Assos Castle | The Old Fortified Capital of North Kefalonia with the 2.000 Meters Walls
Updated: Oct 18
George Papadellis | SG Head
with some good tips from AI
The Venetian castle of Assos, one of the largest castles in Greece, began to be built in 1593, due to the inadequacy of the castle of Agios Georgios to defend the island against Ottomans and pirate raids, and was completed in 1596. It is located at an altitude of 170 meters on a rocky hill of the small peninsula of Assos opposite the coastal village of the same name. This ancient fortress beckons visitors to embark on a captivating journey back in time. With its impressive architecture, breathtaking panoramic views, and fascinating historical significance, Assos Castle is a must-visit attraction for travelers seeking a unique blend of culture and natural beauty. Let us delve deeper into the story of Assos Castle and discover the wonders it has to offer.
History and Origins
Immerse yourself in the storied past of Assos Castle, which dates back to the 16th century. Originally built by the Venetians as a defensive stronghold against invasions, the castle played a vital role in safeguarding the island's inhabitants from Ottoman raids. The strategic location atop a hill provided an advantageous vantage point, enabling the Venetians to monitor and protect the surrounding area. Over centuries, the castle underwent various modifications and reconstructions, influenced by different ruling powers, including the Ottomans and the British. Assos Castle was for many years the capital of northern Kefalonia. Its construction began as an ambitious plan by the Venetians to create a strong castle-state without ever fulfilling its purpose. When Venice captured Lefkada (1684), it lost its strategic importance and the Venetians established a new capital, Argostoli. In the 1920 census the castle had a population of 59 people. In the late 1920s it housed rural prisons and in 1953 it was abandoned due to the earthquake. In the 1961 census, the castle had 6 inhabitants (known as "Kastrini"), while the last inhabitant left in 1963.
The architecture of Assos Castle is a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of its builders. The structure showcases a fusion of Venetian, Ottoman, and British architectural styles, reflecting the diverse historical influences on the island. As you explore the castle's grounds, you will encounter imposing walls, bastions, and towers that once served as defensive fortifications. The ruins of a Venetian church and a Turkish mosque within the castle complex further highlight the convergence of cultures that shaped Kefalonia's history. The castle has 2,000 meters of walls, four gates, five bastions and an area of 440 acres. Among the buildings are the Catholic church of Agios Markos, the house of the High Commissioner of the Peaceful Republic, the buildings of the old rural prisons, the church of Prophet Elias. On the NW walls, there are seven Venetian cannons.
Prepare to be spellbound by the awe-inspiring vistas that unfold before your eyes at Assos Castle. From its elevated position, the castle offers panoramic views of the charming village of Assos, with its colorful houses and picturesque harbor. The azure waters of the Ionian Sea stretch endlessly into the horizon, creating a breathtaking backdrop that is sure to leave a lasting impression. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the stunning beauty of this vantage point.
Exploring the Complex
Step into the footsteps of history as you explore the castle's sprawling complex. Wander through the ancient ruins, traverse the winding pathways, and discover hidden corners brimming with historical remnants. Uncover the secrets of the castle's past as you venture into its chambers, halls, and underground passages. As you meander through the castle, imagine the lives of those who once inhabited this formidable fortress, and marvel at the architectural wonders that have stood the test of time.
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Beauty and Activities
Assos Castle is not just a historical gem; it is also surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. After exploring the castle, take a leisurely stroll through the idyllic village of Assos, with its traditional houses and vibrant atmosphere. Enjoy a refreshing swim at one of the nearby secluded beaches, or embark on a scenic hike along the picturesque trails that wind through the surrounding hills. Nature enthusiasts will find themselves immersed in an oasis of tranquility and captivating landscapes.
Echoes of the Past
Assos Castle Kefalonia offers a truly immersive experience, combining a fascinating journey into history with the stunning natural beauty of the island. From its rich historical origins to its architectural marvels and breathtaking vistas, the castle stands as a testament to the island's vibrant past and enduring allure. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a unique travel experience, Assos Castle will captivate your senses and leave you with cherished memories. Embark on a journey to Assos Castle, and let the echoes of the past and the beauty of the present guide your explorations.