Kastrologos
Castles of Greece

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Arla, Dytiki Achaea, Achaea,West Greece

Gyftokastro

or Castle of Arla or Castle of Fostena  
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Gyftokastro
Location:
Near Arla village, Achaea, Peloponnese
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
West Greece
Achaea
Municipality > Town:
City of Dytiki Achaea
• Arla
Altitude:
Elevation ≈ 100 m 
(Relative Height≈20 m)
Time of Construction   Origin
13th century  
FRANKISH
H 
Castle Type   Condition
Castle  
Not Good
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A castle which is connected with the origin of two villages: Fostena and Arla. Administratively, it belongs to another village: Flokas.

It is on top of a low hill on the road leading to Santomeri. It is one of the relatively well preserved castles in Achaea.


The Name of the Castle

It has not been securely identified. Some scholars identify it with Phostena and others with Arroula which may have become Arla, although the latter was never a medieval village.

“Gyftokastro” means Gypsy castle. The name is most likely related to a gypsy population that may have occupied the site in the nineteenth century. Sometimes it is also called “Egyptiokastro” which led some scholars to relate it with Egyptian population. But “Egyptiokastro” is probably a beautification of the unflattering “Gyftokastro”.


History

Regardless of the identification of the original name, the region in the beginning of Frangokratia belonged to the barony of Chalandritsa. The first baron was the celebrated Guy de Dramelay or Gui de la Trémoille or Tremoulas (for the Greeks).

The castle, most probably, was built during his rule, in the first decades of the 13th century.


Structure, Fortification & Buildings

The fortress is a contiguous building of irregular polygonal plan with towers, embrasures and a gate.

It measures ca. 50m✖30m and survives to almost complete elevation with collapse most severe on the east side where large holes in the wall are visible.

The masonry is of small, uncut stones, mortar and tiles, with ca. 2 m wall thickness. Surface rooftiles and pottery, including Frankish cooking ware, date occupation to the medieval period. Α cistern roofed with pointed vault, ca. 10m✖7m, is located in the middle of the fortress.

A nearby stream offers ample supply of water. An early modem water mill is situated immediately below the fortress.


Sources

  • Konstantinos Kourelis, “MONUMENTS OF RURAL ARCHAEOLOGY MEDIEVAL SETTLEMENTS ΙΝ ΤΗΕ NORTHWESTERN PELOPONNESE”, Presented to the Faculties of the University of Pennsylvania in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 2003, page 248



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Road map to Gyftokastro

Access
Approach to the monument:
From Patra take E55 to SW. Turn left to the Industrial zone and continue to Soudaneika and Arla. Distance 35km. The castle is on la ow hill on the road 1km after Arla.
Entrance:
Free access


Other castles around
Doxapatri Castle
Dymaean Wall
Castle of Ochia (Viper)
Castle of Patras
Pavlokastro
Pournarokastro
Castle of Santameri
Sidirokastro in Achaea
Chalandritsa Tower