Anacopia is an ancient Abkhazian military citadel in New Athos (as it is currently known) in the Russian sponsored Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia. It is the most complete surviving building of ancient Anacopia, the former capital of the Kingdom of Abkhazia.
A military structure was constructed here between the second and fourth centuries. At the end of the seventh century walls were constructed around the site of the citadel, with support from the Byzantines who had become alarmed by Islamist expansionism. The walls are constructed of largely tightly assembled and carefully hewn limestone blocks. There is a single entrance, a small gate on the south side of the enclosure. At the centre is a Roman style tower, four storeys high, with excellent views in all directions across the surrounding landscape and, to the south-west of the fortress, the Black Sea.
A small Christian basilica was also constructed in the centre of the fortress during or before the eighth century. The stone altar from it survives (2014), along with some frescoes featuring a cross and some fishes, a religious symbol frequently used by early Christians in and around the Eastern Roman empire. Next to the church is a cistern filled naturally with spring water by means of a 25 meter deep well beneath it.
During the eighth century Anacopia found itself near the moving frontier that separated Byzantine Christendom from the Umayyad Caliphate, and in 736/737 Abū ʿAbd Al-Malik Marwān ibn Muḥammad, the future Marwan II, appeared outside the walls with a force of 60,000 men and laid siege to what was by now the capital of the Abkhazian Kingdom. The Georgian chronicle relates that the citadel was defended by a force of 1,000 Georgians and 2,000 Abkhazians under the leadership of Leon I of Abkhazia. The chronicle recalls that the Arab forces suffered from an epidemic that killed 35,000 of them while a further 3,000 were killed in the fighting. The successful defence of Anacopia is regarded as a pivotal turning point in Georgian history.
A restoration was undertaken in 2008 to improve the safety of the site and reinstate the tower as a usable lookout point.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.