Castles of Greece


Machairado, Zakynthos, Ionian islands

Paliokastro of Machairado

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Paliokastro of Machairado
On a hill 2 km south of the village Machairado in Zakynthos island
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
Ionian islands
Municipality > Town:
City of Zakynthos
• Machairado
Elevation ≈ 390 m 
(Relative Height≈130 m)
Time of Construction   Origin
10th or 11th cent.  
Castle Type   Condition
Piles of stones & Ruins  
In Ruins

An ancient fortification since perhaps the 5th or 4th century BC which was also in use in the Middle Ages.

The thickness of the ancient walls was around 2m and the materials were large blocks of unhewn stones. The layout is peculiar with a central dividing wall over the summit and a section missing at the south side. Although it is of a substantial size, the masonry and building style of the wall are not very elaborate, which might indicate that it was built in haste or, perhaps, it remained unfinished.

Later, in the Middle Ages, at the top of the hill of the ancient site, a fortification was created which at some points made use of the ancient walls covering only part of the much larger area of the ancient fortification.

The site was researched in 1991 by the 20th Eforeia of Byzantine antiquities. The medieval supplement was dated, then, in the 10th or 11th century AD. So it was a Byzantine fort that was built, perhaps, because of an outbreak of Saracene raids on the Ionian islands.

There are no historical references or medieval findings from the site which means that it was either abandoned early or it was never used systematically by the military or the locals.

The hill was covered by dense vegetation that was burned in a 2010 wildfire. As a result, the ruins are more visible nowadays.


  • Gert Jan Van Wijngaarden, Georgia Kourtessi-Philipppakis, Nienke Peters, New archaeological sites and finds on Zakynthos , Pharos, Journal of the Netherlands Institute at Athens, 2013
  • Information sent by Mr. Ioannis Dedes

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