Castles in Mainland

Castles in Mainland

Byzantine and Medieval Greece

They stand imposing, proud and carry … on their backs the stories of centuries. If they were able to speak, they would certainly have a lot to say. Castles in Mainland Greece are unique historical monuments.

It is estimated that across the country there are over 600 castles, fortresses and towers of differential rhythms. So each county, each region has its own castle, its own trademark.

The castles of Greece are not just a part of the distant past, fortresses that lived in glorious moments only in the Middle Ages, so that after the end of it, they will be silenced, as is the case in almost every other European country. Instead, they have occupied international European politics and a war scene many times in recent history.

A great part of Greek history has unfolded in Mainland Greece. Citadels, temples, castles, Ancient walls,  drainage ditches, aqueducts, theatres, tombs, monuments, settlements and cities are found everywhere. Over the years, Mainland Greece has been vigorously fortified and now there are more than 215 castles, towers and monasteries-fortresses whose history dates back to antiquity. Most important and best preserved castles are Nafpaktos, Vonitsa, Lamia, Livadia, Chalkida, Karystos, Kythira and the Acropolis of Athens.

A great number of monuments dating from the Roman and later the Byzantine empire attract thousands of pilgrims and tourists. The majority of the castles found in almost every town of Mainland Greece date back to the era of the Frankish occupation.

As the Ottoman Empire prevailed, Mainland Greece became the base of operations for the fighters of the Greek resistance and revolution.

Castle Walls Citadel Mystras
Ioannina Castle
Ouranoupolis Tower
Ouranoupolis Tower
Parga Castle
Patras castle
Walls of Thessaloniki
White Tower of Thessaloniki

Fortification settlements around the castles

Booking.com

With a Venetian or Frankish castle center, the settlements grow peripherally in rings, with houses joined together to create a second wall that can protect them from simple pirates attacks.

Examples of such settlements are found in Astypalea, Patmos, Molyvos, Mytilini, Amorgos, Lindos, Rhodes, Skyros.

The defensive system of the fortifications is based on the stifling construction, with the houses next to each other creating the same firewall. The entrance to the settlement is made of large gates, which, in a period of danger, ensure protection. Such settlement is of Serifos, the Castle of Sifnos and Ano Syra. The castle of Naxos Town is one of the rare cases where an engineering design accurately determined the relation of the wall with the mansions and the houses, so that a fortified settlement could be created by them to establish the Venetian Duchy, the seat of all the Cyclades. The work of the first governor of the Duchy, Markos Sanoudos (1207), the castle, built on temple ruins, protected the Venetian colony from the pirates, raiders and the hostility of the locals.

Booking.com
Rhodes Island-Ρόδος-Isola di Rodi-罗得岛-ロードス島-Rodosz szigetén-Insel Rhodos-Wyspa Rodos-Ilha de Rodes-Insula Rhodos-Остров Родос-Родос-Родос-Rodos Adası-L'île de Rhodes-रोड्स द्वीप-Isla de Rodas
Play Video

Mainland Greece

Point for More

Mainland Greece

Click Here

Greek Food

Point for More

Greek Food

Click Here

Meteora

Point for More

Meteora

Click Here

Macedonia

Point for More

Macedonia

Click Here

Facts about Greece

Point for More

Facts about Greece

Click Here

Below are some of the most impressive castles in Mainland Greece you can admire

Central

Trikala - Τρίκαλα

Point for More
The Trikala Castle is the Byzantine-era citadel of the city of Trikala. The castle was first built by Emperor Justinian I (527–565 AD) on the ruins of the acropolis of the ancient city of Trikke. The citadel suffered much damage during its conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1393/4.
Direction

Ioannina - Ιωάννινα

Point for More
The Ioannina Castle is the fortified old town of the city of Ioannina in northwestern Greece. The present fortification dates largely to the reconstruction under Ali Pasha in the late Ottoman period, but incorporates also pre-existing Byzantine and ancient Greek elements. Early 21st-century excavations furthermore have brought to light fortifications dating to the Hellenistic period (4th–3rd centuries BC), the course of which was largely followed by later reconstruction of the fortress in the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
Direction

Pelion Tower at Ano Lechonia

The largest of all the stone buildings, which serve as points of reference for the locals, are the Pelion Towers. These are huge 300-year-old buildings with exquisite visual characteristics that combine building elements of Mountain Pelion of the 17th century.
Direction

Artα - Άρτα

Point for More
The town's fortifications were built by Michael I Komnenos Doukas in the early 13th century. The Castle was built on the ruins of the walls that protected ancient Amvrakia. Secular architecture from the Byzantine period, including the palace of the Despots of Epirus, has vanished completely, but the city preserves numerous churches.
Direction

Mount

Xenophontos - Ξενοφώντος

Point for More
Xenophontos monastery is an Orthodox Christian monastery in the monastic state of Mount Athos. It was built in the tenth or eleventh century. The monastery is dedicated to St George and has 11 chapels inside and 6 outside. The main church was built just prior to the Greek Revolution of 1821 and is in the neo-classical style. It is perhaps the largest on Mt Athos and has perfect acoustics.
Direction

Simonopetra - Σιμόνοπετρα

Point for More
The monastery was founded during the 13th century by Simon the Athonite, who was later sanctified by the Eastern Orthodox Church as Saint Simon the Myrrh-bearer. Tradition holds that Simon, while dwelling in a nearby cave, saw a dream in which the Theotokos instructed him to build a monastery on top of the rock, promising him that she would protect and provide for him and the monastery. In 1364, the Serbian despot Jovan Uglješa funded the renovation and expansion of the monastery.
Direction

Macedonia &

White Tower - Λευκός Πύργος

Point for More
The present tower replaced an old Byzantine fortification, known to have been mentioned around the 12th century, that the Ottoman Empire reconstructed to fortify the city's harbour after Sultan Murad II captured Thessaloniki in 1430. The tower became a notorious prison and scene of mass executions during the period of Ottoman rule.
Direction

Thessaloniki Walls - Τα τείχη στη Θεσσαλονίκη

Point for More
The Walls of Thessaloniki are the city walls surrounding the city of Thessaloniki during the Middle Ages and until the late 19th century, when large parts of the walls, including the entire seaward section, were demolished as part of the Ottoman authorities' restructuring of Thessaloniki's urban fabric. The city was fortified from its establishment in the late 4th century but the present walls date from the early Byzantine period, 390 AD, and incorporate parts of an earlier, late 3rd-century wall.
Direction

Heptapyrgion - Ἑπταπύργιον

Point for More
The Heptapyrgion is a Byzantine and Ottoman-era fortress situated on the north-eastern corner of the acropolis of Thessaloniki in Greece. It served as the major redoubt of the city's acropolis, as well as the seat of its garrison commander in Ottoman times, until the late 19th century. It was then converted to a prison.
Direction

Ouranopolis - Ουρανόπολις

Point for More
The tower belonged to the monastery of Vatopedi. The tower is known to have existed already in 1344, but appears to have been older than this. In May 1379, King of Thessaloniki, John Palaeologos, was hosted at the tower and during his stay there granted it exemption from taxes. It must have suffered considerable damage from the earthquake of 1585 and, probably, received extensive repairs.
Direction

Larissa - Λάρισα

Point for More
Larisa is the ancient and medieval acropolis of Argos, located on a high rocky hill, within the town's boundaries. According to Strabo, it is named for a group of Pelasgians. The summit is occupied by the ruins of a Byzantine-Venetian castle. The site was fortified and in continuous use for nineteen centuries. In Mycenean times, the principal settlement and temple were on the Aspis hill, to the north of Larisa. The Byzantines founded a new castle there in the 12th century. In 1212, it was captured by the Crusader Geoffrey of Villehardouin. It was surrended to the Duke of Athens, Otto de la Roche, in exchange for military assistance, becoming one of the chief fortresses of the Lordship of Argos and Nauplia.
Direction

Kavala castle - Καβάλα

Point for More
The castle of Kavala dominates the top of the peninsula where the old town is built. During the Byzantine period and later, there were repeated reconstructions and interventions in its fortification by the Byzantines, the Venetians and the Turks. The castle (acropolis) in its present form was built in the first quarter of the 15th century, based on the foundation of the Byzantine period.
Direction

Nea Peramos

Point for More
The castle is located at the bay of Eleutherai, to the west of Kavala, which was an important harbour during the Byzantine period. Anaktoroupolis first appeared in the 9th century as an episcopal see and actually succeeded ancient Oisyme.
Direction

Didymoteicho - Διδυμότειχο

Point for More
The Castle of Didimotiho is located on top of the hill and is one of the most important castles in the Balkans. It has been an important landmark since ancient times due to its geostrategic position. There are 24 towers and post-Byzantine temples in the Castle today. In some towers there are monograms of Byzantine aristocrats and decorative motifs.
Direction

Anaktotopolis

Point for More

Castle of Samothraki

Point for More

Acropolis of Filippi

Point for More
Ancient Filippi is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. The Acropolis of Filippi is on a hill above the main site. Its is an ancient acropolis dated back to 4th century BC. It has passed several construction phases, one of them being the Byzantine fortification of the 10th century, some remains of which are still visible today.
Direction

Kavala aqueduct

Point for More
The Kavala aqueduct, popularly known as the Kamares is a well-preserved aqueduct in the city of Kavala. While the aqueduct is "probably of Roman origin", the present structure dates to the 16th century. A Byzantine barrier wall of the early 14th century, built as part of the fortifications on the Kavala acropolis, probably also functioned as an aqueduct.
Direction

Polystylon

Point for More
The place is the continuation of the important ancient city of Avdira (or Abdera, where Democritus was born) which during the Byzantine period was named Polystylon
Direction

Fokea Tower - Πύργος Φώκαιας

Point for More
A Byzantine tower protecting the dependency of the monastery of Agios Pavlos of Athos mountain. It is the only of the numerous monastic towers in Chalkidiki that is preserved in its original height. In 1407, the Byzantine emperor Ioannis Paleologus donated the territory to the monastery of Agios Pavlos. The tower must have been built a little later.
Direction

Laskara - Λάσκαρα

Point for More

West

Nafpaktos Castle

Point for More
In Greek legend, Naupactus is the place where the Heraclidae built a fleet to invade the Peloponnese. In historical times it belonged to the Ozolian Locrians; but about 455 BC, in spite of a partial resettlement with Locrians of Opus, it fell to the Athenians, who peopled it with Messenian refugees and made it their chief naval station in western Greece during the Peloponnesian war. Two major battles were fought here. In 404 it was restored to the Locrians, who subsequently lost it to the Achaeans, but recovered it.
Direction

Grivas Castle

Point for More
The castle was built in 1806 by Ali Pasha. The objective was to facilitate Ali’s attack against the island of Lefkas. The plans of Ali were canceled in 1807, when the French occupied the Ionian islands, after a treaty with the Russians.
Direction

Antirrio Fortress

Point for More
Antirrio played an important role in the Byzantine and post Byzantine era due to its strategic position. Antirrio followed Nafpaktos’ fate, when it was surrendered in 1499 during the first year of the Venetian Turkish war.
Direction

Parga Castle

Point for More
The Castle is found on the top of a hill overlooking the town and was used to protect the town from invasions from the mainland and the sea. It was initially built in the 11th century by the residents of Parga to protect their town from pirates and the Ottomans. In the 13th century, as their control of the region increased, the Venetians rebuilt the castle to fortify the area. In 1452, Parga and the castle were occupied by the Ottomans for two years; part of the castle was demolished at that time. In 1537, Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa burned and destroyed the fortress and the houses within.
Direction

Karababa - Καράμπαμπα

Point for More
The site of the fortress is identified by some scholars with ancient Kanethos as scanty remains of buildings and graves are preserved on its surface. The hill was probably fortified in the Roman period but it was certainly not fortified in the Byzantine, the Venetian and the early period of the Turkish occupation. The castle was built by the Turks in 1684 in order to protect Chalkis from the Venetians.
Direction

Acropolis - Ακρόπολη

Point for More
The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on an extremely rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. it was Pericles (c. 495 – 429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site's most important buildings including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike.
Direction

Markellos - Μαρκελλος

Point for More
A Venetian tower built sometime around the end of the 17th century. In 1802, it was renovated by Spyridon Markellos, a fighter, later, of the Greek Revolution and member of the Filiki society.
Direction

Tower of the Winds - Πύργο των Ανέμων

Point for More
The Tower of the Winds or the Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes is an octagonal Pentelic marble clocktower in the Roman Agora in Athens that functioned as a horologion or "timepiece". It is considered the world's first meteorological station.The structure features a combination of sundials, a water clock, and a wind vane. It was supposedly built by Andronicus of Cyrrhus around 50 BC, but according to other sources, might have been constructed in the 2nd century BC before the rest of the forum.
Direction

Ancient Greek archaeological sites in Crete

Close Menu
Close Panel