Above the old city of Nafplio and across the homonymous rocky peninsula, the fortress of Akronafplia, the oldest fortress of the city, is built. It consists of 3 different castles, none of which is entirely preserved until today.
The rocky peninsula of Acronafplia is built on three different levels, each one of which constituted a separate wall of 900m in length, 400m in width and 45m in height. Due to its geographical position, Acronafplia had a key role in all the historical periods of the city, from antiquity to today.
The first walling of Akronafplia is noted in the 4th century B.C. with polygonal walls out of carved stones of the same rock. During the Byzantine era Leon Sgouros continued the reinforcement of the walls and he made Acronafplia a great commercial center of the time.
In 1212 the Franks conquered the city and separated Acronafplia into two castles, the “Castle of the Greeks” on the west and the “Castle of the Franks” on the east. In 1470 and during the first Venetian rule, the provisioner V. Pasqualigo also fortified a third castle, “the castle of Toro” northwest of the peninsula and on a lower level than the others. Moreover, he created a bastion on the west side placing five big canons, today known as “Five Siblings”.
In 1540 Acronafplia was conquered by the Turks and remained under their rule until 1686. They renamed the fortress to “Ich-cale”, which means “inner fortress” and they repaired the walls.
In 1686 the Venetians with Morozini become again the rulers of the city and the residence in the city was restricted to soldiers only. Then the walls were reinforced and the gate of Sagredo was constructed on the north of the “Castle of the Greeks” and the bastion Grimani, which had a carved Venetian lion on.
In 1715 the Turks returned, but in 1822 a few days after the deregulation of Palamidi, Acronafplia comes back to the Greeks. In 1828 the governor I. Kapodistrias repaired the destroyed parts and created a military hospital and the church of Agioi Anargyroi. During Othonas’ reign, the repairs of the forts were completed and military warehouses were constructed.
From 1884 to 1966 approximately the fortress was used as prison, while in the 1960s in the place of prisons a big hotel unit was erected at the height of the Castle of Tors.
The access to the castle can be gained either by car through the street that starts from the Staikopoulos park and ends in the top of the fortress, or on foot through the stairs of the Catholic church which leads to the gate of the castle of Tors. Whichever route is selected, the view that someone has is magnificent since from the one side there is the gulf of Arvanitia and from the other the magic old city of Nafplio.