Kastrologos
Castles of Greece

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Konitsa, Konitsa, Ioannina,Epirus

Castle of Konitsa

or Castle of Agia Varvara  
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Castle of Konitsa
Location:
On a hill SE of Konitsa close to the Agia Varvara chapel and over the end of the Aoos gorge.
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
Epirus
Ioannina
Municipality > Town:
City of Konitsa
• Konitsa
Altitude:
Elevation ≈ 720 m 
(Relative Height≈280 m)
Time of Construction   Origin
14th century  
Late-BYZANTINE
H 
Castle Type   Condition
Castle  
In Ruins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Location & Strategic Scope

The castle is on a hill at the western end of the Trapezitsa mountain which extends across the northern bank of Aoos river.

The castle controlled the western entrance to the gorge of Aoos.

It is near the chapel of Agia Varvara and this is the reason that is also known as the “castle of Agia Varvara”.


History

The chronology of the castle of Konitsa is rather uncertain.

The castle (and Konitsa) is mentioned for the first time in the Chronicle of Ioannina, written around 1380. The chronicle narrates that the castle was built by the Despot of Epirus Thomas Preloumbos, a Serb ruler seated in Ioannina, to strengthen his defense against Albanian raids.

In spite of this reference, it is more probable that the castle was built (or re-constructed) around 1319, during the short period (1318-1339) that the Byzantine Empire had regained control over the territories of the Despotate of Epirus.

It is also possible that the original castle was one of the fortifications that were built in the 6th century during the reign of emperor Justinian.

The Ottomans conquered the area in 1431 and initially used the castle which was abandoned (or destroyed) later. How this happened and when is not known.


Structure, Fortification & Buildings

The castle is small and ruined. Only a few parts survive.

A small part of a wall still stands at the south side with a height around 2,5m and a length of 6m. At the northern side there are the remains of what seems to be the foundations of a rectangular tower. A few meters to the west of the “tower” lie the remains of another part of the wall.

The maximum length of the fortification is ca. 40m while the maximum width is ca. 10m. But there are remains also at the slopes of the hill hidden under the vegetation. This perhaps means that the castle was initially larger but it was destroyed by earthquakes or landslides and as a result, parts of it had fallen towards the slopes.


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Road map to Castle of Konitsa

Access
Approach to the monument:
Along the main street of Konitsa there are many roadsigns directing to the "Agia Varvara' chapel which is halfway. Following one of them, on foot, we reach the church. From there, the path continues up to the castle (and beyond). Total time ca. 45 min.
Entrance:
Free entrance


Other castles around
Tower of Hamko
Lachanokastro
Kastraki of Agios Minas
Kastri of Vella