Palamidi Fortress


Gate in Palamidi fortress, Nafplio, Greece

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This vast, spectacular citadel, reachable either by steep ascent on foot or a short drive, stands on a 216m-high outcrop of rock that gives all-encompassing views of Nafplio and the Argolic Gulf. It was built by the Venetians between 1711 and 1714, and is regarded as a masterpiece of military architecture in spite of being successfully stormed in one night by Greek troops in 1822, causing the Turkish garrison within to surrender without a fight.

Within its walls stands a series of independent, strategically located bastions. The most important, and best preserved, is the western Agios Andreas Bastion, which stands at the top of the steps from town. The former home of the garrison commander, it is named after the tiny church in the interior courtyard.

The Miltiades Bastion, to the northeast, is the largest of the bastions. It was used as a prison for condemned criminals from 1840 to 1920. War of Independence hero Theodoros Kolokotronis spent several years here after being condemned for treason.

There are two main approaches to the fortress. You can go via the road (a taxi one way will cost about €10) or tackle the steps that begin southeast of the bus station. It's 911 steps to the ticket office at the entrance to the castle (we've counted). Climb early or towards sunset and take water.