Kastrologos
Castles of Greece

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Kastro, Andravida-Kyllini, Elis,West Greece

Chlemoutsi

or Chloumoutsi or Clermont or Castle of Kyllini  
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Chlemoutsi
Location:
Kastro, Kyllini, West Peloponnese
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
West Greece
Elis
Municipality > Town:
City of Andravida-Kyllini
• Kastro
Altitude:
Elevation ≈ 220 m 
(Relative Height≈60 m)
Time of Construction   Origin
1220-1223  
FRANKISH
H 
Castle Type   Condition
Castle  
Good
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Chlemoutsi is a medieval castle in the northwest of the Elis regional unit, Greece, 6 km south of Kyllini. It was built by the Crusader rulers of the Principality of Achaea as their main stronghold, and is perhaps the finest fortification of the early Frangokratia period preserved in Greece.


Location & Strategic Scope

Chlemoutsi is located on a 220 m high hilltop at a small distance from the sea (around 2 to 2.5 km) in the westernmost point in the Peloponnese with a view of the Ionian Sea as well as Zakynthos and Kefalonia. Its strategic position offers views of large parts of Elis and Achaea. It was located close to the Glarentza Castle (around 5 to 6 km) and Andravida (around 12 to 13 km), the capital of the Principality of Achaea.


The Name of the Castle

The Greek name of the castle, "Chlemoutsi", comes from the medieval Chronicle of Morea and is a corruption of its original French name, Clairmont. During the Venetian period, it was known as Castel Tornese, since the Venetians erroneously believed that it was the seat of the Principality's mint (it was actually located in nearby Glarentza), which minted the silver gros tournois coins.

tornese
Tornese

History

The history of the castle's construction survives in the Chronicle of Morea.

The castle was built between 1220 and 1223 during the rule of Geoffrey I of Villehardouin, with the use of confiscated Church property (which caused friction with Pope Onorios III).

After the death of Geoffrey II Villehardouin, the castle followed the fortunes of the Principality. The Catalan Company under Ferdinand of Mallorca took it in 1315, but he was defeated a year later by Louis of Burgundy. In the beginning of the 15th century, the castle passed into the hands of Carlo I Tocco, ruler of Epirus.

Through his marriage with Maddalena Tocco, the Despot of the Morea, Constantine Palaiologos (the future last Byzantine emperor) gained possession of Elis, including the castle. Constantine established his court there, and it remained one of the seats of the Despotate until its capture by the Ottomans in 1460.


Structure, Fortification & Buildings

The history of the castle's construction survives in the Chronicle of Morea. The castle consists of a large hexagonal keep at the top of the hill, while the more vulnerable sides are further enclosed by an outer wall. The castle was well suited for a princely residence: its halls, arranged around the inner courtyard, were spacious, comfortable, and well-lit, cool in the summer and provided with several fireplaces for the winter months. However, the architectural characteristics of the main keep are out of the ordinary for its supposed period of construction, and more in line with 15th century structures, which has led to uncertainty over its exact dating.

in the last decades, the castle became a preserved landmark. Lights added to the castle in the mid to late 20th century and can be seen as far as 80 km by night. Attractions and festivals occur every summer there.


Sources



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Road map to Chlemoutsi

Access
Approach to the monument:
-
Entrance:
Open to the public: Tuesday-Sunday, 8.30-15.00.
The entrance is free.


Other castles around
Vardiola of Argasi
Tower of Eleousa monastery
Glarentza Castle
Kounoupeli Tower
Peluso tower
Tower of Skafidia