Koules Fortress: The Fort on the Sea


Heraklion:A citywhich unfolds its beauties.

Your strolling around will definitely reveal secret landscapes and picturesque places of great historic importance. You only need to walk around the city.

The beginning and end of your stroll is the Venetian harbour, a hotspot of the city.

Rocca a Mare (“The Fortress by the sea”) or Koules Fortress as called by the locals, has been dominating the entrance of Heraklion harbour for about five centuries and is considered to be the hallmark of the modern city of Heraklion.  

The fortress was constructed by the Venetians during the first years they conquered Chandax. This fort was built to protect the city that was an important commercial hub and a city of great strategic location. It took its final form over the period 1523-1540.

A visit to the Koules Fortress will give you the chance to learn about the fascinating historic events linked to the Cretan War (1645-1669), about the siege of the Big Castle and the history of the fortress, and see the items found in shipwrecks exhibited in its chambers.

Nowadays, the fortress host artistic events, exhibitions, shows and concerts.

Visitors can also enjoy a stroll along the walkaway at the pier, just behind the fort walls.

Opposite the fortress, at the old Venetian harbor, there is the Venetian arsenal, a complex of vaulted shipyards where the Venetian galleons were built in the Middle Ages.

At the marina, visitors can have a cup of coffee while enjoying the view of Koules Fortress. Once reaching the “Eighteen Englishmen Square”, visitors will have the chance to enjoy fresh fish and delicious seafood served by the taverns all around the square.





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