Turkish Towers


Other Towers in Crete
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In the Province of Selino (the wider area of ​​Paleochora), in Sougia more Koules were built are the positions Koustogerako, Kefala in Rodovani (ancient Elyros), Stavros near Kantanos, Moustakos and Vigles. In Kissamos Province, Turkish towers were built in Voukolies, in the position Larda, Kounoupitsas (which rebels blew up in 1897) and Xygokefalo, near Mesogia. Lastly, the province of Kydonia was full with towers. Only twelve towers were built in the area of ​​Lakki (positions: Rizomata, Keratidi, Amygdali, Kato and Pano Savoure, Kefala, Bourmpadokefala, Kopanistra, Kserokefala, Lapa, Afaragia, Lagoudokefala and Xylokastro. The fortification of Lakki was completed by the Koules in Porsela, Prases, Kefala, Nea Roumata, Adamis, Meskla, Tsarmenika, Lasides near Therisos, Prophet Elijah, Skonizou, Kyrtomado, Alikianos, Keramia and Malaxa. Refering to each one of them separately is very difficult, if not impossible.


The most important passage of Rethymnon prefecture was that of Agios Vasilios (south), through where Turks and Greeks traveled from Mesara plain to Sfakia area. Thus, several towers (kouledes) were built. Amari Valley is an internal passage of the prefecture of Rethymno, which is a continuation of the valley of Potami, where the most bloodthirsty Turks, called Ampadiotes, lived. This wide passage, which through small branches led to Messara, was soon fortified by the Turks. In the valley of Potami there were the Towers of Prases, Potami and Patsos. At the entrance of the valley of Amari, at the point where it is separated by the valley of Potami, the Turks built the Koules of Apostoli - Meronas. On the eastern edge of the valley of Amari, two more towers were built, the Koules of Vathiakos and Lochria. The Koules of Lochria was built on a rocky hill east of the village, a short distance from it. It was used for transfering messages to the rest towers of the small valley of Kamares. It is almost totally destroyed, to an extent that someone can barely distinguish the outline of its base.

Towers were also built in the province of Mylopotamos covering the passages of Axos and Fodele. Through the first passage, the hordes of the Turks firstly headed to Candia (current Heraklion city) during the Cretan War (1645-1669) and several times later from 1821 to 1898. Thus, it is expected that they built several towers there. The most famous of them are the Koules of Krioneri, Flamoura and Armos (Garazo). The tower of Krioneri is located in the borders of the villages Axos and Kryoneri, in a very beautiful spot that belongs to the monastery of Chalepa. Today a tank has been built on the site, watering Anogia town, and only a small part of the old fort survives. Another Koules, that of Astali, was built above the current town of Bali to control the passage and the calm bay of Bali. In the position Pirgos, the Turks set up their tower, known as Bourbadopirgo or Koules. The Germans blew it up because was used as a reference to the allied planes.


The Turks built several Towers in the Prefecture of Heraklion, mainly in the plain of Messara, but also in the other passages of the county. Indeed, the area of ​​Messara was a strongly guarded area. The passages leading to it were all fortified with series of towers, so that Messara could not communicate with the neighboring areas. In the small valley of Kamares - Grigoria - Magarikari were the Koules of Grammeni and the Koules of Kremastos. Kremastos was located between Grigoria and Kamares, on a hill east of the existing road, so as to transfer the messages to the Koules of Zaros.

Another Koules prevented the communication of the province Malevyzi with the province of Temenos and the Messara plain. It's the big Koules of Ano Moulia, lying east of the homonym village, which dominates the entire area. It is preserved in quite good condition and a part of it is still used as a stable. Another Koules was built on the hill north of Mires town, but today public buildings have been built on the site.

In order to move from Heraklion to Lasithi, there were two passages. One is the south passage of Viannos and the second is the passage of Selena Mount. The passages to the Lasithi plateau was actually inaccessible. One of the Viannos towers was the Koules of Riza. Remains of it are still surviving east of Viannos, in the place where the Germans executed the residents of the area in September 1943. The main body of Koules has dimensions 14x7m. Other tower was the tiower of Panorama, ruins of which survive.


The Isthmus of Ierapetra, from Pahia Ammos to Ierapetra city, was a very important key passage in Lasithi prefecture. The fortification of this passage thus controlled the relations of the provinces of Mirabello and Ierapetra, while isolated the province of Sitia. Thus, the Turks built the Koules of Pahia Ammos, Vasiliki, Episkopi and Kentri. The little Koules of Pahia Ammos was built in the position Chalepa, east of the village, and is in quite good condition. Its purpose was mainly to control the local bay and the whole Mirabello Gulf, and communicate with the tower of the Vasiliki. Koules of Vasiliki was located south of the homonym village, on the hill next to which important antiquities have been excavated, and is accessed by road. It is small (7x7m) and its aim was to transfer the messages from Pahia Ammos to the Koules of Episkopi. The Koules of Kentri was built on the site of the current school of the village, without any trace of it surviving. In the province of Sitia, the Turks did not built Koules’es, as there were many Venetian castles and towers already, which could be serve their needs. Another Koules was built in Males village (near Mirtos), which controlled the northern part of the river Sarantapichos.

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Additional Info

  • Type: Fortress / Tower
  • Peak Period: Ottoman Era (1669 - 1898)

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