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Historical sites

The Fortezza Fortress The fortress of Rethymnon City was built between 1573 and 1580 by the Venetians, for the protection of the city by the Turkish threat. It is starshaped with three gates and six bastions. The fortress enclosed the Commander' s house, the Counsellor' s house, barracks, stables, ammunition - storehouses, a cistern and private houses which were later destroyed. There was no systematic excavation on the site. Small-scale excavations have been conducted during the restoration works, in the course of which came to light remains of the ancient city. Some years earlier, the 13th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities effectuated works of restoration and consolidation. The architect D. Pikiones had completed a study concerning a new project of the fortezza: a theatre for representations of the medieval cretan plays, tourist accomodations etc. Today the Municipality of Rethymnon in collaboration with the competent services, suggests a restoration study which will…
Spinalonga Island Spinalonga is an arid and barren rocky islet with an area of 8.5 hectares lying at the mouth of the natural port of Elounda in the Lasithi prefecture of Crete. Due to its strategic location, it was fortified and served a variety of roles and purposes over the centuries. In antiquity the islet was walled to protect the ancient city of Olous. In the late 16th century, the Venetians built one of the most important defensive sea fortresses in the Mediterranean within the context of the major fortification works they carried out to defend Crete. Construction, based on the designs of the engineer Genese Bressani, began in 1579, and the initial building phase lasted until 1586. Repairs and alterations to the fortress were carried out both before and during the Cretan War (1645-1669). The fortifications consisted of two zones: the first followed the coastline, and the second was…
The Venetian Marine Fortress of Heraklion The Venetian fortress “Rocca a Mare”, “Castello a Mare”, “Castello”, “Su Kulesi” or “Koules” is situated at the entrance to the Venetian harbor of Heraklion. It is one of the so-called marine fortresses which functioned as forward bastions on the sea within the framework of more general architectural planning. It was occasionally combined with protection of the commercial harbor and docks, as was the case here. According to historical testimony, there was probably a tower at the same site during the second Byzantine or even the Arab period. We do not know what form the fortress had during the first period of the Venetian rule. Early 16th c. Venetian documents mention that the tower had suffered damages and was practically in ruins. With the prevalence of the bastion system (fronte bastionato) and radical changes in the form of fortifications, the old fortress could not…

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