Cretan Forts


Castel Milopotamo
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In the province of Mylopotamos, one more mountainous provinces in Crete, there were two fortresses. The first was built in the seaside village of Panormos, while the second near th village Saint Mamas.

Castel Milopotamo

The seaside village of Panormos (located 20km west of Rethymnon) at the beginning of the 20th century was called Castelli of Mylopotamos or Roumeli Castelli. It is believed that it is built on the site of the Roman town Panormos. Before the 20th century, Roumeli Castelli was one of the most important commercial harbours of Crete, serving the entire Mylopotamos province.

Next to the pier of the village harbour and along the steep coastline, the Genoese pirate Henry Pescatore built in the early 13th century the fortress of Castel Milopotamo. When the Venetians conquered Crete, the fortress was restored and a settlement (bourg) started developing around the fort, later evolving into the current village of Panormos.

The egg-shaped fort was oriented from north to south and was equipped with seven towers and two gates, one on the sea side and one on the south side. In 1341, the family of Kapsokalives besieged the fort, in which Alex Kallergis was hiding, but soon quited. Kallergis was a famous Cretan traitor, who joined the Venetians.

In 1538 the pirate Hairendin Barbarossa destroyed Castel Milopotamo, but the Venetians restored it immediately, as it was located in a strategic position. Later the Turks, after having occupied the castle of Rethymno, began walking towards Candia. Thus, when passing from Panormos, they besieged and occupied the fort (in 1647). The Venetians tried to regain it by under the orders of the General Gildasi (Gil d 'Has), but they failed. Today there is almost nothing left from the fort except a small part of the wall, resembling a pile of stones.

The fort Apano Castelli in Kastri

This fort is located on a rocky strong position above the village Kastri. The castle belonged to the powerful family Kallergis since 1341. Kallergis family took part in the “Defection of St. Titus” (1363-1366). This revolt, that ended in failure, was supported by both Cretans and Venetian feudal lords, who tried to establish an autonomous and independent republic under the auspices of St. Titus, the patron saint of the island.

After the suppression of the revolt, Kallergis were punished with exorbitant fines and, thus, they started a new revolution, which was spread all over Crete. Then they fortified their feud in Kastri, by building the fort Apano Castelli. But even this revolt was crushed and the revolutionary bases of operations (the Lassithi Plateau, the area of ​​Eleftherna and the Plateau of Anopolis) were evacuated for a whole century. Moreover, the feud of Kallergis was granted to the Venetian ruler Nicolao Delphyno, who then sold that to Lac. de Medio.

The visitor can still discern the ruins of the fortress, some traces of the wall on the south side of the hill, and the ruins of a church, where the emblem of Kallergis crowns is still surviving.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Rethymnon Prefecture
  • Type: Fortress / Tower
  • Peak Period: Venetian Era (1204 AD - 1669 AD)
  • Accessibility: Paved road
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