Castles of Greece


Myloi, Argos-Mycenae, Argolis,Peloponnese

Tower of Kiveri

or Tower of the Princess  
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Tower of Kiveri
On a hill south of Myloi in Argolid, eastern Peloponnese
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
Municipality > Town:
City of Argos-Mycenae
• Myloi
Elevation ≈ 74 m 
Time of Construction   Origin
Perhaps 17th century  
Castle Type   Condition
Rather Poor

Remains of a tower-and-court complex some five hundred meters south of modern Myloi, close to the coastal road towards southern Peloponnese on a long flat spur (elevation about 74 m).

The Name of the Castle

In the past, the tower was known as “The Tower of the Princess” (Gr: o πύργος της Βασιλοπούλας). The people of the vicinity say that it is named for a princess who lived there long ago; because of her incredible beauty (others say, her unspeakable ugliness) she had a subterranean passage built from the tower to the shore, so that she could descend unobserved to bathe in the sea.

The tower is currently known as the tower of Kiveri or Civeri because the old village of Kiveri was nearby. The modern Kiveri is at the coast, 6km to the south.


Kiveri was under Frankish rule after 1205, it was taken by the Byzantines of the Despotate of Mystras in 1388 and came under Venetian rule from 1394 until 1458 when the Ottomans conquered Peloponnese. The Venetians briefly reoccupied the area in the following two centuries.

The tower has been called Venetian and even Frankish; it is certainly Turkish. It would be tempting to recognize in it a Turkish counterfort to the Venetian Civeri. But the small scale, uncomplicated plan, and unsubstantial walls are unsuitable for a military strong point in such an exposed position.

During the Turkish period the home of a sipahi or an aga or even of a farm owner was known as a pyrgos or koulas (Turkish kule, " tower "). Country estates (tsiflik) in the Turkish period were scattered throughout the more fertile districts of Greece. Their concomitant towers are mentioned by 19th century travelers, who often obtained overnight lodging in them. These towers were often square, with as many as four floors; the entrance was by an exterior staircase and drawbridge. The ground floor, which did not communicate with the living quarters, sheltered domestic animals. Occasionally near-by antiquities were pillaged to provide building material. When the Turks were finally expelled, the Greeks demolished many of their koules.

It is reported that there was such a Koules at Myloi, on lower ground between the marsh and the river. Evidence indicates that the Princess's Tower may be another. The unstuccoed ground floor suggests stables; the stuccoed second storey suggests living quarters. The third storey, with its adaptations for defense, recalls the parapets of the Maniote towers. In plan the complex resembles the fortified farms both of ancient Greece and of the mediaeval Aegean islands.

Structure, Fortification & Buildings

The court, roughly rectangular, and oriented east-west, measures about 20 m by 60 m. It is built on a nearly flat plateau. The wall, which is 0.60 m. thick, stands to a height of two meters on the south and east, one meter on the north.

The central tower measures 5.50 m by 6.75 m; its walls are also 0.60 m thick.

The entrance must have been in the west face near the north side, which has collapsed; one cannot determine whether the entrance was at ground level or higher. The tower is standing to its full height (nearly 10 meters). Above ground there were two floors, as indicated by the beam holes. Between the two floor levels the interior is stuccoed; the north and south walls each have two niche-like cupboards set into the wall about a meter above the floor. There were large windows in this second storey, one each on the north and south, two on the east, probably one on the west.

The tower is crowned with a crenellated parapet, four rectangular merlons on the east and west, three on the north and south. The third storey has smaller windows beneath the merlons (two on the east and west, one on the north and south), originally protected by huchettes. At each corner of the third storey is a meurtriere (narrow opening to allow observation and sending projectiles.). The third storey, with its crenellations, huchettes, and meurtrieres, can have had no purpose but defense.

Both the circuit wall and the tower are constructed of the local limestone, roughly coursed; in the tower a high course frequently alternates with one or two thin courses. Tile fragments are employed to fill the crannies of both wall and tower. The mortar is hard and sandy, with many pebbles; it is thickly applied, often like a stucco.


  • Wallace E. McLeod, Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Volume 31, Issue 4, “KIVERI AND THERMISI”, 1962
  • Pictures from Panoramio by the user Burgenfuzzi

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