Sightseeings :: Sightseeings 2
The holy church of Agios Germanos was built at the beginning of the 11th century and was dedicated to the memory of Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople, who was deposed during the first iconoclasm and, according to 11th century written evidence, was adopted as the area¢s local saint. It is possible that it operated as the See of the Bishop of Prespa, after the basilica of Agios Achilleios was abandoned in the early 15th century. In 1882 a new larger three-aisled church was built, dedicated to the same saint and attached to the west wall of the Byzantine church. The church celebrates its saint¢s name day on 12th May, and according to local tradition it holds the relics of Saint Germanos in its northern transept.
Architecturally it is a classic example of a transitional cross-inscribed church with a narthex. Its dome has a cylindrical drum and is supported by four pillars, while on its east side the church terminates in three semi-circular apses. Access to the church is from two entrances. The western entrance leads from the narthex to the sanctuary of the newer church, whilst the original southern entrance was closed up in 1743 and was replaced by a second one opened up just to the west of it. The windows are few and small and are restricted to the transepts (two), dome (four) and the sanctuary apse (one). The masonry of the church, which was uncovered in 1998, is comprised of layers of brick alternating with layers of stone, while in between these are clay tiles set vertically in the mortar. These stylistic elements, in combination with the plan of the church and the shape of the dome, are consistent with monuments from the beginning of the 11th century and possibly the period during which Basil II recovered the area from Bulgarian rule.Two founding inscriptions on the outside of the church, which were installed during its renovation in 1743, inform us about the church¢s different building phases and history. The 8th century is given as the period during which the church was built, while the second phase of frescoes is said to date from 1006; chronologies that have since been shown to be inaccurate. The year of the church¢s restoration, 1743, is substantiated both by the architectural modifications and the frescoes.
An excavation of the floor of the church, which was carried out in 1997, revealed simple open graves in the greater part of the narthex, the main church and the deaconry, probably belonging to the church¢s ecclesiastical staff during the last years of the Ottoman occupation.