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N. Drandakis, Notes concerning the masonry and architecture of byzantine churches of Mesa. Mani.

The following notes refer to ten churches.

1. Agios Theodoros at the village Babakas, accurarely dated 1075, a domed cross-in-square church. The masonry is cloisonne at the upper 1/3 of the height of the walls, which were also decorated with letters of the alphabet. The two-light window of the northern drum also bears quadrant-shaped bricks with built-in plates. The octagonal cupola is now without windows. Poros stones are vertically built in the angles of the cupola's sides. All three apses of the Bema are three-sided. The church's columns are octagonal. The built screen and the bellfry are later additions.

gklezou_agpetros01.JPG (49067 bytes)2. Agios Petros at Glezos. located a few kilometers away from Pyrgos Dirou, a domed cross-shaped church, dated around 1025. It is built of rubble stone and marble and at its upper half with a less accurate system of cloisonne masonry. The east and west sides of the cupola are longer than the other two. At the inside of the church, the pendentives are angular. On the west wall, above the door, there is a horse-shoe arch. The church still bears traces of wall-paintings.

gklezou_tax01.JPG (38410 bytes)3. Taxiarches Glezou, a domed cross-in-square distyle church with narthex, referred to as Saint Marina by earlier scholars. The masonry is cloisonne. At the lower part of the north side, gray marble stones form two crosses. The apses are three-sided; the central apse's window is double and above it there are two successive saw-tooth lintels. The cupola also bears blind windows with built-in plates. A saw-tooth cornice probably existed only under the roof of the cross. At the inside of the church, Christ Pantokrator is preserved in the dome and an insciption is extant in the Prothesis. Later additions include the northern rectangular window, the butresses of the south wall, the facade of the narthex, its southern side, part of the north side and the bellfry.

fragkoulia_aipetrakis.JPG (46981 bytes)4. Ai-Petrakis, a small single-aisled vaulted church on the road leading from Faneromeni Monastery towards Paliochora, built with plenty of large stones, possibly of 13th century date. The wall-paintings are of a much later date.

agiavarvara_erimos1.JPG (36436 bytes)5. Agia Barbara at the village Erimos, a cross-in-square domed distyle church with narthex, whose central bay forms a continuation of the cross's west arm. The double-zone capitals are of middle byzantine date, imitating early Christian models. At the altarís foot there are popular carvings. Above the door there is a horse-shoe relieving arch. On the facade, a horizontal saw-tooth lintel and frieze comprising ceramic unglazed tiles. In the walls, built-in plates. In each corner of the east wall one vertical marble stone is placed. The central apse is decorated with a maeander and frieze comprising ceramic tiles. The cupola has eight sides. At the angles, colonettes, cloisonne masonry. The monument has been dated 1150 by Megaw.

sotiras_gard02.jpg (45020 bytes)6. Sotera Gardenitsas, a cross-in-square domed distyle church. The masonry consists of smoothened stones. The walls are decorated with more than one saw-tooth lintels. At the lower part of the north side slabs form three Ts. The cloisonne masonry is not precise. Saw-tooth cornices also existed under the roofs. The walls are also decorated with letters of the alphabet. The octagonal cupola rests on a drum which is supported by 4 recessed niches. The arches of each side of the cupola are emphasized with a triple layer of bricks, whereas horizontal bricks above the colonettes are used as capitals. Apart from bricks, pieces of marble have also been used. The central apse also bears kufic-like brickwork, unique in Mani. Megaw dates the church tp 1050 approximately and the porch to the first quarter of the 12th century. The church also preserves remains of late byzantine wall-paintings.

7. The church of Sergios and Bacchos at Koita, a byzantine cross-in-square domed tetrastyle church without narthex, probably built in the first quarter of the 12th century. On the east side the system of cloisonne masonry has not been executed with precision. In the central apse there are zones of saw-tooth lintel and at a higher level a frieze consisting of unglazed lozenge-shaped tiles. An identical frieze is also found on the north side. Marble stones near ground level form three crosses alternating with two Ts. On each side of the door there are narrow rows of Z-shaped motifs and on the left marble stones forming the letter T. Moreover, on the north side upright marble stones. At the angles of the octagonal cupola built of standard cloisonne masonry, marble pseudo-colonettes.

8. Saint Nicholas of Ochia (near the middle of the 12th century), a distyle domed church of the helladic type. Here also the central bay of the narthex is a continuation of the eastern arm of the cross. In the Northwestern part of the church a four-storey bellfry was added in 1861. On each side of the doorway's relieving arch there is a frieze comprising bricks forming a triple maeander. On the west side of the church marble stones were also used. Later additions also exist. Band-like pseudo-colonettes are incorporated at the angles of the octagonal cupola.

diporo_strat04.JPG (76815 bytes)9. Ai-Strategos Boularion, a domed cross-in-square distyle church (first half or beginning of the 11th century). The first course of poros stone on the South wall starts from the level of the window sill. No bricks have been used throughout the building. Under the roof, traces of a saw-tooth cornice are visible. This means that the church's roof was paved with tiles and not with the slabs which are now visible.

The dome does not have pseudo-colonettes at the angles. The dome's sides are of unequal length. The pendentives of the later porch, an addition of the 12th century, are more regularly constructed than the pendentives of the naos.

10. Asomatos of Kako Vouno, located 1,5 h away from Koita, is built on the mountain. It is a cross-in-square domed, tetrastyle church with vaulted porch. The interesting feature of its masonry is the articulation of the cupola's surface with ribs. The ribs and the porch are attributed to georgian influences, according to prof. N. Ghioles The church, built of slab-like stones and clay, is in ruins. The three apses are semi-circular and the cupola is octagonal. Remains of a saw -tooth lintel are extant. The church probably dates from the 1st quarter of the 11th century.


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