Trikala, Trikala, Thessaly
Castle of Trikala
|Region > Prefecture:|
|Municipality > Town:|
|City of Trikala |
Elevation ≈ 125 m
(Relative Height≈30 m)
|Time of Construction||Origin|
Trikala Fortress is situated in a strategic hilltop position in the north of the city.
Due to the significance of the fortress, Emperor Justinian ordered a complete renovation during the 6th century AD. The use of stone blocks confirms that it was built on the site of the ancient citadel (acropolis) which was surrounded by walls in the classical period. In the years of the Ottoman occupation the castle was renovated numerous times.
On the east side of the second bailey (tier) a huge clock tower was constructed by the Ottomans, the bell of which weighed about 650 kilos (approx. 1,433 pounds), and bore the following inscription (in Turkish): “The work of Yusuf Senai, resident of the fortress Tirchala.” This first clock, constructed in 1648, was destroyed and the present clock tower, standing 33m in height, was built in its place in 1936.
Structure, Fortification & Buildings
The exterior wall is polygonal in shape, with five towers and several small turrets.
The castle is divided into three baileys. The first, containing the main entrance with a semicircular stone archway, is on the west side. The east side houses a café and function room from which, for easier access to and from the city, a flight of stone steps was built in 1960.
To the right of the gate in the second bailey, during Byzantine years, the church of the Archangels was built but which has not survived until the present day. According to some sources it burned down in the period 1330 to 1332 and was renovated several years later by Bishop Anthony of Larissa. In the same bailey, an open-air amphitheatre was constructed in 1988; a performance space which is used throughout the summer months for theatrical productions and concerts.
The third bailey is the most important strategically, since it has a prominent position and visual contact with the surrounding area. It occupies the north-east upper end of the citadel, and forms an irregular quadrant-shaped ward with an area of approximately 1,200 sq. m. Preserved in the west of the bailey is a vaulted, one room building that served as a powder magazine.
Legends & Tales
Local tradition holds that the third bailey contains a secret opening, which functioned as an escape route from the castle in times of hostilities. This opening was a tunnel burrowed under the perimeter wall and followed a northeasterly direction, crossing the southern slope of the hill of Prophet Elias, eventually leading to the church of the Assumption in Kalambaka.
- Photographs by George Syros
Translation by N.O.A. Rawle, www.noarawle.blogspot.gr
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