Made by stone, anchored on hills or by the sea, restored or dilapidated, the castles of Greece have centuries of history to narrate. Castle-lovers and admirers of the magical world of past centuries this one is for you; here are some of the most unforgettable castles in Greek history!
The Castle of Monemvasia - Laconia
Castle of Monemvasia - credits: Nick-K/Shutterstock.com
Monemvasia, one of the most aetherial locations of Greece, hosts the castle that used to fortify the Medieval town of Moni Emvasis, which translates to 'sole entrance'. Built on a rock, with unique access from the shore through a narrow strip of land, it was inhabited by the Laconians in order to guard themselves against Arab invasions. The castle enjoyed centuries of glory until falling under Venetian and Turkis occupation in 1464 and 1715 accordingly. Today, the castle of Monemvasia is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region and one of the most beautiful sights in the country. Enjoy a walk around the scenic alleys of the castle during springtime to witness its stunning landscape in full bloom; an ideal destination if you seek peace and quiet!
Mystras - Lakonia
Mystras in Lakonia - credits: aktaion-resort.com
The fortified town and former municipality in Laconia, Mystras, is connected to the first fall of Constantinople in 1204. The end of the Byzantine period in the story of Mystras ends in 1460 with the surrender to the Turks. With the establishment of the modern city of Sparta by king Otto in 1834, begins the movement of Mystras' inhabitants to the new town, while the last inhabitants left the castle in 1953. Despite it now being in ruins, -although some buildings have been restored- Mystras Castle is a valuable source of knowledge of the history, art, and culture of the later Byzantine period and by far the most important Byzantine monument in Greece. From 1989, Mystras is on the list of World Heritage of Unesco.
The Castle of Methoni - Messinia
Castle of Methoni - credits: Constantinos Iliopoulos/Shutterstock.com
The most imposing castle in the Peloponnese was named after the Methoni Stone, according to ancient Greek traveler and geographer Pausanias. Ramparts, turrets, domes made of stone reliefs and an impressive stone bridge of 14 arches, make up for a picture of excellent Venetian architecture. The Castle of Methoni - stretching across about 93 acres - consists of two parts: To the south lies the city, surrounded by a simple wall with towers at regular intervals, while to the north, the most vulnerable part of the castle, the fort stands tall. The two sections are separated by an intermediate low wall reinforced with five towers. The now ruined interior, inside of which you will see the traces of Turkish conquerors, who during their rule, turned the church into a Hamam among other things, will definitely catch your eye. However, what you are going to be fascinated by is Bourtzi, the octagonal tower situated in a rocky islet on the south side of the castle, which was used as a prison and a place of torture in the past.
Palamidi - Nafplion - Argolis
Palamidi fortress in Nafplio - credits: Inu/Shutterstock.com
Located in the city of Nafplion, one of the most picturesque and romantic cities of Argolis and Greece in general, on a high and steep cliff 216 meters high in east Acronafplia, rises the impregnable castle of Palamidi. It was built in 1714, on older fortifications to serve the military and naval operations of the Venetians of the time and it was named after the Homeric hero Palamedes. It follows the natural line of the hill and becomes one with the landscape in a way that will make you think the hill has never existed without the castle. Today, the castle remains in excellent condition and is one of the most important achievements of Venetian fortification architecture.
The Castle of Koroni - Messinia
Koroni Castle - credits: magicmessinia.gr
The castle of Methoni is a Venetian castle on the southwestern tip of the Peloponnese. Despite it being built during the 6th century on the ruins of ancient Asini and rebuilt and expanded by the Venetians in the 13th century, it is still in excellent condition, with the vast in scope castle still inhabited today by two families, while a women's monastery is in operation. With important monuments from the Byzantine period and typical examples of the architecture of the time, the castle is influenced by the Gothic style. At the west end of the Castle lies the Byzantine church of Agia Sophia built in the 12th century.
Molivos - Lesvos
Molivos Castle, Lesvos - credits: archaiologia.gr
At the top of a pine-clad hill at the northeast end of the city, Molivos Castle in the island of Lesvos is one of the best-preserved castles in Greece and hosts many fascinating cultural events every summer. It is the second-largest castle in Lesvos and has an irregular trapezoidal shape. Its south and east sides are rock-based, while the other two are less steep. The main building material of the fortress walls and buildings is the native gray and reddish trachea. Most of it is structured in the pseudo-isodic masonry system with large carved basalt stones being used. When wandering within the castle's walls, you'll discover mosques and temples, ancient baths and other remnants of the ancient temple of Demeter.
Castle of Lindo - Rhodes
Castle of Lindos - credits: gtp.gr
The Castle of Lindos was built by the Knights of St. John during the early 14th century on top of a cliff 116 meters high, where the Acropolis of Lindos was located. The chivalric walls, the ancient temple, the Doric portico below the theater, as well as the funerary monuments, medieval buildings, Byzantine churches, and basilicas fragments, showcase all the years that marked the history of the region. As Lindos has been continuously inhabited over the centuries, the site has uncovered archaeological finds from the archaic era and beyond, but also building activity dating back to the14th-16th centuries. This rich history, combined with the unique beauty and alluring landscape of the site, make the Castle of Lindos one of the most sought-after attractions in the island of Rhodes.
With the rich heritage, impeccable aesthetic and fascinating architecture, the castles of Greece are many and great. Don't miss out on visiting one during your stay in Greece, the Instagram-perfect pictures and intriguing tales you'll hear will be worth the effort!