10 emblematic castles of Greece that will take you back in time

1. Acrocorinth, Corinth

On a rocky hill at 574m, Acrocorinth was the oldest fortified Acropolis of ancient and medieval Corinth, controlling the only entrance from mainland Greece to the Peloponnese and traffic between the Corinthian and Saronic Gulfs. The largest castle in Greece, an impregnable fortress from the 6th century BC to 1821, it will seduce you. The entrance to the castle is on the west side, invisible from the city, to which an uphill lane leads. In front of the gate in the Middle Ages there was a large defensive moat, over which a drawbridge was carried. Today there are ruins of older towers and buildings within the area.

2. Methoni Castle, Messinia

In this prefecture, where nature has generously donated its beauty, in the 13th century the Venetians founded one of the largest castles in Greece on top of Byzantine and ancient fortifications. A bridge with 14 arches, an impressive gate, bastions and walls, winged lions, Morosini’s column and the temple of the Transfiguration are just some of the scenery that will impress you.

3. Koroni Castle, Messinia

In the coastal town of western Messinia, where nature rages with beauty, is the Venetian Castle of Koroni, which was built in the 13th century. During the uphill route you will experience a journey through the centuries, between the parts of the Byzantine castle that existed before and also of the ancient fortification. The narrow cobblestones lead to the central gate of the castle, on the north side, where the entire settlement was gathered, in order to protect itself from the raids of the conquerors and pirates. Inside it are preserved, among other things, houses, carved tombs, the churches of Agia Sophia (Byzantine church of the 12th century) and Agios Charalambos as well as the modern old calendar monastery of Agios Ioannis Prodromos. From the top of the castle you will see the entire Messinian gulf spread out before your eyes and in the background the peaks of Taygetos. If you approach the castle from the south side towards Zaga-Memi beach, you will find yourself in one of the biggest pilgrimages of Messinia, Panagia Eleistra (patroness of Koroni).

4. Mystras, Laconia

Where space and time transform into beauty, a legendary castle-state was the most important administrative center of Byzantium after the fall of Constantinople, with a population of up to 20,000 inhabitants. Today it remains one of the largest Byzantine monuments in Greece and is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The Castle of Mystras was erected during the Frankish occupation, in 1249, later came under the control of the Byzantine Despot of Moreos and continued to be used during the Ottoman period.

5. Bourtzi, Nafplion

In the first capital of the Greek state, in the cradle of natural beauty, the Venetian architecture and the coastal walls with bastions are the star. The Venetian sea castle was built in 1473, it functioned as a fortress until 1865, then it was a place of residence for the executioners who executed the death row inmates of Palamidi, while in 1935 it was turned into a hotel. During your trip to the area, don’t miss the climb to Palamidi with its 857 steps (999 according to legend), in order to enjoy the unimaginable view, but also a visit to Syntagma Square, where the chieftains made their plans during the years of the Revolution. There you will also see the Parliament, the first Parliament of the Greeks.

6. Platamonas Castle, Pieria

In the area, where the gods chose for their home and endowed it with wine, you will find, among other things, a captivating castle, built in a natural fortified position from the middle Byzantine era (10th -11th century), which it stands today well preserved. Inside it are preserved ruins of two early Christian basilicas and its octagonal tower.

7. Castle of Ioannina

In the heart of Ioannina you will find the majesty of medieval magic, the oldest Byzantine castle in Greece, dating from 528 AD, which encloses within its walls a wonderful state where the administrative center of the whole of Greece was set up in era of Ali Pasha. Passing through the great stone gate, you will step into a medieval fairy tale, finding yourself among cobbled alleys, colored shutters and museums.

8. Kavala Castle

Kavala was fortified from the 5th century BC with a defensive enclosure that covered the city on all sides. At the top of the city’s strategic hill, there has always been the castle, a trademark of Kavala, which has undergone successive reconstructions and interventions. From ancient Neapolis, the administrative center of the city was already there, since from the great tower there was an unobstructed view in all directions. At the top of the peninsula of Panagia, therefore, dominates the Acropolis of Kavala, which succeeded the Byzantine Acropolis of Christoupolis (the former name of Kavala).

9. Fortezza, Rethymnon

On the mega-island with universal beauty, among other things it is worth visiting the Venetian Fortress of Fortezza, which stands proudly on the hill of Paleokastro. It houses in its heart the cathedral of Agios Nikolaos, artillery depots, ramparts, the church of Agia Ekaterini, the Rector’s house, the spikes of the wall and the Erofilis Municipal Theatre.

10. Castle-town of Rhodes

On the island of the Knights, in the jumble of cultures, its medieval city has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. There you will find the Byzantine castle, unscathed over time, which separates the old town from the new. The walls of the citadel were built by the Knights of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (Ioanninites Knights), who reinforced the pre-existing Byzantine fortification, creating a unique fortified architecture. They have eleven imposing gates as well as impressive towers, bridges and tombs.



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