Sunday, December 17, 2017

Bourtzi

Bourtzi the castle of the sea is located on the island of Agioi Theodoroi in the middle of the port of Nafplion, about 400 meters from the pier.

The name that is prevalent is "Bourtzi", comes from the Turkish-Arabic language and means "island-fortress" where it is the trademark along with the castle of Palamidi for Nafplio.

The oldest name of the Venetians was "Castello dello soglio" and Porto di cadena, a harbor of the chain, because every evening, five siblings from Acronafplia (known as Ich Kale at that time) Bourtzi chain and closed the harbor for security, while the Turks later embraced it with the "pepper", an underwater barrage of stones so that it could not be reached by large ships.

burtzi view from port

History of Bourtzi

1st Venetian domination
At the departure of Mahmud Pasha, the Venetians fortified the island of Agioi Theodori with a tower and placed guns where, together with the cannons of the bastion, five brothers ensured the city of Nafplio from the sea.

The first fortification in Bourtzi was made in 1473 by the Venetian architect Antonio Gambello under the supervision of Pasqualigo.

2nd Venetian domination
In the period of the second Venetian domination of Nafplio, 1686-1715, the Venetians made corrections and completed the constructions in Bourtzi for its better fortification.

The most important change was the elevation of the central tower and the occupation of the area by sea bases on piles.

The return of the Turks in 1540 that Bourtzi had come back into their hands was resolved by General Morizioni who had begun from Tolo with the aim of liberating the Peloponnese by scouring the castle guard.

The release
During the Greek Revolution, the Greeks called Bourtzi as "Kastelli" or "Thalassopirgos".

The conquest of Bourtzi castle held on 18 June 1822 by 50 gunmen and 150 gunners with their leader Haneke, Anerman, Hastings and Dimitris Kalergis under the command of French Major Ph. Gkiournten where with cannons hit Nafplio Bourtzi and managed to thwart the supply of Turkish by an English ship.

Later, he became the center of defense of the Greeks since the Ibrahim raid by the chieftain Dimitris Sachtouris.

After the liberation in 1826 in Bourtzi, the Greek government resorted twice to escape the civil war of the nation.

burtzi view inside

Architectural elements of Bourtzi

The natural rock of the island was used as an infrastructure for the construction of the castle of Bourtzi, the fortress follows the shape of the island.

It consists of a central octagonal tower (donjon) framed by low semicircular towers, cannon batteries to the east and west to the sea side and to the land side.

It is a three-story tower where communication between the floors was made with mobile stairs for safety and self-sufficiency on each floor.

Its external surface was smooth with shingles and shingle cover.

The entrances are on the north and south, while in the northeast a bay has been formed for safer access to the castle.

Prison and place of execution

Bourtzi ceased to be used as a castle after the arrival of King George I and under his command in 1865 it was dismantled and became the place of residence of the guillotines.

The executioners were convicted and disliked by Nafplion's inhabitants, and because of the outrage they were forbidden to leave Bourtzi only during the executions and with forced escort of police officers.

Bourtzi today

In the 1930s the German architect Schaeffer designed and turned the castle into a hotel, with the result that the interventions markedly altered the monument.

During the Second World War, Nafplion was bombed resulting in damage to Bourtzi. After World War II, it was repaired and operated as a luxury hotel operated by a private individual and affiliated to famous personalities until 1970.

Today its outdoor area is used for cultural events while a part of it is regularly used as a conference space.

burtzi view from island

Access

To visit Bourtzi you should use the small boats located in the port of Nafplion.

The distance from the harbor with these is just 10 minutes and gives you a 20 minute tour.

Ticket price is 4 euros.

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