Castle – The Medieval City of Skiathos
The Castle, the old Castle City of Skiathos: The Castle is the most important historical site of Skiathos and one of the most beautiful, most Religious and energetic areas of the island.
It is about an hour by car from the city but the road stops just before the castle so you will need to walk on the beautiful cobbled path.
It was the medieval capital of Skiathos and was founded around the middle of the 19th century when the Skiathos citizens were forced to leave the ancient city of Skiathos due to constant pirate raids and move to the north part of the island and build their Castle City at the area called Castle.
Although the raids of the Saracens and other pirates at that time had made the lives of the cιtizens a martyr, the castle was a safe refuge due to its natural fortification.
This natural fortress literally hangs over the sea as it is built on an imposing rock with panoramic view. A very high wall with loopholes and cannons, mainly on land, further strengthened the castle.
The communication of the fortress with the land was done with a wooden movable bridge which connected the gate of the fortress with the opposite hill. In case of need, it was dragged to the inside of the castle, preventing the enemy from entering. In front of the entrance there was a portico and from above a turret and a “terrace” with loopholes and the “Zematistra”.
Inside the Castle the life of the citizens was very difficult because apart from the pirates they also faced the problem of lack of space. Thus, the houses were small and built very close to each other. However, there were about 400 houses, 4 parishes and more than 20 small churches as well as a mosque without a minaret and an administration during the Turkish occupation.
From its foundation until 1453 it was ruled by Byzantium. Then until 1538 by the Venetians (and for a short time around 1660) and until 1821 by the Turks. With the founding of the Independent Greek State, the Castle was completely abandoned as the approximately 1500 citizens went down to the sea again and rebuilt the old city using the castle materials, abandoning the old city.
Today, ruined houses are saved. 3 churches (Christ, St. Marina, St. Nicholas), a part of the walls with the Gate, the terrace with the scalpel, the half-ruined mosque and some ruins of the Turkish Command. Also, 2 water tanks and the cannon of “Anagia”.
Here, in the Castle, battles were fought with the Turks at that time and which are brilliantly described by Alexandros Papadiamantis in his short stories…