Kastrologos
Castles of Greece

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Porto Lagos, Iasmos, Rhodope,East Macedonia & Thrace

Castle of Peritheorio

or Anastasioupolis  
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Castle of Peritheorio
Location:
Southeast of Amaxades, near Porto Lagos, Thrace, North Greece
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
East Macedonia & Thrace
Rhodope
Municipality > Town:
City of Iasmos
• Porto Lagos
Altitude:
Zero Altitude
Time of Construction   Origin
6th century  
Late-BYZANTINE
H 
Castle Type   Condition
Fortress-state  
Rather Poor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

An important Byzantine fortified city. Big towers and imposing ruins are preserved today hidden by dense vegetation.


Location & Strategic Scope

Anastasioupolis is located near the north shore of Lake Vistonida, on the fertile plain at the foot of the Rhodope Mountains. From Roman times it was a staging post on the Via Egnatia known as Stabulo Diomedis (=Diomedes’ Stables); tradition held it to be the pastures of the wild and man-eating horses of Diomedes, which only Hercules managed to capture.

The city was also an important port at a time that the lake was connected to the sea. Nowadays, the ruins are 2km away from the shore of the lake.


History

The name “Anastasioupolis” is first attested by the historian Procopius , and is probably derived from Emperor Anastasius I (491-518), who fortified it for the first time. After being destroyed by Ivan Asan in 1206, and re-founded in 1341 by Andronicus III Palaeologus, the city was named “Peritheorion”.

It was an important city being at the edge of the narrow strip of land between Mt. Rhodope and the sea and thus controlling the route to the interior of Thrace toward Constantinople.

.

It was taken by the Ottomans in the first decades of the 15th century. The city was abandoned around the end of the 17th century. Maybe its decline was the obsolescence of the port due to separation of the lake from the sea.


Structure, Fortification & Buildings

Anastasioupoli Castle is polygonal in shape, reinforced at intervals with round and square towers. The city grew up in the 125,000 sq.m. enclosed by the walls the total perimeter of whichis around 1300m.

The reign of Justinian (527-565) saw two major construction projects at Anastasioupoli. The first was a cross wall built to protect the shore zone against barbarian raids from the sea. The second was a 4km long wall that served a dual purpose: on the one hand it blocked off the crossing between the walls and the mountain, controlling movement on the Via Egnatia, and on the other it served as an aqueduct, thus securing a supply of precious water from the Rhodope Mountains.

In the castle’s final phase the three towers and central arched city gate were decorated with Palaeologus monograms in brickwork and stone carving.

The interior of the castle now lies buried under accumulated earth and lush vegetation.


Sources

  • Website Exploring the Byzantine World -Anastasioupoli-The walls
  • Stavroula Dadakis, website ΟΔΥΣΣΕΥΣ - Greek Ministry of Culture - Αναστασιούπολις - Περιθεώριον
  • Κυριακίδης Στίλπων (1931). Μπουρού Καλέ - Αναστασιούπολις - Περιθεώριον. Θρακικά Ταξείδια, Ημερολόγιον της Μεγάλης Ελλάδος , σελ. 195-220 , διαθέσιμο online
  • Website ΘΡΑΚΙΚΟΣ ΗΛΕΚΤΡΟΝΙΚΟΣ ΘΗΣΑΥΡΟΣ - zzzzzΠεριθεώριον (βυζαντινή εποχή)

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Road map to Castle of Peritheorio

Access
Approach to the monument:
Follow the up-country road Komotini-Xanthi via Iasmos. Turn left at Amaxades (there is a road sign). Follow the paved road in the fields until the end. The fort is not visible from a distance and easy to be missed.
Entrance:
The site is protected by a fence and locked-up. But the fence is down in many places, so there is no problem to enter.


Other castles around
Mesegouni Fortress
Polystylon
Castle of Poroi
Xanthi Castle