The past guards of Crete


Vigla Fort in Kerato
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Above the seaside settlement of Keratokambos rises the steep hill of Kerato, also known as Kastri or Vigla, on which the ancient city of Kerea is believed to have been built. Vigla also hosts the impressive cave Nychteridospilios (meaning Bat cave), which was used as a sanctuary during the antiquity.

After the liberation of Crete from the Arabs by Nicephorus Phocas in 961 AD, this hill was chosen by the Byzantines to build the great fortress of Vigla, which oversaw the sea and would prevent pirate raids from the south central Crete. The castle soon fell into disuse and was abandoned around the 13th century.

Access to the castle is dangerous and is only possible from the northern smooth slope, where there was a defensive wall, traces of which survive. In the fortress area there are traces of many cisterns for the accumulation of rainwater. At the highest point there are traces of a defensive tower. On the northern smooth slope, we see traces of terraces used for cultivation, while next to the church of Agia Paraskevi there is a water spring.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Fortress / Tower
  • Peak Period: Second Byzantine Era (961 AD - 1204 AD)
  • Accessibility: Walking

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