Palamidi in Nafplio is one of the most beautiful castles in Greece. It is also the largest and best preserved fortress complex of the Venetian occupation.
The fortress follows the natural line of the hill. It becomes one with the landscape around it. We have to note that respects completely the space and also the purpose it had undertaken to serve. It is maintained in excellent condition and is one of the most important achievements of Venetian fortification architecture.
At the top of the hill dominate the eight independent bastions, named after ancient heroes.
The famous Venetian castle located above the city of Nafplio is named after the Homeric hero Palamidis. It was built by the engineers La Salle and Giaxich.
The History of Palamidi in Nafplio
It was built in 1687 by the Venetians. This took place after the occupation of the hill on which it is located and a fierce battle with the Ottomans during the Venetian-Turkish War.
The hill on which it is located is 216 meters high and the ascent to Palamidi is done either by carriageway or by a staircase. This last way is known as the 999 steps, when in fact it is 857. In 1715, during the last Venetian-Turkish War the Ottomans took it after blowing up part of it.
The area of Nafplio was first conquered by the Venetians in 1470. During the period of the first Venetian rule, the Venetians strengthened and expanded the castle of Akronafplia, without occupying Palamidi. In 1540, Nafplio was occupied by the Turks. Then, for the first time, Palamidi was used strategically. Although still unfortified, by the vizier Kasim Pasha, during the three-year siege of Nafplio (1537-1540) he was shelling the city from there.
The Venetians return
The Venetians returned in 1686 and under Morosini conquered the area again. In fact, after a fierce battle for the occupation of the hill of Palamidi.
The Venetians then realized the strategic importance of many Greek ports. Nafplio was one of them and the location of the Palamidi rock was naturally protected the entrance to the Argolic Gulf. The fortifications seem to have been started by Francis Morosini immediately after the return of the Venetians but the construction of the fortress took place essentially during the days of the Venetian General Fleet Provider, Agostino Sagredo, from 1711 to 1714.
Since then the castle has played an important role in the history of the area.
During the second Turkish-Venetian war, in 1715, the Turks invaded with 100,000 men. Palamidi fell into the hands of the Turks after the betrayal of Lashal (the military engineer who had supervised it) and after the Turks had to blow up part of the fortress. It should be noted that during the Turkish occupation, Christians were not allowed to enter the fortress.
The last siege
The last siege took place on the night of November 29th, 1822, led by Staikos Staikopoulos. A group of Greek warriors liberated it from the Turks. The next day, November 30th, the church that the Venetians had and was dedicated to Agios Gerardos was cleaned and dedicated to Agios Andreas. A day that honors his memory and the day the castle became Greek. The liberation of the castle symbol for the city of Nafplio is celebrated every year on November 30th.
After the liberation, the castle was used as a prison. In fact in 1833 it hosted the hero of the Greek Revolution, Theodoros Kolokotronis, on charges of high treason. Later, the Miltiadis bastion became one of the hardest prisons for convicts, which operated until 1926.
The legend wants the stairs 999 with the millimeter being destroyed by the hooves of Kolokotronis’ horse.
Palamidi protected by Natura 2000
The areas of Palamidi and Akronafplia are a protected habitat of Natura 2000 within an area of 3.7 sq.km. The vegetation of the hill includes stony shrublands with phrygana, steep limestone slopes with yawning vegetation and pine forests.
Palamidi and Nafplio City
Your visit to Palamidi can be combined with your stay in the city. Nafplio has a developed tourist infrastructure. Additionally, you will find other attractions, such as Bourtzi, the small fortress island at the entrance of the port, the Old Town that travels you to history, Akronafplia or Its Kale, Syntagma Square in the heart of the city with the two Turkish Mosques, the Archaeological Museum and much more.
You are always welcome
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