Cretan Forts


Castel Malvicino (Malevizi Fort)
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The fort Castel Malvicino or Malvesin is located on a hill near the village Keramoutsi at a position that now is named Kasteli Malevizi. It occupied an excellent position in the inner land, which offered great views over almost the entire province of Malevizi, that got its name after  the castle.

It is worth mentioning that the position of the fortress has direct view to the forts of Paliokastro near Rogdia, Temenos near Profitis Ilias and Melissa near Agios Thomas. Thus, it was a node of a dense and well- organized network of numerous strategic positions that controlled every passage inside the island. Castel Malvesin was possibly built by the pirate Enrico Pescatore, during the short-lived Genoese occupation of Crete (1206 to 1211), when he built or restored 15 forts throughout the island.

The name of the fort probably comes from the war machines of the era called malvicini, which means a bad neighbor. There is, however, the option that the name «bad neighbor» refers to the proximity of the fortress to the mountainous areas of the current provinces Malevizi and Mylopotamos, which were constantly in the heart of the Cretan revolutions.

During the re-occupation of Crete by the Venetians it continued its operation as a fortress and a landmark for the region. The devastating earthquake of 1303 leveled the fort and it was rebuilt under the new plans of the Venetian engineers.

During the revolt of Kallergis (1363), which led to the short-lived autonomy of Crete as "Republic of Saint Titus” the men of Ioannis Kallergis besieged the fortress, and after killing the Governor Nicolao Dandolo, plundered the fort and destroyed the houses that were built inside it. After the suppression of the revolution, the Venetians considering the strategic importance of the fortress, decided to rebuild it but were prevented by the rebels.

During his visit to the position in 1900, Joseph Gerola found only a few traces of a low wall (1.25m wide) and designed only a square tower, the only remnant of the fort. Today we still discern a corner of the outer enclosure of the fort and the place were a small tower was still visible before some decades. It is believed that future investigations and cleaning of the place will reveal bases of buildings and the outer walls of this famous, but neglected, monument that gave its name to an entire province.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Fortress / Tower
  • Peak Period: Venetian Era (1204 AD - 1669 AD)
  • Accessibility: Dirt track
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