The Fortress of Kavala is located at the top of the historical center - the Panagia peninsula. It was built on the remains of the Byzantine Acropolis of Christoupolis (former name of Kavala) which had been destroyed in 1391 by the Ottomans. It took its present form in the first quarter of the 15th century and its scope was to control and protect the critical route of the Via Egnatia. Over its centuries-old history, the citadel has gone several reconstructions and interventions by the Byzantines, Venetians and Turks. The fortress of Kavala is well-preserved to this day and is the landmark of the town and one of the most interesting attractions. Together with Kamares are the two most photographed spots of the town.
Structure, Fortification & Buildings
The town of Kavala was surrounded by a defensive wall since the 5th century BC. Extensive modifications and repairs were carried out repeatedly during the reign of the Roman emperor Julian (361-363), the Byzantine emperor Justinian, and then in the 10th century under the leadership of the Byzantine governor Vasily Claudon. A major modification took place in 1307 during the time of Andronicus II Palaeologus. During this period, a citadel was built on the top of the hill on the ruins of ancient buildings, and also massive defensive walls were erected, encircling almost the entire hill.
This irregularly shaped fortification covers an area of 13 hectares and is built with local granite stone mixed with marble and bricks. Entering the main gate, a massive wall with an impressive cylindrical tower divides the citadel into two parts. The internal part was the most crucial part of the fortress, as it enclosed the vital defensive facilities. The enclosure was reinforced by round and square towers as well as with bastions, mainly on the most vulnerable north side. The perimeter is enclosed by a 449 meters long wall which climbs a steep 64 meters’ height slope. The wall had four gates to facilitate people get in and out the fortress.
Visiting the Fortress
A promenade among the narrow streets of the Old Town of Kavala leads always to the top of the hill and the famous castle. Visitors can see the central circular tower, the guardhouse, the cistern and the arsenal and food storage that was converted into a prison in the 13th century. They can interact with digital touch screens that will take them back in time and space and can enjoy magnificent views of Kavala from the top of the circular tower. The fortress is also home to an open-air theater where in summer various cultural events are held. It is open from Monday to Sunday from 08:00 -21:00 (May-September), 08:18:00 (October), 08:00-16:00 (November-March) and from 08:00-20:00 (April).