Castles of Greece


Mileopo, Icaria, Samos,North Aegean

Palaiokastro of Icaria

or Castle of Mileopo  
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Palaiokastro of Icaria
On the hill Gerakas north of the village Mileopo at the north coast of Icaria
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
North Aegean
Municipality > Town:
City of Icaria
• Mileopo
Elevation ≈ 417 m 
Time of Construction   Origin
Castle Type   Condition
In Ruins

A particular medieval castle of unknown origin and uncertain chronology, on a rocky hill of the northwestern coast of Icaria island.

Location & Strategic Scope

Palaiokastro is in a dominant location of the northern part of Icaria island surveying the whole northwestern coast. It is intervisible with the castle of Koskinas and the Kapsalino castle on mount Atheras to the east. It also controlled the route from northeastern Icaria to the southern and central parts of the island.


The fortifications in Icaria are not mentioned in any Byzantine source. The first documented report comes from the Liber insularum Archipelagi of the Italian monk-geographer Cristoforo Buondelmonti who around 1420 reports the existence of two fortified settlements in the island one of which was, most probably, Palaiokastro.

Between 1521-1526, the Ottoman admiral-pirate Piri Reis also describes a stronghold around this position.

It is known that from 1191 the island was ruled by the Venetian house of Bejatiano or Bevazzano we had obtained the rights on it by the Byzantines under the obligation to take care of the defense of the island. That means that they may have built some fortifications.

The Venetians remained there at least until 1247. In 1363, the island became property of the Genoans Arangio who stayed there until the Ottomans captured Icaria in1481-84

Palaiokastro must have been founded sometime in this three-century period of Venetian/Genoan domination.

Structure, Fortification & Buildings

Perimeter of the walls: 552m. Area: 12,460 sq.m.

The thickness of the walls varies: 1.5-2.0m at the NW side, 1.1-1.4m at the eastern side and 0.5-0.9m at the southern side (where the terrain is rocky and steep).

The preserved wall-height is 1.0 to 1.5m at the NW side and 0.5 to 1.1m at the southern side.

There are four gates in the castle. One at the SE wall serving as entrance today and the other three at the NW side one of which was protected by a tower rising at 2m today.

Inside the castle there are foundations of more than 30 buildings of rectangular layout and one church that is dated at later periods.

A rectangular building 16.5✖2.20m is located in the middle of the interior under the peak of the hill . Its preserved height does not exceed 1.20m. The coating on the inner walls of this building indicates that it might have been a cistern.


  • Info, data and pictures by Dr. Ioannis Zelepos

    Ιωάννης Ζελεπός, Τα κάστρα της Ικαρίας, στο Αριστέα Καββαδία / Παναγιώτης Δαμούλος (Επιμ.):Πρακτικά Διεθνούς Συνεδρίου "Η Οχυρωματική Αρχιτεκτονική στο Αιγαίο και ο Μεσαιωνικός Οικισμός Αναβάτου Χίου", 26-28 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008, Χίος 2012, σελ. 217-228.

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Road map to Palaiokastro of Icaria

Approach to the monument:
Path from the chapel of Agios Kyrikos and Ioulitti located at the upcountry road Agios Kyrikos-Armenistis, between the villages Plomari and Mileopo.
Free access

Other castles around
Kapsalino Kastro
Koskinas Castle