If you have always wanted to visit a place rich in history, the island of Rhodes in Greece deserves to be on top of your bucket list. The Old Town of Rhodes is among the most well-preserved medieval cities in the world. It serves as the home to numerous archaeological sites, monuments, monasteries, and castles. Kritinia Castle is one of the castles you can find on the island.
Kritinia Castle, or Kastellos as the locals call it, is a type of Venetian castle that was constructed on a hill during the 16th century approximately 131 meters on top of the village of Kritinia. The castle has long been considered a true gem of the village because it provides a panoramic view of the Aegean Sea, Chalki island, as well as the islets of Alimia, Makri, Strogyli, and more.
Thanks to the strategic location that allowed comprehensive and easy monitoring of the sea, and also the activities of the pirates and other potential enemies as a result, the Knights of the Order of St. John chose the site for building a castle. The castle was originally divided into three levels, with each of these belonging to a different Grand Master.
When 1480 came, the Ottoman Turks sent around 100,000 soldiers all over Rhodes in an attempt to conquer and invade the island. A large number of troops was also sent to Kritinia in an effort to take over the castle.
But despite the fact that the Knights were largely outnumbered by the Turks, and after several bloodshed battles, the Turkish troops retreated in the end, leaving Kritinia Castle damaged and ruined. However, without wasting any time, the Knights worked right away to restore the sustained damages of the castle and brought it back to its original form and glory.
To this day, the remnants that are left for visitors to see are the outer defensive walls or the shell of Kritinia Castle. Within the walls, however, you can still see the relics of the chapel devoted to St. John. This is also where you can see wall paintings that date back to the 16th century that notably managed to stand the test of time.
The good news is that the Greek Archeological Services came to realize the important role of the castle in the history of the island. They decided to have a reinforcement program with the purpose of renovation and conservation of the damaged portions of the church and the castle alike.
The coats of arms of two Grand Masters of the Medieval have also remained. One of these belonged to Grand Master Origny while the second one belonged to Grand Master D’Amboise.
But even if there is not much left of the castle itself, you don’t have to worry because your trip to Kritinia Castle will still be more than worth it. The moment you reach the top, you will surely fall in love with the panoramic view offered by the strategic location of this ancient castle.
Kritinia Castle is also open to the public 24 hours a day. This means that if you plan your visit right, you can expect to be treated to a scenic view of the gorgeous sunset. There are two options available for you to choose from on how you wish to visit the castle. One is for you to explore the castle by yourself, and the second one is for you to take a tour which includes Kritinia castle as among the attractions to be visited in the itinerary.
Once you are done with your exploration of Kritinia Castle, you can embark on a discovery of the village where you can find a selection of traditional tavernas and cafes perfect for grabbing a sumptuous meal as you take in the breathtaking view of the area. Skala Kamirou is just a stone’s throw away from the village of Kritinia. This is where you can enjoy a relaxing time at the beach, or you can also drop by at the Ancient Kamiros to see its remains.
The castle of Kritinia is located 48.6 kilometers from the town of Rhode or approximately a 1-hour drive. The hill where the castle and the village of Kritinia are located are on the bus route. But for you to be able to get to the castle, there is a need for you to cross a small dirt road that will lead you all the way up to Kritinia Castle.
If you are not really fond of the thought of walking all the way up, you might want to rent a car instead. It is also recommended that you wear your most comfortable closed-toe shoes, such as trekking shoes or sports shoes. This way, you can ensure that your climb will be easier, safer, and more comfortable.
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