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The Venetian Castle in Kythira, Ionian: The Venetian Castle of Kythira is definitely the most distinctive monument on the island. It was built from the late 12th century until the early 13th century in Chora during the Venetian occupation. Due to its strategic position, providing good observation points to the Ionian, Aegean, and Cretan Sea simultaneously, they called it The eye of Crete.
The castle was built in different phases but the biggest part was completed by the Venetians in 1503 A.D. who made some additional works and repairs. On the left side of the castle's entrance, there were the prisons whereas on the right side there is a huge cistern that dates back to the Venetian period. In the center of the castle, you can see the ruins of some two-storied houses where the conquerors had settled down.
Inside the castle, there are four churches. The oldest church is the Church of Pantokrator, built in 1545 and featuring impressive old frescoes. However, the biggest church of the castle is Panagia Myrtidiotissa, built in 1580. It was originally Catholic, but in 1806 it became an Orthodox church. The miracle-working icon of Myrtidiotissa was kept in the church for almost two centuries, to protect the city from the pirate's invasions.
In front of the temple, there are the old residences. Today, the building houses the Historical Archive of Kythira. Right next to it there is the church of Panagia Orphane, meaning Virgin Mary the Orphan. Outside the fortress, on the north side, there is a second castle wall with many churches and houses as well. The castle has many cannons dating from the Venetian, the Russian-Turkish and the English period.
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