Castles of Greece


Nafplio, Nafplion, Argolis,Peloponnese


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Palamidi hill above Nafplion, Peloponnese
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
Municipality > Town:
City of Nafplion
• Nafplio
Elevation ≈ 216 m 
(Relative Height≈216 m)
Time of Construction   Origin
Castle Type   Condition

Palamidi (Greek: Παλαμήδι) is a huge, well-maintained and probably the best castle in Greece and the finest sample of the Venetian fortifications in Greece.

It was built in 1714 by the Venetians, within the record time of 3 years during their second occupation of the area (1686-1715).

Location & Strategic Scope

Palamidi is to the east of the Acronafplia in the town of Nafplio in the Peloponnese region of southern Greece. It is built on a a 216-meter high hill with the same name.

The strategic advantages of the location are obvious: it controls the city of Nafplion, the port, the fortress of Acronafplia and the entrance to the gulf of Argolis.


The fortress was a big and ambitious project, but was finished within a relatively short period from 1711 until 1714. The works were started by Morosini the conqueror of the city and were carried on till the last years of the Venetian occupation (1686 - 1715). It is a typical baroque fortress based on the plans of the engineers Giaxich and Lasalle. In 1715 it was captured by the Turks and remained under their control until 1822, when it was captured by the Greeks.

Palamidi was besieged the very first year of the Greek Revolution (1821). The leaders made the right speculation that its possesion would offer the Revolution a bulwark and a proper seat for the Government. After many efforts and failures, on the night of November 29th 1822, Staikos Staikopoulos with Moschonissiotis and 350 select soldiers managed to set foot οη Achilles's bastion and subsequently occupy Palamidi. After a while Kolokotronis arrived and made Nauplion's guard surrender and sign a treaty. Every year οη the 30th of November the anniversary of the liberation of the city is celebrated at Nauplion.

Structure, Fortification & Buildings

The bastions of the fortress were originally named after the Greek Proveditori. However, when the Ottoman Empire came around, they captured the castle and town and the bastions were given Turkish names. Lastly, when the Greeks overthrew the Turks the bastions were renamed after Greek saints or ancient heroes. One of the bastions, called the "Miltiades," was used as the prison cell of Theodoros Kolokotronis, a hero of the Greek Revolution.

The fortress commands an impressive view over the Argolic Gulf, the city of Náfplio and the surrounding country. There are 857 steps in the winding stair from the town to the fortress. However, to reach the top of the fortress there are over one thousand. Locals in the town of Nafplion will say there are 999 steps to the top of the castle, and specials can be found on menus that incorporate this number to catch a tourist's eye.

The most important monuments of the site are:

- The Castle. Venetian defensive structure dated to the beginning of the 18th century. It consists of eight bastions surrounded by walls. A long stairway reinforced with small battlements starts at the foot of the NW slope and leads up to the fortress on the top of the hill.

- The church of St. Andrew, built in one of the bastions of the fortress. It is a barrel-vaulted church with the eastern half built under one of the arches supporting the walls. Its free-standing part is two-aisled.

- The prison of Kolokotronis. One of the bastions, the so-called "Miltiades", was used as the prison cell of Theodoros Kolokotronis, a hero of the Greek Revolution.

Current Condition

The castle is impressive, well-maintained and in very good condition.

Legends & Tales

According to the legend, Palamedes set off on the expedition to Troy, but was falsely accused of being a traitor by Odysseas and executed before the fall of Troy. Palamedes' father, Nafplius, took revenge by sending his other sons to seduce the wives of the other commanders. During the long ten year siege, only one wife remained faithful to her husband (Penelope, of course).


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Road map to Palamidi

Approach to the monument:
A road leads to the top of the hill. Alternatively there are 999 stairs from Nafplio…
Open: 8.30-18.30.
Ticket is required.

  • 1711-1714: Building by the Venetians
  • 1715: Capture by Ottommans
  • 1822: Capture by Greek fighters of the Revolution
  • 1840-1926: Prison

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