Angelokastro Corfu

Angelokastro: People still disagree about the meaning of the name. The most obvious explanation is the literal translation of the name: Castle of Angels (Angelos = angel, Kastro = castle). We do not if know angels hang around at this altitude, nor do we know whether all the residents behaved like angels. However we can tell you that the fort was built on a high rocky promontory. Another possibility and more likely is that when the fort or castle was further fortified in the 13th century by Michael Doukas, a despot, that he named it after his father – literally Angelo’s Castle.

Angelokastro, the guard of Corfu

Situated in the outskirts of Krini with a dominating position looking down on the resort of Paleokastritsa, this is one of the most famous historic sites on the island; in fact it is one of the most important Byzantine fortresses to be found in the whole of Greece. Angelokastro in the early days was one of the most important defences in Corfu. Due to the high altitude - about 300 meters above sea level – it was the ideal spot to monitor the entire West Coast for hostile neighbours and pirates and is location made it very easy to defend. To be extra sure of their safety the tenants built a chapel and dedicated it to the angels Michael and Gabriel, on the site of an earlier three-aisle church, and excavated a cave to create another chapel dedicated to Aghios Kirakis. Mortal men usually do not say no to a little help from above! The monks and local people watched the seas for any enemy advances and then sent word to the local villages and warned the main town and other vantage points on the island by lighting a beacon. During these attacks the inhabitants of the local villages gathered within the walls of the fortress as there was enough room to hold them and their livestock and the nature of its location made attack almost impossible. The fortress also had large underground rooms that were used as cisterns to store water for periods of prolonged attack. When the invaders approached and saw the awesome sight of the waiting forces with their tar barrels and grim faces, they generally were so impressed they turned back immediately and continued to vent their aggression elsewhere. Even the Turks, who have always liked to conquer Corfu, blanched at the sight of the reception committee and gave up their attempts to approach Corfu via the west coast. During times of peace the area was used by the locals as an area for trade, commerce and worship. Due to its historical importance the Greek Government allocated money to restore the fort at the end of the twentieth century.

eExplore Corfu from A high-level

During your holiday at Corfu, you should definitely pay a visit to this castle in Krini. The fortress has now been renovated and is well worth a visit even if it is just for the panoramic views over the west coast of Corfu. Sensible footwear is required, because from the car park you have to go by foot. It will take at least one quarter of an hour scrambling on a very steep and rocky path before you reach the top, however once you have breathing back under control, you will be amply rewarded by stunning panoramic views around you. There are some strategic points where you can look straight down to the beautiful clear blue water crashing against the rocks. It is truly amazing! However, people with vertigo must beware! The ancient structure itself also bears witness to a piece of solid 13th architecture. Archeological digs have discovered artifacts dating to the early Byzantine periods between the 5th and 7th centuries, showing that it has always been an important feature in this area of Corfu. The remains of a cemetery have also been found where graves were carved out of the rock, although the dates of this cemetery are, as yet unknown. During the summer season, the fort is open to the public every day (except Monday) until 15.00 hours.

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