The Castle of Amfissa
View of Amfissa with the castle. From Dodwel Edward, Views and Descriptions of Cyclopian, or, Pelasgic Remains, in Greece and Italy. London, Adolphus Richter, 1834. (pic from travelogues.gr)
At the foothills of Mount Elatos, on a rocky hill at 225m above the city the Castle of Amfissa is situated. It is also known as Castle of Salona or Castle of Oria. The castle was built at the location of the ancient acropolis of Amfissa, one of the most important city-states of Central Greece. Its early fortifications date back to the 7th c. BC. Pausanias mentions that the bronze statue of the goddess Athena, which had been brought from Troy by the King of Aetolia, Thoas , had been placed there.
The citadel has a long history from the Pelasgians to the Greek War of Independence of 1821. During that time the castle was attacked, besieged, destroyed and restored on multiple occasions. In 338 BC King Phillip II of Macedonia completely destroyed the city and the castle. The Visigoths captured the Castle of Amfissa in 396. Attila and the Huns attacked in 448. In 996 AD Samuel of Bulgaria destroyed the town and slaughtered its people.
In 1205, after the Fourth Crusade and the establishment of the Latin Empire, Boniface of Montferrat, the Frank king of Thessaloniki, conquered the region of Central Greece. Amfissa became the seat of a lordship under Thomas I d’Autremencourt.
The occupation of Amfissa and its Castle by Franks was followed by the occupation of the Catalans and the Ottomans. In 1402, the castle was under the control of the Despotate of Mystras. Finally in 1410 the city and the castle were occupied by the Ottomans until 1821.
During the Greek War of Independence, Amfissa was the first town of Central Greece to revolt. On March 27, 1821, the military commander Panourgias attacked the Ottomans of Amfissa. On April 10 the Greeks captured the Castle and liberated the city. It was the first fortress that fell in the hands of the revolted Greeks, and become a symbol of freedom.
Two legends are associated with the castle of Amfissa. The first one is about princess Maria of Salona the youngest daughter and heir of the Catalan Count Louis – Frederick and his wife Countess Helena Asanina Kantakouzene. At the highest northern – eastern end of the Castle there is a cliff that local tradition named the «Jump of the princess». It holds its name from the suicide of the princess who fell off the cliff in order to avoid falling into the hands of the Turks and disgracing her.
Another legend is associated with one of the names of the castle. Back in the 14th century the Dowager Countess Helena Asanina Kantakouzene, the widow of the Catalan Count Louis – Frederick, was erotically involved with a Frank priest named Stratos. The priest had an important influence on the countess and governed the city of Amfissa on her behalf. He was a vile, violent and greedy person. According to the legend he kidnapped a beautiful young girl named Areti, the niece of the bishop of Amfissa Seraphim. He locked her away in the castle and when her uncle the bishop incited the Christians against him and requested the assistance of the Turks, he killed her. That’s why the castle of Amfissa is also called Castle of Oria (=beautiful), to commemorate the cruel death of the beautiful young Areti.
The fortification wall has a length of 650 meters and covers an area of 5 acres. Several buildings are saved mainly of the Frankish period. Visitors can see the boulders of the Pelasgian period, the ruins of churches of the Franks and of the Byzantines. Two round towers of the Byzantine period (the best preserved called “Tower of the Queen”) and several of the gates of the Castle of Amfissa are preserved until today.
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https://thedelphiguide.com/the-castle-of-amfissa/https://thedelphiguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Castle-of-Amfissa2-800x588.jpghttps://thedelphiguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Castle-of-Amfissa2-150x110.jpgAround DelphiHistoryWhat to doAmfissa,around Delphi,Castle of Amfissa,Castle of Orias,Castle of Salona,Delphi area,what to doView of Amfissa with the castle. From Dodwel Edward, Views and Descriptions of Cyclopian, or, Pelasgic Remains, in Greece and Italy. London, Adolphus Richter, 1834. (pic from travelogues.gr) At the foothills of Mount Elatos, on a rocky hill at 225m above the city the Castle of Amfissa is situated. It...The EditorThe Editor[email protected]EditortheDelphiGuide.com