The Kazarma Fortress in Sitia stands high above the town and is visible from the beach. It was built by the Venetians in the 13th century as the guard barracks, the Casa di Arma, a name corrupted to Kazarma.
The Kazarma Fortress was the main defensive fortification of Sitia, but it was badly damaged by frequent pirate raids and invading forces. In 1303 it was partly destroyed by an earthquake which struck the area, and was rebuilt without regaining its former power.
In 1508 it was badly damaged by another major earthquake, while in 1538 Barbarossa invaded Sitia and destroyed most of the fortress. In the 16th century, the Venetians embarked on a programme of major fortification works across Crete.
When the Turks invaded Crete in 1645, the Venetian General Mocenigo decided that the fortress could not protect the city and withstand a siege, so he moved his men and equipment to Chandax (Heraklion) in 1651.
The Turkish army took the Kazarma Fortress and turned it into a fort, making major changes to the interior of the structure. The new fort was built at the base of the Venetian castle.
The Kazarma Fortress is open daily except Mondays, offering a stunning panoramic view of the town of Sitia.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.