Castles of Greece


Thodorou, Chania, Crete

Thodorou Forts

or  Castelli Turluru  
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Thodorou Forts
Islet of Thodorou, Bay of Chania, Crete
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
Municipality > Town:
City of Chania
• Thodorou
Elevation ≈ 120 m 
Time of Construction   Origin
Castle Type   Condition
Coastal Fortress  
Rather Poor

On the island of Thodorou, there are the ruins of two Venetian fortresses. The island is uninhabited and situated just a few miles to the north west of the port of Chania in Crete.

The island, with an area of 697 square meters, is now known as Agioi Theodoroi (Saints Theodore) or Thodorou, but it has changed name many times. It should be noted that in Chania it is always referred to in the plural, as “ta Thodorou” (in the plural).
This may be because, apart from the large island, there is also a tiny islet next to it, known as Glaraki (“little seagull”), so the locals refer to both in the plural.


In 1574 the Venetians built a fortress on the highest point of the island and named it Turluru. They also built a smaller one lower down, naming it San Theodoro. Both fortresses were polygonal and cost about 21,500 ducats, a large sum at the time, but the Venetians were convinced for the strategic importance of the location.

A guard of 70 men lived on the island permanently to protect the coast of Platanias. In 1645, however, the Turks attacked and 70 men proved too few to defend the little island. When they realized the battle was lost, they preferred to die rather than surrender and blew themselves up together with a many invading Turks.

In 1650 the islands passed back into Venetian hands until 1699, when the Turks recaptured them (50 years later from the rest of Crete) and held them until the liberation of Crete.

Today only a few ruins remain of the castles and the older little church of Agios Theodoros.

Collateral stories

Thodorou today is a Natural Reserve for the protection of the Cretan Ibex, the famous Kri-kri. For this reason, it is forbidden to go ashore, except for one day a year (8 June), when visitors are allowed to take the path to the church. The wild goats were moved to Thodorou from the mountains of Crete, to allow them to breed in peace, far from poachers and other dangers. About 80 ibexes are now thought to live on the island, protected by a special -and armed- guard. The isolated community of Kri-kri at Agios Theodoros has been used to provide Kri-kri to zoos around the world

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