IN THE CASTLE

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No matter which route you follow inside the village, you will end up at the gate of the castle. In front of it, there is a small flat on two levels with a pebbled floor and a nice view. Here is the church of Aghios Georgios. This small area was once the main square of Pyrgos and has retained that character to a certain extent.

The gate attracts attention and invites you to step inside the castle, but it is worth noticing that there is a perimeter road that essentially defines the castle’s complex.

The houses next to the gate do not bring in mind the fortress image they once conveyed being the outer limit of the castle: they have many openings, solar panels, balconies and have been recently refurbished.

From the gate, you pass through to the inner “ring” of the settlement. Going uphill to the right, you will soon reach an opening where a broad staircase leads to the main church of the Virgin Mary.

If you continue your route, you will come upon the inner ring, the southeastern part of which partially gives the sense of an enclosed narrow public space. From the passages (“diavatika”) that cover this route, only one still stands today.

At the centre of the castle stands the church of Eisodia tis Theotokou and a square offering panoramic views. Opposite Panagia, there is the church of Aghia Triada, which houses the Collection of Icons and Relics. Your route continues between the two churches. There is a small triangular flat that retains its authenticity to a certain extent, despite the fact that the houses to the north are in ruins.

Further down along your route, you will come upon a passage, at the beginning of which there is a staircase. That staircase leads to the big flat which defines the northern tip of the castle. From there, you will enjoy spectacular views over the island. This is a cluster of houses which were poldered and turned into a flat after the earthquake of 1956. This flat is divided into two parts of a minor altitude difference.

An alternative return route passes through the northwestern part of the inner ring. The houses located at the outer part are buried and their terraces create gradational levels interconnected with a few makeshift steps.

Source: Study on the castle of Pyrgos, by architect Clairi Palyvou

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