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Melissa fort

  • Melissa fort


About Melissa fort

Near the picturesque village of Agios Thomas (Saint Thomas) in Monofatsi province lie the remains of one of the most extensive fortification works in the Cretan inland. Situated on a high hill overlooking the valleys of Profitis Ilias and Venerato, the ruins of Melissa fortress, built during the 2nd Byzantine Era (11th-12th century), can be found.

Originally, this structure served as a residence for a local feudal lord who owned the surrounding land, which is still abundant with vineyards. Even today, visitors can admire the wine presses carved into the soft limestone, located about 130m south of the fort.

Under Venetian rule, the fortress was part of a dense and well-organized network of fortifications in Monofatsi province, which monitored all activity in the region. Later, the area west of the fort was home to the small settlement of Melissa, situated next to a spring that still flows with water. Unfortunately, almost nothing remains of these buildings today.

The east side of the fortress is naturally protected by a steep cliff, while access from the west is easily achieved via a dirt road that starts near Agios Thomas. From the west, the fortress was safeguarded by a large fortification wall, which now stands in very poor condition. The main structure of the fort, a small tower, is located in the center of the fortress.

Adjacent to the tower, you’ll find the white chapel of Zoodohos Pigi (Life Giving Spring), which can be seen from a distance. It’s possible that a small monastery dedicated to Virgin Mary (Panagia Melissani) operated at this site during the Venetian Era. A similar fortress is located near Katalagari village, featuring a small tower, fortification walls, and a chapel dedicated to Zoodochos Pigi, known as Castel del Corner.

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  • Fortress

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