The Kritinia Castle and Village in Rhodes Greece
If you are a history buff, you need a vacation that can give you a tantalizing glimpse of the past. For that purpose, head to the village and castle of Kritinia, a jewel of a spot that is located in Greece on the Island of Rhodes. The name of the village, ‘Kritinia’ means ‘New Crete’ for a very special reason. It was founded by refugees from Crete Island who settled there. The village used to be located right by the coast where Kamiros Skala is currently situated, but it had to be relocated to higher ground after the Byzantine age when pirate raids were a constant threat.
The villagers may have lost proximity to the coastline, but they gained a fantastic panoramic view of the Aegean Sea in exchange, a fact that allowed them to spot incoming raiders long before they made landfall. The hill it is located on lies between the western coast of Rhodes and Mount Attavyros. To get there from Rhodes, you can expect a journey of about 34 miles (55 km) southwest of the island. The original settlement, Kamiros Skala lies 3,5 miles (5 km) from the new location on the edge of the sea. You can also visit the island of Halki from there by availing the ferry service.
While the small village has its charm, it is the castle that lies near it and attracts tourists in droves each year. Erected in 1472 under the authority of Grand Master Giovanni Battista degli Orsini, the castle was meant to protect villagers from Ottoman fleets. The castle was built under the advice of the Knights of the Order of St. John Hospitaller because of its ideal strategic location. That’s because the castle provided them a complete 360° view of the sea which proved invaluable when pirates and other enemies tried to raid the island.
The Construction and Strategic Location of the Castle
The construction of the castle underwent a change in management several times and it has three levels. After Orsini, the construction of the castle was handed over to Grand Master Pierre D’ Subusson who added the tower and gunnery but the fortifications were strengthened by mercenary and adventurer, Basilio Della Scola. The castle was finally completed during the 16th century under Grand Master Fabrizio del Carretto.
Since different parts of the castle were made by different architectural masters of differing backgrounds, it is a mix of Medieval and Byzantine styles. The large, rectangular fortification is an impressive 360 feet in height but it is a shell of its former self today. However, you can still see the original coat of arms of the original Grand Master above the entrance as well as those of the second one who worked on the castle.
Since the castle offered a complete view of the surrounding areas, it was used to send and receive alarms from surrounding islands such as Symi, Chalki, Makri, Alimia among others. Additionally, it was used to control the coastal road that ran southward on the western part of Rhodes.