Castle of Chora

Kythira, Greece

The Venetian Castle in Kythira is definitely the most distinctive monument on the island. It was built from the late 12th century until the early 13th century in Chora during the Venetian occupation. Due to its strategic position, providing good observation points to the Ionian, Aegean, and Cretan Sea simultaneously, they called it The eye of Crete.

The castle was built in different phases but the biggest part was completed by the Venetians in 1503 AD. who made some additional works and repairs. On the left side of the castle's entrance, there were the prisons whereas on the right side there is a huge cistern that dates back to the Venetian period. In the center of the castle, you can see the ruins of some two-storied houses where the conquerors had settled down.

Inside the castle, there are four churches. The oldest church is the Church of Pantokrator, built in 1545 and featuring impressive old frescoes. However, the biggest church of the castle is Panagia Myrtidiotissa, built in 1580. It was originally Catholic, but in 1806 it became an Orthodox church. The miracle-working icon of Myrtidiotissa was kept in the church for almost two centuries, to protect the city from the pirate's invasions.

In front of the temple, there are the old residences. Today, the building houses the Historical Archive of Kythira. Right next to it there is the church of Panagia Orphane, meaning Virgin Mary the Orphan. Outside the fortress, on the north side, there is a second castle wall with many churches and houses as well. The castle has many cannons dating from the Venetian, the Russian-Turkish and the English period.



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Kythira, Greece
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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Greece

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

effie hondos (10 months ago)
Plenty of public parking (look for the blue P sign). And helpful QR code signs to guide you with map and some history. It was really windy today so helped keep cool. Not crowded in castle. Scenic views! The town has enticing cafes, restaurants and stores to enjoy. There are also more options for hiking trails.
Emmanouil Petrellis (12 months ago)
The island’s most characteristic monument is the castle of Chora in Kithira! The castle or “Fortezza” was built in the 13th century when Kythera was dominated by the Venetians. It is a must visit monument! The “Eye of Crete” as it was also called due to its strategic position, providing the observance of ships on three seas simultaneously – the Ionian, Aegean and Cretan, was built over different phases of the island’s history, but the biggest and main part including the facade was built in 1503 by the Venetians, who repaired and reconstructed it. At the castle’s entrance you can see the tunnel or else “fossa”! The Venetian emblem of the lion of St. Mark used to be on that front wall, but it was destroyed along with the Nobility Book and the coats of arms by the French in 1797. On the left side of the castle’s entrance you can see the prison and a little further up on the right of the southwest part the huge Venetian reservoir with domes and arches. Times that it is open for visits are 09:00 to 20:00!
Savvas Konstantinidis (13 months ago)
Beautiful views. Can get quite hot in midday. Not particularly organized but clean and safe.
Thomas Elliott (13 months ago)
Short walk through a scenic village to get to the castle. Not a ton to see inside the castle, but spectacular views all around!
Evangelos P (2 years ago)
Free entrance, church properties, great view, open up to 20.00, last entry about half an hour before.
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