Medieval City & Monastery

We had landed at Geraki by accident while searching for a parking for the night. But the historic castle and city was a great experience. Afterwards we drove through the mountains again and visited the Monastery of Elona in the Defnon valley.

Incredible frescos at Geraki 

We had parked directly at the gate of Geraki castle for the night, which was a bit of a challenge, as the parking was quite uneven. The next morning, the gates were opened and we could visit the archaeological site. The nice lady who was in charge opened the churches for us and gave us some explanation on the frescos.
Medieval city of Geraki

The castle of Geraki was once one of the most important Frankish castles of the Peloponnese, but the remains must have been in bad shape. During the last years it had been slightly renovated and gives now a good impression of how this Frankish castle and town once have looked like. At three churches the frescos had been restored and are very colourful again.

The Barony of Geraki was established 1209, after the conquest of the Peloponnese by the Crusaders. It had six knight’s fiefs attached to it and was given to French Guy of Nivelet, who built the fortress of Geraki.
Churches being opened for us
Walls of the castle, overlooking a vast area
Beautiful entrance to one of the churches
Column at the medieval church
Restored fresco showing Jesus in front of the cross
Small entrance to the church 
View down to modern Geraki
Parking for the night
Driving up into the mountains again

We had stopped at Kosmas, a village in the mountains, for lunch at this restaurant.  As usual, the main road leads directly through the centre of the village, past the church and its surrounding restaurants.
As also trucks have to take this route, we assumed that we will fit through as well, but sometimes it just feels too narrow, especially with oncoming traffic.

Heather in flower

On our descent into the spectacular Dafnon valley, we stopped at the monastery of Elona, which seams to be clued to the rock.

Roadside chapel
Monastery church
Monastery of Elona built into the cliff

The history of the monastery begins in 1300. Shepherds saw a light in an inaccessible part of the cliff. This light, according to the legend, emanated from an oil lamp lit in front of an icon of St. Panagia. The bishop commissioned two hermits from the area to settle at the site, where they then built a small monastery with two cells. The present buildings are from the beginning of the 19th century and the nunnery is inhabited by 4 nuns. In 2006 the historic icon of the Panagia was stolen but could be retrieved by the police. The original icon is only presented during the consecration festival in August.

View from the valley at Elona monastery

In front of the entrance to the monastery 2 nice ladies sold honey, nuts, mountain tee, soap, pickled onions and much more. We managed to leave with a big bag of walnuts, some sweets, a jar of honey and a bag of mountain tee, which we got as a present!

Many kinds of honey to choose from
Driving down the Defnon valley
Beautiful goats blocking the road
Road through the valley
Finally, we reached the coast at Leonidi

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