Castles of Greece


Maronia, Maroneia-Sapes, Rhodope,East Macedonia & Thrace

Fortification of Maronia

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Fortification of Maronia
Above the port of Maronia at the southeastern coast of Rodopi region in Thrace
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
East Macedonia & Thrace
Municipality > Town:
City of Maroneia-Sapes
• Maronia
Elevation ≈ 25 m 
Time of Construction   Origin
Early Byzantine period  
Castle Type   Condition
Ancient Castle  
In Ruins

Few remains of a Roman-Byzantine fortification at the port of Maronia (Agios Charalambos) at the southeastern coast of the Rodopi prefecture in Thrace, in North Greece.

The Byzantine city and fortification was limited to a small part of the ancient city, near the sea. From the remaining parts of the fortification stands out a tower with a modern sign next to it informing that this was the Roman gate tower. Roman or not, the fact is that the fortification was in use for many centuries after the Roman period, at least until the 13th century.


Human traces all the way back from the New Stone Ages are found in the area. We find written references to Maronia in Homer, Herodotus and Stravo.

In the 7th century it was inhabited by colonists from Chios. It’s founder according to Homer was Maron, prist of Apollo. The city flourished during antiquity as well as during the early Christian times. Its residents started dealing with trade and the sea from a very early time in history.

During the Persian Wars, Maronia was subdued to the Persians. Later on took part in the 1st Athenian Allegiance, while the 4th century BC was its prime time.

In the roman era, Maronia which was favored by the Romans for a long time meets great commercial and financial rise. It is also mentioned as one of the cities which the emperor Adrian visited.

The city continued its life as an Episcopal center (4th century AD) during the byzantine times as well. However, it shrunk and limited to the area near the sea and developed characteristics of a fortified city-castle. In the 9th-10th century, Maronia followed the general trend of reorganization and rearrangement in the urban centers, while in the 11th century it became an Archdiocese.

From the archaeological findings comes up the fact that Maronia used to be an important agricultural, commercial and industrial center, up until the first half of the 13th century. It is mentioned however in later Venetian maps and a Venetian document of the 15th century.

During the 17th-18th century, the pirate invasions forced the residents to retract from the seafront and to build their settlement 14 klm towards the inland, where the modern village of Maronia is located. This settlement is the only one characterized as “Traditional settlement” in Thrace.

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Road map to Fortification of Maronia

Approach to the monument:
From the NR Alexandroupolis-Komotini, exit to Maronia. We pass the modern Maronia and after 14km we reach the little port where the Byzantine ruins are.
Free access

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