In Gerakas, on the eastern coast of Laconia, on a hill above the port, the walls of the ancient city and the citadel of Zarakas are preserved at a great height.
The use of the area as a fortification is continuous and reaches up to Byzantine times as evidenced by the ruins that have been preserved.
The entrance to the acropolis is through a fairly well-preserved gate, an excellent example of the fortification technique of the Hellenistic times. Remains of Roman times are also visible high up in the space between the two defensive walls.
The line of the outer fortified enclosure is preserved on the north and west sides of the archaeological site. The defense of the wall was reinforced by at least eight towers, rectangular or square in plan, while in some places traces of later repairs are visible. The acropolis was built on the eastern side of the area defined by the outer fortified enclosure. This last refuge in times of great danger, but also a possible place for the garrison to live, was surrounded on the north and west sides by a wall built in an irregular polygonal way, while the eastern steep slope naturally protected the acropolis.
The entrance to the interior of the citadel was through an impressive surviving strong gate in the north-west corner of its wall, the defense of which was reinforced by a solid, circular in plan, tower. The entrance passage, which can be dated to the years after 272 BC, has the form of a narrow corridor, 1 m wide, which proceeds towards the north and then bends towards the east. This narrow passage must have been blocked in cases of danger with wooden, non-permanent doors in two places. In the event of an attack, even if the first door was breached, the enemies encountered a second door down the narrow corridor and in total darkness.
During the time of the traveler Pausanias in the 2nd c. AD X. the only important building in the area of Zarakas was a temple of Apollo with the cult statue in the type of Apollo the guitar player. The remains of this temple have not been located.
Remains of later buildings are visible today in the space within the walls. Particularly impressive is a vaulted building from Roman times, the walls of which are built with a mixed technique and are preserved to a great height. The type of building and its exact dating have not yet been determined since no excavation research has yet been carried out at the site. In the area of the acropolis are also visible the remains of a three-aisled basilica that was built during the Christian years and which has also not been excavated.
The visitor to the hill easily accessible from the west, where the remains of Zarakas are preserved, is immediately impressed by the preservation of the fortifications of the Hellenistic era that were intended to protect the city. The visible remains of later times indicate the use of the site during the Roman and Byzantine eras.
Source: MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND SPORTS