Gardiki Castle is a 13th-century Byzantine castle on the southwestern coast of Corfu and the only surviving medieval fortress on the southern part of the island. It was built by a ruler of the Despotate of Epirus, and was one of three castles which defended the island before the Venetian era (1401â1797). The three castles formed a defensive triangle, with Gardiki guarding the island's south, Kassiopi Castle the northeast and Angelokastro the northwest
The castle is located on a low hill near the village of Agios Matthaios which is situated at a higher elevation. The ruler responsible for the construction of the castle is not known, but it is assumed that it was built either by Michael I Komnenos or his son Michael II Komnenos, rulers of the Despotate of Epirus. Immediately to the south of the castle lies Korissia Lake which is separated from the sea by a narrow strip of land.
Remains from the upper Paleolithic era, dating from 20,000 BC., when Corfu was still united to the mainland region of Epirus, were found on the site of the castle at the rock shelter of Grava Gardikiou, including hunter-gatherer stone tools and animal bones, which have since been removed and are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Corfu.
The walls of Gardiki Castle form an octagon and the structure features eight strong towers decorated by rows of tiles. There are elements from an ancient structure which have been incorporated into the construction of the castle. The ancient structure was probably a fountain-house.
The eight towers are square in shape and the outline of the octagonal structure is almost elliptical. At the top of the southern tower there are traces of a chapel with remnants of religious frescoes of portraits of saints. Although in a state of disrepair, the towers still retain their full height. The castle entrance is preserved but the interior is in a state of ruin.References:
Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.
King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg HĂ„kansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of SĂ¶dermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.
The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of BrĂ¶msebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.
It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.