Chania Selino Fortress

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Location: Paleochora

Built on a naturally fortified hill near Paleochora, at an altitude of 500 meters, the Fortress of Selino (Castel Selino) dates back to the Venetian Period and, more specifically, the 13th century.

It was initially constructed around 1279 by the Venetian duke Marino Gradenigo, to control the sea routes that led to northern Africa and protect the area's Venetian settlers. However, it had to be rebuilt after being razed to the ground by Cretan insurgents during the revolt of 1332. After the notorious pirate Hayreddin Barbarossa managed to destroy the main gate and storm the castle in 1539, it was left to decay. A large part of it was restored in 1595 by Benetto Dolfin, only to be permanently abandoned in 1653, when the Ottomans conquered the area of Selino.

The most recent construction works took place in 1867 when the Turks began to create a network of fortresses in order to tighten their control over Crete. Its facilities were also used by the Germans during the Second World War.

A few small-scale restoration works were only carried out after 1970, even though the fort had already been declared a listed monument since the 1940s.

The complex was square, with a massive square tower on each corner. Between the towers, there were strait cortines with crenellations. According to 17th-century designs, the castle also consisted of several ancillary buildings, water tanks and a domed church with murals. Archaeological research has revealed the foundations of various buildings, while visitors can still see the walls and the ruins of two towers. The best-preserved one is that on the northwestern corner, which seems to have been two-storeyed. Other notable findings include weapons, clothes, coins, and fragments of magnificent vases crafted in Venetian or Turkish workshops.

Fun fact: Selino means ‘celery' in Greek, and it is believed that it was named so due to extensive celery farming in the region surrounding the castle.



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