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Ancient Fortress of Aigosthena

The fortress of Aigosthena, at Porto Germeno in West Attica, was built in the second half of the 4th c. BC and is one of the most imposing ancient fortresses in Greece. It stands at the foot of Mt Cithaeron and extends down to the sea at the inlet of Aigosthena, on the east side of the Gulf of Corinth.

The fortress consists of the acropolis citadel and the lower town.  The acropolis stands on a low hill, 450m from the sea. It is rectangular and surrounded by a circuit wall with towers. The east side is preserved to a great height and has four towers and a small postern gate.

The impressive tower at the southeast corner of the acropolis is the largest and tallest tower of the fortress. One of the most important examples of the ancient art of fortification, it is now fully restored and the interior, with three floors, is open to the public.

The acropolis was connected to the port by long walls. Only the north wall survives today, featuring at least seven towers and two gates. The last tower is partly submerged.

Habitation continued into Early Christian times, as evidenced by the fifth-century five-aisled basilica in the lower town. The small church of the Virgin Mary or St Anne was built on the ruins of the basilica in the 11th century.  In the Late Byzantine and post-Byzantine period, the acropolis was occupied by a monastery, of which the ruins of monks’ cells survive, together with the monastery church dedicated to St George.

In 1981, the great earthquake of the Alkyonides Islands in the Gulf of Corinth caused extensive damage to the fortress.

The Ministry of Culture has been engaged in major restoration and consolidation works on the fortress since 2011.

Evgenia Tsalkou, Archaeologist of the Ephorate of Antiquities of West Attica

Video: Yannis Tzitzas

 

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