The Church of St. George at Ierapetra
The most important church of the city is the metropolitan church of St. George, who is also the patron saint of Ierapetra due to his wonderworking interventions during the period of Turkish occupation. The church, which is also located in the historical centre of Kato (Lower) Mera, was built in the 19th century in place of an older church. This original church, as was recently discovered during excavation research, was single-nave with an orientation to the northwest-southeast and had two phases. Probably a building of the Venetian period it should be identified with the church of St. George in the homonymous neighbourhood which is mentioned in inventory catalogues of the 17th century. The present church, which was built in 1856 by the architect Chatzi-Manolis, belongs to the three-aisled domed plan in which the upper structure is built from bagdati, i.e., a wooden frame covered with mortar. In 1936 various extensive interpolations to the church took place, of which the most important was its expansion by 3.20 metres to the east. The church, relatively spacious, is particularly elaborate in individual elements, such as the fine-spun columns with the different capitals that may originate from ancient monuments of the city, but also in the monumentally structured doorframes and the decorative reliefs which were highlighted and conserved after its recent restoration by the local Metropolis that was completed in 2000.