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The Venetian Fortress of Heraklion, Castello or Rocca a Mare, known as well with its Ottoman name as “Koule” reopens its gates to the public after a 5 years of restoration work!


The visitors have the opportunity to travel in time after passing its great gate. They can smell the gunpowder and hear the sounds of the cannons of Rocca a Mare defending the city of Candia, the Great Fortress, from its invaders.

Your trip but will not stop there … At the end of the hallway, the finds of unique excavations are waiting for you, found in the underwater surveys conducted in Heraklion area in 1976 by the famous researcher of the seas, Sack Yves Cousteau.


Some Historic Tips about The Castle:

  • Built by the venetians in the first years of the Venetian rule, served to protect the harbor and city, which was of great strategic importance in the region.
  • The initial building was low and got destroyed by an earthquake in 1303 and got repaired.
  • In the beginning of the 16th century the old fort was pulled down and a new one was built in its place, that is what remains until today, built during the period 1523- 1540, as per the description on its northern wall.
  • The Fort is in a shape of a square. The structure of which consists of strong thick walls. The width of the exterior walls at ground level are up to 8,70 m thick on its three sides and 6,9 m thick on its fourth side. The interior walls have a different thickness varying from 1,36m to 3,00 m. The roof of the ground floor is vaulted, constructed with large light wells leading up to the dome.
  • On all four sides of the exterior walls were marble reliefs on the winged lion of Venice- trademark of the Venetian rule.
  • The entrance of the fort is at the edge of the western pier and it was heavily protected.
  • In 1630 there were 18 cannons on the ground floor and another 25 cannons on the roof.
  • On the ground floor were most of the gun powder magazines, water reservoirs, a jail and several storage rooms for food and munition. For the needs of the guards and the church there was a mill and a bakery. There were also barracks for the guards and houses for the officers and administration.
  • The name of the Fort as “Koule”, which perdominates today, comes from the Ottoman “su kulesi”, meaning the castle.