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Scope, Methods & About us
This site is about Greek Castles.
The aim is to build a database with all Medieval and post-Byzantine Castles, Fortresses, Towers and City walls in Greece, and present it on-line.
Ancient fortifications are out of scope. The time period that is covered is from the beginning of the Middle Ages (4th - 5th century A.D.) until the 19th century.
When finished, the site will contain complete data for approximately
600 1000 fortifications. For the moment, it contains 820.
There is no other similar site in the web. Generally, there is a scarcity of resources about the Greek castles on-line and in bibliography. This project has the modest ambition to fill the void.
The subject of Kastrologos is the fortifications in Greece which meet the following criteria:
- They were constructed and used primarily for defensive and military purposes. Therefore:
- Constructions that were primarily used as residence are not included. Nor are included remains of medieval towns without fortifications
- But: the site includes medieval walls, walled cities, fortified monasteries.
- They were used in the period between the 4th and the 19th century.
- Forts that were not in use after the end of Antiquity are not included. Nor are included fortifications of the 20th century.
- On the other hand, the site includes ancient forts that were in use during the Middle Ages too (e.g Argos). Several castles built by the Ottomans in the 19th century are also included. The youngest forts in the site are those on the Greek-Turkish frontier-line which were built after the liberation of Thessaly in 1881.
- Some recognizable remains are preserved. Therefore:
- Castles that are completely destroyed are not included. Nor are included legendary castles the exact location of which is not known.
- The site includes castles that are in ruins if their remains can still indicate that this was once a medieval castle. Without this concession, the castles in the site would be less than 300.
The number of castles in Greece that satisfy the above criteria is around 1000. It is likely to be much higher. In any case, all of them will be included eventually in Kastrologos.
There is however a Greek monument which meets all the above criteria, but it will not be included: the Acropolis.
The concept is to have one page for each castle with complete information and visual material. Each castle will have its own dedicated page. Both in English and in Greek. This part is the core of the site.
Furthermore, there are the "finders", i.e. pages to help locate a castle by type, by origin, by region. There are also Maps to help locate castles. The maps, in addition, provide a good picture of the geographical distribution of castles in Greece.
A special-purpose page is the "submit a castle" page. A form and related instructions are included there to encourage the input of castle information by castrophiles and other friends of the site interested in contributing to this project.
Finally, there are some pages in the site with general information about fortifications, about terminology, about classification and about us.
The webpage for each site includes:
- Basic info for the castle identity, such as name, address, type, historic origin.
- Access information: about the route, the visit and the entrance to the castle
- Extensive information about the history, the building, the architecture, the legends.
- Road map and satellite view through Google applications.
- 3D model of the castle (usually with SketchUp)
- Panoramic view
- Layout of the castle
- Video through YouTube.
- Information for neighboring castles and other interesting locations in the area.
All the above information is far from being complete -even for the castles already in the database. The project is always in progress and the site is gradually and steadily enriched.
We use 3 ways to collect castle info:
Desk ResearchThat means gathering of information from existing resources, already available in print or published in the Internet. This exercise produced the bulk list of the Greek castles. Also, it provides the first-level information about them and generates useful leads for the fieldwork in the next phase.
Field ResearchResearch with in situ surveys involving personal visits to the castles, primary collection of data, direct measurements and, possibly, search via local sources.
This part will provide info not available otherwise and will help locate fortifications not found during the desk research (will be plenty of those).
This procedure will be long, costly and, in most cases, physically demanding.
Third-party InputThe project of creating a database for the castles in Greece is huge. There are not enough resources to accomplish this without external help.
At some point, after the initial desk research and fieldwork, we shall systematically seek input from other sources such as local authorities, state institutions, universities, cultural clubs, amateur researchers, mountain clubs etc. To facilitate this input, a special (form) is available in the site for online and direct "submission" of castle data.
The effective roll-out of this part of the project would be crucial for the overall success of our endeavour.
The design of Kastrologos (www.kastra.eu) started in January 2012. A first version was online in March 2012.
In October 2012, the site took its current form and the number of recorded castles reached an acceptable level (230).
The castle database is a MySQL database. The "front-end" application is PHP.
A website must have a name. Reference to it as "Kastra" or "kastra.eu" would not be very efficient. So the name "Kastrologos" was chosen. It is the title of a book by Fotis Kontoglou, a Greek painter and intellectual of the last century who wrote a poetic book about the castles of Greece (it is not available in any other language, I think).
Kastrologos is a personal project: My name is Manolis Papathanassiou. I am a Mechanical-Electrical engineer and, among other things, a Web developer.
Occasionally, many friends of the site have helped by sending information and photographs. I would like to thank all of them very much and especially Mr. Ioannis Dedes who has been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of this search.
Finally, here is a video with some of the castles (basically, a sequence of pictures):