Kales Fortress

Location: Ierapetra   

Kales Castle in Ierapetra Lassithi: Kales Fortress is a hallmark of Ierapetra. The Venetians built Kales Fortress on the northern sea wall of the port, to look out for enemy ships and protect the harbour from the Arab pirates. This castle is believed to have been built on the site of an old fortress. The fortress of Kales is a remnant of its time, its massive yet simple structure was made of stone without many adornments or decorative work.

According to a local myth, a Genoese pirate called Pescatore originally built Kales Fortress in 1212, as a base for his pirate operations. The earliest reference available is an official script by the Venetian Senate on April 13, 1307, where the construction of the fortress is mentioned. In 1626, Francesco Morosini strengthened the fortress. Another available record of the 16th century mentions that the castle had suffered gravely from the after effects of a horrible earthquake that occurred in 1508. Besides, the fort had suffered further from raids by the Turks.

When the Turks took over Kales fortress, they made many changes, yet they preserved the fortress, as it suited their defense needs. They also retained many of the Venetian elements. The strong construction and the way the fortress was used until the nineteenth century helped the fort to be preserved. Moreover, it is a testimony of the difficulties encountered by the town and the country in the past. Recently, the fortress was restored.

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