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25/10/2007

Geraki Castle

Prefectural Administration of Lakonia


Geraki Castle

Geraki Castle was built by Baron Guy de Nivellet in 1249, during the Frankish period in Laconia. It is located a short distance from todays Geraki, on a hill of Parnon that stands tall on the field as far as the sea, and is a link in the chain between the castle of Mystras and Monemvasia. After the battle of Pelagonia (1259), the imprisonment of William de Villehardouin by John Palaiologos and the liberation of de Villehardouin, the Franks were forced to hand over Geraki Castle (1262) along with the castles of Mystras, Monemvasia and Maini to the Byzantines. Even if the Frankish occupation was brief, the de Nivellet family left important traces. The churches existing today are full of offerings by the French barons. There also survive fortress works and small towers on one edge of the crest of the hill, which look over the plane as far as the distant Laconian gulf. After the Franks, this hill slope was inhabited, without the lower city being abandoned. This is testified to by the many churches (approximately eight in number) and the ruins of the houses.

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