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Bardounias Fortress

COUNTY: Laconia MUNICIPALITY: East Mani

Clouds
25ºC

Century of Construction

9

Architectural Style

Byzantine

Current Condition

Bad Condition

Entry Fee

Free Entrance
It is located north of Gytheio at an altitude of 325m. Built in a strategic position, on the banks of Sminos river, at Bardounohoria in Mani, this unassailable fortress was also the administration center of the region. According to scholars, it was initially a 9th century byzantine fortification which was constructed to control the Slavic enclaves of the region. After 1204 it passed to the Franks and in 1296 to the Byzantines of the Despotate of the Morea. In 1460, the Turks conquered not only Vardounias fortress, but the other fortresses in the region as well. Ten years later the Venetians conquered it again. This fortress was the castle of Kladas family, ally of the Venetians. After being in the hands of the Turks for a short time, the Venetians seized it once again and added to the fortress a tower, warehouses and several edifices. The Greeks conquered it at the beginning of the Greek War of Independence in 1821 and they used it to defend themselves against the troops of Ibrahim Pascha. The fortress that remains today is the Venetian version with, of course some Turkish alterations and additions. It is square-shaped, its north side is naturally protected by a sheer rock, its gate is west with two towers on both sides. Inside there was a mosque, but today is derelict and in bad condition.