Kastrologos
Castles of Greece

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Vonitsa, Aktion-Vonitsa, Aetolia-Akarnania,West Greece

Castle of Vonitsa

  
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Castle of Vonitsa
Location:
Vonitsa, Ambracian gulf in West Greece
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
West Greece
Aetolia-Akarnania
Municipality > Town:
City of Aktion-Vonitsa
• Vonitsa
Altitude:
Elevation ≈ 40 m 
Time of Construction   Origin
1070  
VENETIAN
H 
Castle Type   Condition
Fortress-state  
Relatively Good
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Vonitsa, is located on the southern coast of the Amvrakikos Gulf, some ten miles to the east of Preveza. Because of its commanding view over the gulf and over a small natural harbor, the hill of Vonitsa was fortified by the Byzantines and after them by the Venetians and the Ottomans.


History

milestones:
  • 10th century: first documents confirming the existence of a Byzantine city on the hill
  • 11th century (1070): The Venetians were granted with commercial privileges and the permit to build a castle there
  • 1204: After the fall of Constantinople, Vonitsa becomes part of the Byzantine Despotate of Epirus
  • 1294: Vonitsa is given to the principality of Taranto as dowry
  • 1362: It passed in the dominion of the Tocco family of Kefalonia
  • 1448: The Venetians come back
  • 1479: The Ottomans conquer Vonitsa
  • 1684: The Venetians under Morozini make a new come back.
  • 1714: The Ottomans recapture Vonitsa
  • 1717: The Venetians take back the city and the castle. They remain there until the end of their Republic in 1697.
  • 1697: The French occupy briefly the area before being driven off by Ali pasha in 1698.
  • 1821: The Greek war of independence. The castle was captured for a while by the Greek rebels but the Turks returned and stayed until 1828. Officially, the city joined Greece in 1832.

Structure, Fortification & Buildings

The hill chosen for the construction of the fortress had a cliff on its western side, but on the eastern one it gently slopes towards the sea. For this reason this side was protected by three curtains of walls.

The entrance to the fortress is hidden behind a tower and this is typical of medieval warfare, when attacks were conducted by using battering-rams: a lateral gate increased the exposure of the assailants. The inner circle of walls was strengthened by round towers. There is little space between the outer and the inner walls and the latter are on higher ground; in this way assailants who had succeeded in breaching the former were impeded in continuing their attack.

The last defence was entrusted with a stronghold where the residence of the commander and other key buildings were located.


Sources


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Road map to Castle of Vonitsa

Access
Approach to the monument:
Easy access from the town of Vonitsa. There is a parking lot at the entrance.
Entrance:
Free access only in the mornings, all days except Mondays.

Timeline
  • 10th century: first documents confirming the existence of a Byzantine city on the hill
  • 11th century (1070): The Venetians build a castle under Byzantine permit
  • 1204: becomes part of the Byzantine Despotate of Epirus
  • 1294: given to the principality of Taranto as dowry
  • 1362: It passed in the dominion of the Tocco family of Kefalonia
  • 1448: The Venetians come back
  • 1479: The Ottomans conquer Vonitsa
  • 1684: The Venetians under Morozini make a new come back.
  • 1714: The Ottomans recapture Vonitsa
  • 1717: The Venetians recapture Vonitsa
  • 1797: The French occupy briefly before being driven off by Ali pasha
  • 1821: The Greek war of independence. Temporary occupation by Greeks
  • 1828: The Turks leave
  • 1832: Vonitsa becomes officially part of Greece



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