Kastrologos
Castles of Greece

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Nemea, Nemea, Corinthia,Peloponnese

Castle of Polyfengo

or Castle of Agios Georgios  
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Castle of Polyfengo
Location:
On a rocky hill south of Nemea town in the region of Corinth in northern Peloponnese
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
Peloponnese
Corinthia
Municipality > Town:
City of Nemea
• Nemea
Altitude:
Elevation ≈ 590 m 
(Relative Height≈250 m)
Time of Construction   Origin
13th century  
FRANKISH
H 
Castle Type   Condition
Fortress-state  
In Ruins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A Frankish castle on an insulated impressive rocky hill south of the modern town Nemea and close to ancient Nemea.

It was one of the castles guarding the pass of Kontoporeia odos, i.e the ancient road from Corinth to Argolid and to southern Peloponnese.

It was one of the castles of the Castellany of Corinth.


History

The earliest reference to the castle occurs in the French version of the Chronicle of the Morea, under the name Poliphant. Knowing that the French version tells stories until 1305, it is easy to conclude that the castle was built in the 13th century.

In several other historical sources, it is mentioned under a number of different names: Polifant, Agios Georgios, San Giorgio, Sancto Giorgio de Polisengo, S. Zorzi Tropico.

In 1320, it was captured by the Byzantine general Andronikos Asan. It was a period of serious advancement of the Despotate of Mystras against the Principality of Achaea.

Perhaps the Byzantines lost it soon, because it is recorded in the list of the castles of the Principality in 1377 Santo Georgio de Polifengno.

In 1458 was captured by the Turks, in the first campaign of the Mohamed the Conqueror in Peloponnese. It was not used by the Ottomans and was abandoned.


Structure, Fortification & Buildings

Very few ruins remain from the castle which has never been properly researched.

The summit is fortified by a wall and a square tower. A double-arched cistern is located near the tower, at the edge of the cliff. The ruins of a village spread over a sloping plateau below the summit.

On the south side of the hill, at the level of the settlement, there is a fortified cave-chapel with a partially preserved wall painting depicting the Presentation in the Temple. This may be the site of the earliest church built on Polyphengo, which is first mentioned in sources dating to 1402.

On the eastern side of the hill, an impressive post-medieval monastery, Panagia tou Vrachou still stands against the cliff. But this was built a long time after the castle was abandoned and is not related to it except that it is located close to its ruins.


Sources

  • Effie F. Athanassopoulos, “ Landscape Archaeology and the Medieval Countryside:Settlement and Abandonment in the Nemea Region”, published online.

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