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Aphrodite of Milos  

Kastro (the Castle)

(13th century – 19th century AD)

The hill of Kastro

Kastro (the Castle), the second highest peak in Milos to the hill of Prophet Elias, a hill of steep height of 280m., dominates the entry of the harbour.

According to some beliefs the residents of Klima, first settled Kastro after the abandonment of the old town at Klima (7th c AD). However, the oldest excavation findings at Kastro date since the 14th c AD and so this opinion is unsubstantiated.
 
The Venetian family of Sanoudoi who since the 13th c AD had dominated the Cyclades and the Aegean first inhabited Kastro.
 
There they built their strongholds, erected their palaces and houses and lived securely far from invaders and the conquered population. They established the feudal system, which was then predominant in Europe, and introduced their coat of arms.

The Castle was divided in two sections. In the highest-uphill section, lived the nobility with their courtesans and was named "Mesa (Inner) Castle". The church devoted to Virgin Mary that was then built at the top of the hill, was thus named “Mesa Panagia”. It was also named Skiniotisa since its icon was found in a bush called skinos.
In the "Outer Castle" -the lower section- lived the noble and the remaining Franks. A low wall separated the Inner from the Outer Castle. 
 

Fortification walls did not exist. The external walls of the residencies, built with no intervening passageways and with no exterior openings, formed a solid wall for protection against raids.

Rosaria, Thalasitra, Skiniotisa

The Main Gate was built on the western side and was named Porta (Door) or Portela. It remained open all day and was firmly secured at night. Guards were set at the gate throughout day and night, constantly monitoring the entry of the harbour.  On the NE there was another gate, the Portopoula, a concealed emergency exit.
During the 15th c, when piracy was quickly rising on the Aegean and the sovereignty of the Turks and the Franks was declining, some locals also inhabited the Castle. The rest of the population exceptionally used the Castle as a shelter in case of raids. 
 

On the 18th c starts the abandonment of the Old Chora because of illnesses, and its residents relocate to the Castle, that then becomes the capital of Milos. But since there was insufficient space for the rapidly increasing population they soon built the village of Plaka and the surrounding villages: Triovasaloi, Trypiti and Plakes.

In the Castle lived the Pilots (“proreis”-navigators), famous experienced Melian sailors. Here they received signals from approaching ships in need of a navigator, through the elevation of a special flag.
The church of Thalassitra, patron saint of the sailors, was built during that period. After the Greek revolution of 1821 and the abolition of piracy, the Castle was abandoned and isolated. 
 

During the 2nd world war, the Germans used it as their strategic base and suffered destructions and bombardments.

The church of Virgin Mary (Mesa Panagia) was completely ruined and was rebuilt on the 20th c. It is celebrated on the 15th of August, a festivity that calls for numerous worshipers and a great occasion for the visitor to enjoy the splendid view.

Plaka and the Castle


   
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