The castles of PrevezaGreece,
The history of Preveza is written on the walls of its castles. Venetians, Ottomans, and French invested heavily on the town’s defence, since it was the key to the control of the Ambracian Gulf. The end result was a group of five fortresses that distill the town’s past and offer splendid views to the surrounding seas.
1. Ruler of allThere are two reasons to visit the Pantokratoras fort: either you are fond of castles and stunning views, or you want to study what it takes to become ruler of the world.
2. ScarfaceThe castle of Saint Andrew dominates the city from the top of a low hill for the past three centuries. It is a monument that bears the scars of all the conquerors and liberators of Preveza.
3. Not the guns of NavaroneLaskara resembles all sorts of things but a fort is not one of them. Nevertheless, in 1897, its cannons rained fire and fury on “Macedonia” in the opening scene of the war between Greece and the Ottoman Empire.
Ruler of allBoth phases of the fort are built with small rectangular blocks, but massive stone blocks were used where the sea battery is exposed to the pounding of the waves, in an effort to prevent the erosion of the foundations. These large square blocks probably came from an ancient settlement (Nicopolis?). There are also various modifications in concrete, undertaken by the Germans in the Second World War. As you leave the fort, pay attention to the earth reinforcement along the external faces of the north, east, and west walls. It rises to half the height of the walls and was added sometime in the 19th century to protect the original walls.
Bombs and barracks
ScarfaceA whole series of disasters struck the castle of Saint Andrew in the 20th century. The eastern walls (towards the sea) were demolished in the late 19th century to make room for upscale mansions. When the Greek army liberated Preveza (1912), they expanded the barracks and turned the mosque into an archaeological museum. It was destroyed during a bombardment by the Italians in 1940. In September 1944, communist guerrilla fighters captured the fort and fought against their right-wing opponents, who used mortars in an effort to dislocate them. The castle housed the Greek army until 2000 but is now semi-abandoned. The monument to the people of Preveza who lost their lives in the conflicts of the last century bears testament to the region’s turbulent past.
The persistent bird gets the worm
Not the guns of NavaroneThe path leading to the top of the hill is almost totally hidden under bushes, so it takes 20 minutes of vigorous hiking to clear a path towards your destination. But it is totally worth it. Laskara may strike the observer as bizarre, and hardly fortress-like, but it is an excellent example of the first half of the 19th-century Ottoman defensive architecture. It consists of a cylindrical building with numerous gun ports but no main entrance. Access was through a ladder. There are also two smaller circular buildings attached to the main one. Just a few meters away is an auxiliary edifice, which was probably used as barracks, storage facilities, or stables. Today it lies abandoned in a ruinous state.
Nea Odos has undertaken the study, planning, construction, operation, administration and maintenance of the “Ionian Road” project. A breathtaking project covering a total length of 380klm.
Why take a self-guided tour?
This is a self-guided tour based on the award-winning storytelling concept developed by Clio Muse and the fascinating narratives prepared by our handpicked destination experts.
You can enjoy each multilingual tour by using your smartphone or tablet at your own pace even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step-by-step as you explore all points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of our signature stories allowing you to tailor the tour experience to your personal interests and schedule.
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