Castles/Forts in Crete


Also known by the Greek words for "new castle", ‘Kainourio Kastelli’, can be found on the Mesara Plain, close to the Minoan "palace" of Phaistos.
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Dotting the Gramvousa peninsula is this remarkable Venetian fortress, once home to pirates and one of the very last places to be conquered by the Turkish invaders.
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Built upon the Saracen site of rabdh-el-Khandak (fortress of the moat), and a later Byzantine castle, this walled city’s fortifications stretched for some three 3Kms. Four gates allowed people access, or kept them out.
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Like Siteia castle, the fortifications here were originally set in place by Enrico Pescatore, in the early part of the 13th century, though almost everything visible nowadays is Venetian, or in the case of the garrison, Turkish.
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This is one of Crete’s Genoese built castle (there are 15 of them, in all), though the name, often associated with the Genoese castle Benifacio in Corsica.
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Situated on the road to Aghia Pelaghia, a few Kms northwest of Herakleion, and a short distance from the charming village of Rogdia, the name means "old castle" and this is one of several so-named castles on the island.
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The castle at Profitis Ilias (also known as Roka) dates backs to the early part of the second Byzantine period, i.e. shortly after 961 AD.
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The castle of Siteia is mostly in ruins now, with the exception of a double-storied tower, with round look out points. It is well worth visiting, however, and lies on a hill looking over the pleasant seaside town of the same name.
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Spinalonga, was connected to the mainland peninsular of Kolokytha, until the Venetians cut a channel on its southern flank, creating the island we see today.
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Sitting stoically on the southern shores of Western Crete, Frangokastello is a remarkably well-preserved Venetian fortress built in the 14th century. It boasts four towers connected by its large stone walls with serried battlements. Check out the remnants of smaller rooms inside.
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Found at the southernmost point of Paleochora, there are now only remnants of the castle; a few walls are still barely intact, other stone wall divides and relics also on site.
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Built upon a rock, 35 metres in height, Charakas castle can be found some 50 Kms south-west of Herakleion, in the Mesara plain. Built during Venetian rule, one can still see the central buildings and tower, a well, and the attached church of Christou.
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