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Bourtzi - Castle in the Bay

Built in 1473 by the Venetians, the Bourtzi (Turkish for 'Island Fort') is one of the many attractions the town has to offer.

The Venetians are one of many occupiers, and they seized control of the town in 1388, naming it 'Napoli de Romanie'.

The fortifications they built, including the island fort helped the town resist repeated attacks from the Turks, until it was handed over to the Sultan in a peace treaty in 1540.

The primary purpose of the fort was to protect the city of Nafplio from pirates and invaders from the sea.

Chains were strung across the mouth of the harbour, from Bourtzi to the mainland, to stop ships entering.

During the Turkish occupation, stones were used to block up the entrance for the same reason.

It can be visited today by boat for around 4 euros per person, and offers a unique perspective on the Old Town.

Bourtzi has served many purposes - in 1822 the Greeks (then under Turkish occupation) seized the fort and it played a part in the seige of Nafplio leading up to the overthrow of the occupation.

It was used as a fortress until 1865, when it housed the executioners and their grisly guillotine. It was considered bad luck for the executioners to live in the town! Convicts were brought from their cells in the castle Palamidi to meet their end on Bourtzi.

Between 1930 to 1970 the fort served as an exclusive hotel, and Melina Merkouri is said to have consummated her marriage here.

These days the Bourtzi is a well preserved tourist attraction, and worth a look if you are visiting Nafplio. Concerts and exhibitions are held here occassionally during the summer months.


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