only a few frescoes left


4 The Agii Theodori without frescoes


5 The Agios Nikolaos from the 13th century, with only a few frescoes.





The Kastro


1 The Agios Georgios in the citadel, with the coat of arms of Guy de Nivelet (not shown)


2 The Zoodochos Pigi, a very simple church consisting of a single room, with beautiful frescoes and a rich use of red and white from 1431. (above).


3 The Agia Paraskevi from the post-Byzantine period, with the (somewhat awkward) frescoes, among others, of the donors of the church.