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Castle of Roumeli (Antirrio)

Castle of Roumeli (Antirrio)

Facing the Castle of Morea (Rio) across the narrow straits of the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth, the Castle of Roumeli (Antirrio) was built by the Turks in 1499 on lower-mediaeval foundations which, in turn, were built on ancient ones.

The fortress of Antirrion was destroyed and restored several times in its history. It was besieged in 1532 by the Genoese admiral Andrea Doria and, following failed efforts at resistance, the Turks blew the castle up, only to restore and further enhance it in 1533, to which effect heavy artillery from nearby Naupaktos (Lepanto) was brought over and installed.

The fortress was destroyed by the Maltese Knights in 1603, only to be rebuilt by the Ottoman Turks, who however blew it up again when the Doge of Venice, Francisco Morosini, forced them to abandon it. Re-built by Venetian engineers, it was controlled by Venice until 1699 when it was ceded to the Turks following the Karlowitz peace treaty, and was finally surrendered to the Greeks in 1829.

A typical specimen of a sea-front fortress of mainly Venetian style, Antirrio has an almost hexagonal plan with polygonal bulwarks at the corners. It is surrounded by the sea on three sides, whilst its northern side is protected by a flooded trench which isolates it from the mainland.

The surviving fortress comprises the surrounding wall consisting of rectilinear concrete walls, successive ramparts, a peripheral corridor, and cannon loops facing the sea. A distinctive feature is the semi-circular cordone at the base of the parapet which runs along the exterior surface of the wall. The central gate of the fortress is located on its north side and leads to the interior via an arched corridor. The main testimonies about the castle are 17th-century sources, relating that within the fortress of Antirrio there were more than 89 houses, a Muslim mosque dated in the time of Bayezid II, a small mescid (domed prayer house without minaret) dating from the period of Suleyman the Magnificent and a Turkish bath complex.


  • (accessed 04 December 2019)
  • Wikipedia



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