Koimesis tes Theotokou-Merbaka

Department Archive
Collection Byzantine Research Fund
Reference No. BRF/01/01/12/003
Level Item
Place Ayia Triada Merbakas
Dates 1907-1908?
Creator Harvey, Mr William
Scope and Content Longitudinal section (upper half) - Ground plan (lower half). This is a preliminary drawing. It is entitled in pencil:'Argolis: Merbaka Church of the 'Panagia'. It is numbered (no 1) in pencil in the upper right-hand corner. It is labelled in pencil: 'Longitudinal Section' and 'A Plan of the Churc'. Further annotation in pencil survives.
Further information The church of Merbaka, which was dedicated to the Dormition (Koimesis) of the Theotokos, lies in the middle of the Argive plain. The impressive monument stands on a three-stepped crepidome. It is a tetrastyle inscribed cross-in square church with dome. The exterior of the building is very richly ornamented. The lower part of the walls, up to the lever of the lintel, displays a solid almost pseudo-isodomic stone masonry. Regular cloisonné has been used for the rest of the walling. Two dentil courses and a meander frieze surround the church. The central apse is crowned by two parallel rows of meander. The east walling is decorated with a cut-brick frieze of disepsilon patterns/motives.

The dome and the exterior decoration of the church bear strong similarities with the Hagia Moni Naupliou (1143). However, the monument contains a wealth of Gothic details such as the oak-leaf capitals that decorate the columns of the three-light sanctuary window, the jamb molds on the arches of the porches that once existed in front of the entrances, the crochet capitals in the dome. Noteworthy in the monument is also the absence of white marble and the use instead of carved poros stone for all sculptured architectural elements. The date of the Merbaka church is much disputed. Research in the many glazed bowls that decorate the façades indicate that the it belongs to the late 13th c. The church is now dedicated to the Holy Trinity (Hagia Triada).