Griffen castle was built between 1124 and 1146 by order of Bishop Otto of Bamberg. In an 1160 deed, Emperor Friedrich I mentioned Grivena as a Bamberg property.
In 1292 the Carinthian nobleman Count Ulrich von Heunburg with support of Archbishop Konrad IV of Salzburg occupied the fort in an uprising against Albert of Habsburg, the son of King Rudolph I of Germany and Duke Meinhard II. However Ulrich was abandoned by his allies and one year later had to leave the castle. In 1759 Bishop Adam Friedrich sold the Bamberg estates in Carinthia to Maria Theresa of Austria and the castle was incorporated into the Carinthian duchy.
About 1520 a large reconstruction of the castle took place as a protection against the threat posed by the Ottoman forces with a base amounted of about 4000 m², though the Turks never laid siege to Griffen. In 1659 a flash impact destroyed one of the towers and the decay of the castle began. In 1768 a last religious service took place and about 1840 the roofs were torn. In 2000 the preservation of the castle began. A steep footpath leads up the mountain to the ruins.
Within the mountain is the Griffener Tropfsteinhöhle (dripstone cave) with a length of 485m, which was not discovered until the late days of World War II. It is open to public and a natural landmark since 1957.References:
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.