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Castel Belvedere (Ancient Priansos)

  • Castel Belvedere (Ancient Priansos)


About Castel Belvedere (Ancient Priansos)

The Castel Belvedere fortress, also known as Rizokastro, Rizou, or Chrysokastro, was constructed on the secluded Kastellos hill, which could only be accessed from its southern side, close to the villages of Ano Kastelliana and Kato Kastelliana. This location was once the site of the ancient city of Priansos, a powerful town that minted its own currency and had a seaport at Inatos (now Tsoutsouras).

The castle overlooked the western edge of the Messara plain and was built by Genoese pirate Enrico Pescatore between 1206-1210. During its construction, materials were sourced from the ancient town of Priansos, which was situated in the same location. The name Belvedere, meaning “good view,” comes from the breathtaking views in all directions.

When the Venetians took control of Crete, they renovated the castle and added water cisterns, barracks, and buildings for the local castellana. The Belvedere Castellania encompassed the present-day provinces of Viannos and Monofatsi.

In the initial centuries of the Venetian Era, the Venetians sought refuge in the fortress during frequent native uprisings. Consequently, small settlements (bourgs) began to form near the fort, eventually evolving into the village of Kastelliana. However, as the revolts subsided, the fort lost its significance and was ultimately abandoned.

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  • Fortress

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