The Venetian Castle of Nafpaktos is at the top of a hill that overlooks the city. This hill has the shape of a pyramid.
The grandiose fortifications of Nafpaktos built in successive construction phases, climax from the ancient times to the Ottoman Empire and, in spite of the catastrophes and damage suffered remain as one of the most important and best preserved examples of castle architecture in Greece.
We cannot say with certainty what was the form of the castle in ancient times, but it is certain that the walls existed.
Remains of ancient walls are still found today on the sea side as well as the western side of the castle.
It is quite possible that the castle may not have always had the form it has today with the five levels. This form was given mainly during Venetian rule.
The top of the hill is surrounded by a circular wall that is 100 meters in diameter.
Two arms that follow the slope of the ground come down one to the east and one to the west and once they bend they approach again to one another and close the ports entrance with two towers.
Four transverse walls join these two arms, forming five defence lines or levels from the top to the sea.
The defence levels h are reduced in size as they get closer to the top and each is an independent fort.
The well preserved Castle of Nafpaktos is one of the most beautiful castles in Greece.
It proudly keeps watch on the city and the bay of Patras and its picturesque ramparts go down to enclose the little harbor.
Its fortification passed through many phases, as it was started in the ancient times, passed through the Venetian conquest and was completed by the Turks.
The castle protected the people of Nafpaktos during wars and was unique for its five defensive walls, two of which were built going down to the sea and three walls were constructed at different levels on the hill between the maritime walls and the castle for maximum security.
In periods of sieges, people would get into the castle to protect their lives from the enemies.
Through its history, it has been a base for conquerors and pirates.
The Ozolian Locrians owned the castle at first, in the ancient times.
At around 455 BC, the people of Athens sent the Messenian refugees there and made it their main naval station in western Greece during the Peloponnesian war.
Two key battles took place and in 404 BC it was returned to the Locrians.
In 191 BC, the castle was yielded to the Romans after much fighting.
In the sixth century, it was partly ruined by an earthquake.
In the Middle Ages, it fell to the Venetians, who equipped it until the Turks got it in the fifteenth century.
The entrance to the Gulf of Nafpaktos was where a grand sea fight took place in 1571, the battle of Lepanto as it is known, where the Ottoman Empire’s naval power was almost totally damaged by the combined papal, Spanish, Habsburg and Venetian forces.
After the end of the Revolution War, the castle and the town of Nafpaktos became part of the Greek state.
Today it is a famous archaeological sight visited by many tourists every year.
*This article was originally published at www.greeka.com