Chora, Serifos, Cyclades,South Aegean
Castle of Serifos
|Chora, Serifos island in Cyclade|
|Region > Prefecture:|
|South Aegean |
|Municipality > Town:|
|City of Serifos |
|Elevation ≈ 230 m |
|Time of Construction||Origin|
The remains of an ancient and, later, Venetian fortified settlement at the top of the hill above Chora of Serifos island.
The location was inhabited and fortified since antiquity. Xenophon mentions that a fully developed town existed there with temples and public buildings. Serifos is a significant site in Greek Mythology, since the mythical hero Perseus lived there and, at the end of his adventures, the head of Medousa was hidden somewhere in the island.
In 1207 Serifos became part of the Duchy of Naxos under the Venetian Marco Sanudo. The Duke split the island in 4 fiefs. He gave half the island to the brothers Andrea & Geremiah Ghizi, one quarter to Domenico Michieli and the last quarter to Pietro Giustiniani. Apparently, around the end of 13th century and the beginning of 14th century, the island was ruled by the Michieli family.
In 1355, after a period of conflicts with Genoans and other Frankish adventurers, Venice appointed lord of the island the noble Ermolao Menotto. Menotto reactivated the iron mines after 1000 years and shared some of the profits with the locals. As a result a period of prosperity started for Serifos, in contrast with the rest of Cyclades. This lasted until 1376 when Menotto was succeeded by the unspeakable Niccolo Adoldo. Adoldo became one of the richest men in Venice by committing crimes against the islanders and taking away all their wealth. Finally the Venetian Senate deposed him and after 1393, the Michieli family ruled Serifos again.
The age of prosperity had gone for ever though. A quarter of a century later, Serifos was almost deserted with the few islanders living “like brutes”, under the constant fear of pirates.
In this situation, the Michielis built the castle in 1434. The Venetians had repaired the ancient acropolis since they first came to the island in the early 13th century. But in 1434 they systematically created a fortified settlement, the ruins of which we see today.
In the following decades Serifos was in the middle of various Venetian-Turkish conflicts and suffered raids and devastation. Finally in 1538 was looted by the Turkish pirate Hayredin Barbarossa and thus the Venetian presence came to an end.
The castle remained the main town of the island for the next centuries until the 19th century, when the population gradually moved to the modern Chora and the castle was abandoned and ruined.
Structure, Fortification & Buildings
The castle is similar to other Venetian fortified settlements of the first half of the 15th century in Cyclades. The center of the castle was protected by 3 homocentric rings of houses, the outer walls of which formed the fortification.
Unlike other medieval cycladic settlements, nothing is left from the mansions and the fortifications of the castle since they were used as a construction material for the building of the Chora in more recent times.
At the top of the castle there is a church (St. Constantine).
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