Castles of Greece


Old city, Kavala, East Macedonia & Thrace

Yperkalos tower

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Yperkalos tower
Old city of Kavala, Anthemiou str, attached to the NE wall of the citadel of Kavala
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
East Macedonia & Thrace
Municipality > Town:
City of Kavala
• Old city
Elevation ≈ 50 m 
Time of Construction   Origin
9th century or earlier  
Castle Type   Condition
Not Good

A tower which is attached to the walls of the citadel of Kavala. It was one of the major towers of the Byzantine castle, but without great defensive value for the form that took the castle since the 15th century.

The reason that this tower is presented separately from the rest of the fortress is its specific features and the fact that it is the only Byzantine remnant from the otherwise Ottoman fortress of Kavala (which was built in 1425 from scratch replacing the older Byzantine castle).

The Name of the Castle

“Yperkalos” means very beautiful in Byzantine Greek. The reason for this name is an anonymous inscription, carved in a marble building block invoking divine protection and praising the beauty of the tower with this unusual word: yperkalos.

The inscription apparently was by the hand of a humble builder. This hypothesis is made because the writing is not artistic and it does not include a date or the name of a lord.


The tower has been built in at least three phases of construction with stone blocks of varying sizes and brick fragments. The lower part of the tower belongs to the early Christian period, the highest at the beginning of the Middle Byzantine.

Most probably it was constructed in the beginning of the 9th century when the ruler of the city was Caesar Alexios who reinforced the fortifications in a period of Bulgarian raids.

For the byzantine fortification, the tower was a key building being the joint between the main castle and the wall of Christoupolis (Kavala) that was built from the sea to the mountains north of the city, perpendicular to Via Egnatia.

Later it was the only byzantine fortification that was embedded in the Ottoman fortress in 1425 and in its final construction in 1530.


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