Kefalonia Castle of Assos

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Location: Assos

The Venetian Castle of Assos in Kefalonia is a proclaimed European Heritage Site and one of the two remaining fortresses in Kefalonia, indicative of Venetian Military Architecture and one of the largest castles in Greece.
he Venetians constructed it in the 16th century on top of four bastions, with two more being added later. Its main purpose was to protect the island from invasions which were taking place frequently by the pirates and the Ottomans. It became the capital of Northern Kefalonia due to its strategic location. When the Venetians captured Lefkada from the Ottomans, it lost much of its usability as a defensive building, and Argostoli became the capital instead.

From 1585 until the fall of the Venetian Democracy (1707), it was used as the residence of the Venetian High Commissioner (Provedditore Generalle da Mar/ Provleptis). Initially, it housed around 200 homes and 64 buildings.

After 1920, it served as a prison. It was notoriously inescapable since the fortress lies 155 meters above the sea, surrounded by very high and steep cliffs. In the beginning, it functioned as a rural prison inhabited by small-scale offenders and later by serious offenders with long sentences. After World War II, the inmates were political prisoners.

Fortunately, its outside walls escaped the devastating fate of most of the buildings in Kefalonia due to the great earthquake of 1953.

Its residents, however, abandoned it and the prison closed. It has been uninhabited since 1963 when the few rural families (named Kastrinoi - people of the castle) still residing there left the area.

Its outside walls span across 2.000 meters. Its shape is rectangular, a typical example of Venetian and military architecture. It has 4 corners with bastions named: Saint Markos, Saint John of the Count, Respuna, and Mora. There is a fifth one, between Respuna and Mora, named Santa Maria, and a sixth one, north of Mora, named Kabusa.

Through the ruins, you can see the abandoned catholic church of Saint Markos, the abandoned House of the High Commissioner, and the repaired buildings of the rural prisons. Its main attraction is the Lion of Saint Mark, which lies at the entrance of the fortress. The orthodox church of Prophet Elias was built in 1800 on top of the ruins of another church. Furthermore, six or seven Venetian canons are visible North and West of the walls.

The castle is open for visiting every day, from 09:00 to 17:00, and on Saturday, from 09:00 to 16:00. It is accessible through its two gates. You can reach the east gate through a 2km paved sidewalk. The south gate (Portello) is at the end of an 800-meter-long path and is a great option if you want to walk among olive trees. You have to keep in mind though, since there are no facilities in the wider area, to bring a hat and water with you, to protect yourself from the heat.
The entrance is free.

In addition, make sure to bring your camera or a pair of binoculars to capture your journey through history and enjoy the most breathtaking view!

How to get there

The Castle of Assos is located in Assos Village.

Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked Kefalonia transfer service, which provides transfer by taxi, minibus, or private VIP car and arranging a pickup directly from the airport, port, or your hotel. Alternatively, there's the option of arranging a pickup by a local driver directly at the following numbers: 0030 694 511 8866, 0030 694 530 6145, 0030 699 561 9605, or booking your taxi online.

Car rental: There's the option of renting a car in Kefalonia and picking it up directly from the airport, port, or your hotel. Using a rental car allows visitors to discover Assos Castle and many other places of interest in Kefalonia at their own pace.

Public transport: The central bus station of the island is located in Argostoli. There are buses from Argostoli to Assos during the day. Consider that time schedules might change according to the season. Check the official timetables here.
Tip: Since buses don't always stop at every scheduled stop of their itinerary, our advice to visitors is to inform the driver about their final destination, so that he makes a stop there.



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