Kastrologos
Castles of Greece

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Agios Stefanos, Ierapetra, Lasithi,Crete

Castle of Agios Stefanos

or Castle of Gra  
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Castle of Agios Stefanos
Location:
On a hill above the village of Agios Stefanos in Lasithi region, Crete
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
Crete
Lasithi
Municipality > Town:
City of Ierapetra
• Agios Stefanos
Altitude:
Elevation ≈ 470 m 
Time of Construction   Origin
16th century  
VENETIAN
H 
Castle Type   Condition
Refuge-Castle  
Few Remains
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The village of Agios Stefanos (or Gra) in Sitia province on a high hill. Above the village there is a rock that is called Kastellos or Fortezza, atop of which there are the ruins of a Venetian fortress.

The fort was probably built in the 16th century on the ruins of an ancient acropolis.

The rock is naturally fortified as its surrounding edges have vertical cliffs, except the south side which is accessible. Today, only a narrow wall on the south side, 30m long and 2m high, and a small part of a tower remain.


Legends & Tales

According to a legend that connects the fortress with the older name of Agios Stefanos (“Gra” meaning old woman), when the Arabs occupied the island in the 9th century, they besieged the fort but failed to conquer it. An old woman then betrayed the locals and indicated the only entrance to the fortress. The Saracens killed all except the old woman, and since then the village was called Village of Gra, i.e. village of the old woman.
Contrary to this, another tale suggests that once the Saracens killed an old lady in the nearby position Lougara, because she did not betray the fortress.


Sources

  • Giannis Christakis, "Historical Fortification Monuments of Crete (330BC-1898)", Publication "Ktitika Grammata", 2004
  • Website CretanBeaches - Agios Stefanos fort
  • Nikos M.Gigourtakis , Monograph in the History Department of the University of Crete, “Byzantine fortifications in Crete in the 2nd Byzantine period (961-1204)”, Rethymno 2004

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