The castle of Gramvousa was built in the 16th Century (1579-1584) by the Venetians out of the fear of Ottoman expansionism and it is considered an architectural masterpiece of its kind and became an impenetrable fortress.
The position of the castle was strategic since it protected the entire northeastern Crete. Its size still impresses everyone: it has a triangular shape, with each side exceeding one kilometer. Despite its size and its great capacity (3000 men), it was not used by Venetians in any major battle.
Gramvousa was surrendered to Turks in 1892 after Turks bribed the Venetian commandant.
When Gramvousa returned to the hands of the Cretan Revolutionaries, in 1825, the fort played a decisive role in the outcome of the liberation struggle and became the seat of the Revolutionary Committee of Crete. The island was used as a base for 3 years from 3000 rebels, who lacked food in this place and were forced to become pirates.
The built 137m above sea level on the rocky island, it is one of the most impressive castles in Crete and worth the 15-minute hike up the footpath. Appropriate footwear is advisable & a hat in summer.
The desert island of Agria Gramvousa, where there are frequently strong winds and the steep rocks turn coppery at sunset, according to a certain version, is the island of Aeolus, and Homer in Odyssey describes it as an island “surrounded by an impenetrable coppery wall”. The origin of the name of the peninsula (Korykos, meaning leather bag) is explained by a myth according to which Aeolus tamed the winds and confined them all, except for Zephyrus, in a leather bag in order to help Ulysses’ return to Ithaki.
The rusty shipwreck located near the port of Gramvousa has become a feature of the region and part of its history. This is the ship named Motorship Dimitrios P, carrying 440 tons of cement and destined for North Africa. Due to bad weather, it was forced to drop anchor but again it encountered bad weather and was forced to change its route towards the west coast of Crete.
It anchored on the south side of Gramvousa, about 200m from the coast. In doing so the left anchor chain broke. The Captain was unsuccessful in keeping the boat away from the island and so there it remained shipwrecked while its engines flooded with water.
We offer some great activities to explore Gramvousa Castle and The Shipwreck
- Daily Yacht Cruise In Chania, Crete- Daily Sailing Cruises from Falasarna-Kissamos to Gramvousa & Balos Lagoon