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Platamon Castle

The Castle of Platamon through History

The Castle of Platamon through History

Platamon Castle

The Castle of Platamon is a castle – city of the Middle Byzantine period (10th century AD) and is built southeast of Mount Olympus. Its tower, which dominates the national road, is the most impressive acropolis in a Greek castle. The castle is located in a strategic position that controls the crossing of the Tempi valley and the road from Macedonia – Thessaly – Southern Greece.

The Castle is built on the site of ancient Herakleia. The place name “Platamonas” is mentioned for the first time in 1198 in a chrysobulo of the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos. Most probably, there was a Byzantine castle on that spot as early as the 10th century. After the Fourth Crusade and the fall of Constantinople in 1204, Platamonas came under the jurisdiction of Boniface Mompferatikos, ruler of Thessaloniki, who, following the feudal practices of the West, ceded it to the Lombard knight Roland Piskia, who is the one who built the castle on the site of the ancient ruins. The castle of Platamon remained Frankish for a very short time. It was conquered in 1218 by the despot of Epirus Theodore Angelos and after the battle of Pelagonia (1259), by the emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos. Around 1385 it fell into the hands of the Turks, who kept it in good condition, as it served as a base of operations against the rebels of neighbouring Olympus. In 1425 the Venetians occupied Platamonas, in an operation during which 100 Turks were burned alive inside the castle. But in 1427 the Turks recaptured it.

Platamon Castle

At the end of the 18th century Platamonas was a chariot village, led by Tsaknakis, while the hero of the ’21 Georgakis Olympios was the commander. In 1770 it was occupied for a short time by the Greeks, as well as in 1825 and 1878. It was bombed by Captain Sahtouris in 1897 and since then it was abandoned by the Turks. On 15-16 August 1941, a New Zealand battalion clashed with German units in the area of Platamonas and the battle ended with the retreat of the New Zealanders after the Germans had bombed the castle.

In the castle of Platamonas we find the 3 basic characteristics of medieval fortresses: the first enclosure, the second enclosure which is also the acropolis and the central tower. It’s natural beauty of the hill, immediately after the Thessalian narrow straits of Tempe and the access to Macedonia, the imposing Mount Olympus, with a rocky outcrop penetrates deep into the blue waters of the Aegean Sea, fully verifying the ancient name of the place, Platamon (rocky edges on the sea). The location, from the most remote antiquity until today, dominates the nerve axis of Thessaly-Macedonia and the ancient roads from the south to the north and every day a multitude of people pass through its underpasses.