Palamídi, is the fortress that dominates the city of
Nafplion. It's on a steep hill (216 m) over the city.
Between 1711 and 1714 the Venetians built the castle (an amazingly short time), and this is in fact the final fortress of importance the Venetians built outside their own country. Its also considered one of the most impressive. Yet, in 1715, one year after completion, the Turks defeated the castle.
Nafplio is one of the first cities in Greece that won independence. November 29th, 1822 a group of Greek rebels overpowered the Turks in Palamidi, and the next day the city could celebrate its freedom.
From 1840 and for nearly a hundred years, Palamidi was used as a prison, and in conjunction with this the stairs up to the castle was built. It is often said that there are 999 steps, but it's actually "only" 857. The walk is well worth the effort, the view of the city and the Argolic gulf just gets better and better. Start in the morning, when the shadow falls on the stairs, and bring water! If 857 steps are a little too overwhelming, you can drive up to the "back of the castle via 25. Martiou Street.
Palamidi is very well preserved, and it's evocative and beautiful to walk on the worn stones, between the massive walls and buildings. Among other things you can try sitting in the freedom fighter Kolokotronis' jail cell, visit the Ag. Andreas Church (photo left) and admire the eight bastions within the sturdy castle walls. The huge water tanks contribute to the city's water supply even today.
Entrance: 4 Euros. Check opening hours on the sign at the bottom of the stairs before you begin climbing.
Bourtzi - A fortress and the executioners home
The Venetians built the small fortress Bourtzi, located in the Argolic gulf, close to Nafplio, in 1471. Bourtzi was originally part of the city's defenses, and thick chains ran from the castle to the mainland to prevent enemy ships from docking. This explains the name Porto Cadena.
Between 1865 and 1935 Bourtzi were the executioners residence. The reason, of course, was that no one wanted to be neighbours with people of this profession. I remember Bourtzi as a casino, a hotel, and as a restaurant what a contrast! Now its purely a tourist attraction, and has become the symbol of Nafplio.
Small boats head out to the fortress, leaving from the port fairly regularly. The trip lasts only a couple of minutes, and the view towards the city is at its best just before sunset.
Entrance: Free. The boat trip with return, costs 4.00 Euros.