The fortress of Agios Nikolaos

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The fortress of Agios Nikolaos

The fortress of Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) is a single stronghold, located in Mandraki, Rhodes. It is the first fortified tower a traveller will meet when entering the harbour. Mandraki was the military harbour and was guarded by the fortress, built between 1464 and 1467 by the Grand Master of the Knights of Agios Ioannis, Zacosta at the northern tip of the homonymous pier. It is built in a place where there was probably the ancient byzantine church of Agios Nikolaos. During the period preceding the conquest of Rhodes by the Ottomans (1522), the fortress of Agios Nikolaos underwent continuous renovations aimed at its maximum reinforcement. It was damaged by the siege of 1480 (by the Turks) and the earthquake of 1481 and it was rebuilt by M. D 'Aubusson, who strengthened it with the new powerful complex that surrounds it.

During World War II the Italians used the fortress of Agios Nikolaos to protect the port of Mandraki. On the roof of the tower there is a lighthouse of the 17th century. It is one of the oldest and most historic lamps in the Mediterranean, operating since 1675. The modern lighthouse was built in 1863 by the French Ottoman Lighthouse Society. The fortress of Agios Nikolaos, however, is not the only ornament of Mandraki. On the eastern side of the pier there are three old windmills and at the entrance of the port the well-known bronze deer.