Kastrologos
Castles of Greece

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Pythion, Didymoteichon, Evros,East Macedonia & Thrace

Pythion Castle

or Empythion  
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Pythion Castle
Location:
Pythion, Didymoteichon, Evros region, NE Greece
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
East Macedonia & Thrace
Evros
Municipality > Town:
City of Didymoteichon
• Pythion
Altitude:
Elevation ≈ 20 m 
(Relative Height≈10 m)
Time of Construction   Origin
1330-1340  
Late-BYZANTINE
H 
Castle Type   Condition
Castle  
Relatively Good
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The castle at Pythio, one of the most important and best preserved examples of military architecture in Greece, was also calledEmpythion in Byzantine times and was famed for its impregnable walls. It is set on a low mound at the north-eastern edge of the village Pythio, near river Evros, very close to the Turkish borders.


History

It was founded by John Kantakouzenos (later an emperor) around 1330-1340. It served as residense and stronghold during the civil war against the emperor John III Palaiologus.

The usage of the castle by the Byzantines did not last long. It was one of the first forts captured by the Turks when they invaded in Europe. Later a village developed around the castle.

The place became known later, in the years of the Greek Revolution, because Patriarch Kyrilos VI who was executed by the the Turks in Adrianople in 1821, was buried here.


Structure, Fortification & Buildings

The absence of earlier buildings on the hill should be noted. The fort's central tower, square and imposing, still stands: it was built at the heart of the fortress and dates back to 1331. Another, smaller, tower of the same shape but built at a later date, and the wall between the two towers, have also survived, forming the arched gateway of the main entrance which led to the interior courtyard, with a number of makeshift facilities for the guard or sentry. The larger tower appears to be identical to those in Paleapolis (in Samothrace island) and in Adrianoupolis, as well as those to be found in the area around Constantinople.

The second tower, which was built purely for defense purposes, had three floors and could be reached by stairways and points of access from either the courtyard of the main tower. On the northern boundary of the natural angle of elevation, which was severed by the laying of a railway line and a road, there may well have been a third tower. Part of the exterior fortification of the fortress can be seen in the modern settlement of Pythio today. Besides being a work with a military and defensive purpose, the fort was also built as a splendid monumental facility for the Emperor.


Sources


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Road map to Pythion Castle

Access
Approach to the monument:
The castle is on a hill inside the village Pythion which is located 7km from the Sofikon junction, in the middle of the "main" road from Didymoteichon to Orestiada.
Entrance:
The entrance is free but the castle is not always open. It is protected by a fence and it is usually locked up.


Other castles around
Castle of Didymoteichon