An unknown castle that was an observatory of the Argolic plain

An unknown castle that was an observatory of the Argolic plain
An unknown castle that was an observatory of the Argolic plain

We are located in the Mills of the Municipality of Argos – Mycenae, in Argolis. Approximately on the site of the current village, there was during the Frankish period the village of Chiveri or Kiveri. There is also a modern village with this name which is coastal and is located 4 km further south.

The castle is located on a not particularly steep but deserted low hill of 179 meters high which the ancients called Pontine mountain. Until the 18th century the local name of the hill was “Jiveri”.

In ancient times, there was a temple on the top where Athena Saitis was worshipped. Also, the mythical Hippomedon (one of the Seven on Thebes) had his palace there, according to Pausanias.

The hill was particularly important during antiquity as it dominated over Lake Lerni, a place of worship of the liquid element and the place of a great annual sacramental ceremony (Lernaia).

The castle and the fortification

According to, it is a small castle (with a total area of ​​9.4 acres) with a tripartite division, which maintains excellent visual contact with both the Argentinian castle of Larissa and Akronafplia, and is essentially the control observatory of the Argos plain and the southern entrance of the Argolic gulf. The castle is not well preserved, but offers valuable evidence of the fortification art of the Frankish rulers of Argolis in the 13th and 14th centuries.

It had three lines of defense.

The enclosure of the acropolis is hexagonal, with a diameter of about 30 meters, reinforced with towers attached to the corners. There are few towers that survive to a sufficient height and retain traces of the internal vertical divisions. The engraving of the fortification is careful, the construction meticulous and the plan directly refers to other knightly castles of Argolidokorinthia, such as the castles of Agionori, Angelokastro and Allataria.

In approximately the middle of the enclosure part of the rectangular top tower (“donjon”) is preserved, of which the southern half is preserved. The cistern in the south-east corner of the basement of the central tower, covered by two arches supported by an equal number of arches, is the only building preserved in relatively good condition. A second cistern with similar housing survives to the east of the tower.

The width of the towers varies from 2.60 m to 4.60 m. They protrude from the wall by 2.5 m to 3.0 m. The thickness of the wall of the outer enclosure 2m. about.

The outer enclosure of the castle extends to the north of the acropolis for 80 meters, and in plan it presents a relatively irregular outline, especially in the western part, where the post-towers follow the brow of the rock. Eight towers are usually attached to the corners and are not connected to the meta-towers, just like the towers of the acropolis.

The positions of the castle gates are difficult to determine, given the extensive collapse of the post-towers and the piles of stone piled up by the building material.

Inside the enclosure, traces of several buildings have been preserved, of which a single-room temple has been investigated in the northeast, where the wall presents a curved deflection, in order to surround it from the eastern side.

The masonry of the post-towers of the outer enclosure consists of small gray limestones, quarried on site and lightly chipped. The acropolis enclosure and all the towers, of the acropolis and the outer enclosure, are built with the same local limestones and with a strong binding mortar. Only in these places have small carved stones and fragments of tiles and plinths been inserted into the vertical and horizontal joints.

Video: G. Traveller

The article is in Greek

Tags: unknown castle observatory Argolic plain


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