Koules Venetian Fortress

sights / Military

Koules Venetian Fortress information

Iraklio , Greece
Address
Street Venetian Harbour
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Lonely Planet review

Iraklio’s main landmark, this squat and square 16th-century fortress at the end of an old jetty was called Rocca al Mare under the Venetians. It helped keep the Turks out for 21 years and later became a Turkish prison for Cretan rebels. On windy days, big waves add drama as the water crashes against the fortress walls and onto the jetty. Three walls still sport marble reliefs of Venice’s symbol: the winged Lion of St Mark. Inside are 26 restored rooms previously used for storage and as soldiers’ barracks; these days they sometimes host art exhibits and performances. The view from the top takes in the vaulted arcades of the Arsenali , built to shelter and repair the Venetian fleet, opposite the fortress.