Akrotiri Castle on Santorini is one of the five Venetian fortified castles on the island. Its function was to give shelter to the inhabitants during attacks by pirates and hostile armies. The fortress was built around the “Goulas” tower, which was very badly damaged in the 1956 earthquake, and was restored by the then tenant between 2011 and 2012.
Location of Akrotiri Castle
The village of Akrotiri lies on the south-west coast of Santorini.
The fortifications of the castle were placed so strategically that it was impossible to conquer them for many years. Apart from the castle itself, the structure consisted of about two hundred houses with iron doors, which formed a labyrinth difficult to pass through.
As you can easily guess, the fortification towers over the village and provides visitors with beautiful views of the surrounding area.
History of the castle of Akrotiri
Akrotiri Castle on Santorini was built around 1335. Its owner was the Gozzadini family, originally from Bologna, who received it from Nikolas Sanudo, Duke of Naxos. The family was able to keep the castle in their possession for many years, even during the first years of Ottoman rule. The castle succumbed to Turkish attacks in 1617.
The castle was badly damaged in the earthquake of 1956. Today only fragments of the castle remain.
La Ponta Tower
The tower located in the central part of the castle is called La Ponta, which means ‘the top’ in Latin. It is a Venetian structure from the 13th century. In 2011, it was leased and restored by private owners Argy Kakissis and Yannis Pantazis.
In 2012, a workshop, a music shop and an exhibition of tsabouna (Greek bagpipe) musical instruments were opened in the tower. During the tourist season (May to October), intimate concerts using this particular instrument were also organised, and throughout the year, workshops and music classes for children and adults. However, the tower’s lease was not renewed with its tenants and in 2017 they moved their activities to Megalochori.