Castles of Greece


Varsamonero, Rethymno, Rhithymna,Crete

Monopari Fortress

or Bonriparo Castle  
★ ★ ★ ★
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Monopari Fortress
Monopari at Varsamonero, Rethymno, Crete
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
Municipality > Town:
City of Rethymno
• Varsamonero
Elevation ≈ 405 m 
(Relative Height≈150 m)
Time of Construction   Origin
Castle Type   Condition
Rather Poor

Sixteen kilometers southwest of Rethymno, close to the little village of Monopari, there is a hill named Kastellos where the Genoan pirate Enrico Pescatore built in 1206 one of the 15 Genoan castles in Crete.

According to another version, the fortress was built during the second Byzantine Period (1185) when it was known as the Tower of Melissinos.


After the Fall of 1204, Crete was given to one of the leaders of the 4th Crusade, Boniface de Montferrat who sold it to the Venetians for 1000 silver marks.

The Venetians however were busy at the time with their possessions in other areas. like Peloponnese. A Geonoan pirate, Enrico Pescatore, took the opportunity and occupied Crete in 1206. He immediately began to construct and repair fortifications in the island. One of them was this castle, which was named Bonriparo (Stronghold) and later "Monopari" by the locals.

Crete was soon reclaimed by the Venetians who in 1211 paid Pescatore to leave. The Venetian rule lasted until 1645, when the Ottomans came.

Monopari is related to the so-called revolution of “Two Syvritos”, i.e. the two mountainous provinces of Rethymnon, Amari (Upper Syvritos) and St. Basil (Lower Syvritos). The revolt was also known as the revolt of Skordilis and Melissinos. The Venetian castellano (castle commander) of Bonriparo, Pietro Filicanevo, once stole the horses and the sheep belonging to the family of Skordilis. John Skordilis complained to the Venetian Duke Paul Kourino, who ignoresd him. Thus, a great revolution broke out in the two provinces of Rethymnon. The revolution lasted from 1217 until 1236, when the Venetians agreed for equal rights and privileges to the families of Skordilis and Melissenos.

Structure, Fortification & Buildings

Monopari was protected by a long wall only at the northern side. The other sides did not need any fortification, since the rough terrain makes the approach from there impossible.


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Road map to Monopari Fortress

Approach to the monument:
There is a dirt road from Monopari village -not in good condition. On foot the castle is 20min from the exit of the village.
Like most remote and neglected fortifications, entrance is not an issue. The difficult part is to approach the castle and walk around inside.

Other castles around
Fortezza of Rethymno
Tower of Giannoudi
Koules of Kalonyktis
Koules of Koxare
Tower of Maroulas I
Tower of Maroulas II
Koules of Meronas
Koules of Plakias
Koules of Potamoi