Frangokastello

Venetian Castles

Fortezza

A unique monument, one of the most exhibited, and a standard symbol of the city of Rethymno is the venetian Fortezza castle. It is the old fortress which dominates on the hill of Palaiokastron, in the heart of the city and it is rumored as the largest venetian fortress ever built. During Antiquity, upon that hill, the acropolis of ancient Rithimna was built, along with the temple of Artemis, both not preserved today.

After the destruction of the city by the Algeri pirate Uluj- Ali in 1571, a need of a better fortification was created, and in 1573, this pentagonical, magnificent fortress was created, according to the modern requirements if the period and was planned to provide shelter to all the city’s population. It is the most impressive structure of the city, visible from every corner, while has a panoramic view on Rethymno and in the western shore. The moment of the sunset when it dives in the sea is absolute magic.

If you are a history worshiper, Fortezza is the perfect place for your wedding.

Frangokastello

It is a venetian castle in the south shores of Crete, roughly 12 km eastern of the Chora Sfakion. It is one of the most famed castles in Greece, mainly because of the phenomenon known as “Drosoulites” which is observed in the field around the castle, sometimes in the early days of spring.

It was built in the years between 1371-74, from the Venetians, who dominated Crete those years, for the protection from the pirates, and from the frequently revolted Sfakians. According to the local tradition, the castle was built during the day by the Venetians, and at night the Sfakians led by the 6 Patsos brothers, were destroying everything was built during daytime. Finally the Venetians arrested and executed the Patsos brothers, and were able to finish the construction of the castle.

In some years, during late May and early June, in the first morning breeze, the Drosoulites appear in the Frangokastello beach. Drosoulites are the ghosts of the dead warriors of Chatzimichalis Dalianis who were killed during defending the fortress in 17 May 1828.

In this battle, 600 brave young men stood against 8000 Turks for a week, but in the end, 335 were killed, along with their captain. The dead Turks were 800. According to the legend, the bodies of the Greek fighters were left unburied until a strong wind brought wind from the Orthi Ammos beach and covered their corpses.

Drosoulites appear on the last days of May and on the first days of June as human- like shadows, dressed in black, walking or being mounted, bearing weaponry and they go from the church of S. Charalambos to Frangkokastello, and they disappear in the sea. They walk one behind the other, when there is no wind and high humidity occurs.

It is supposed that many people bared witness of this phenomenon, from time to time. According to some theories, it is caused by a mirage due to diathlasis of the sun rays with the humiditated atmosphere of the morning breeze. The locals believe that the Drosoulites appear only in morning breeze, (hence their name, from the greek drosia: morning breeze) and they never have bothered anyone.

Appears: It is been said, that in 1890 Turkish troops, when they were in Frangokastello, left in panic when they saw Drosoulites. Many years later, when the Germans had conquered Crete, a military patrol (or unit) thought them as rebels and started shooting at them, without of course hitting someone. The shadows do not appear every year, and several years might pass without any seeing.

If you are a history lover, the castle of Frangokastello is the ideal place for your dreams’ wedding.