This mountain castle is considered to be the fortress mentioned in the Aragonese Chronicle of Morea as Estella (translation of the Greek word Astros) and has become known by the popular name “Castle of the Hour”, which is found in other parts of Greece, due to the popular tradition regarding its occupation The castle of Estella or of Oria was built by William Villarduinos to subdue the disobedient Tsakonians in Sitaina, Kastanitsa and Prasto, where the Tsakonians were, “on the mountains” suso en law montanyas, as mentioned in his Chronicle.
The Castle of Estella the Hour is located on the Xerokambi plateau, on a steep hill like a “natural pyramid”, between the villages of Agios Ioannis and Agios Petros, also known as the castle in Xerokambi.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Estella Castle in Xirokambi in Agiannis “is protected by the Archaeological Law 3028/2002”.
“The fort has been built in a strategic position, on the only road that connected Argolida with Laconia and the coastal road with central Kynouria. During the years of Ottoman rule, the name Estella was forgotten and the people associated it with the widespread myth of the Hour or Beautiful Lady ………… ..
The castle is located on a rocky hill, making the castle inaccessible. On the western smooth slope, there was a double fortification enclosure, which surrounded the hill, which in the east ends at the waterfalls of Lepida. The outer wall was built of dry stone and enclosed inside a large settlement with more than 150 small houses, measuring approximately 4×8 meters. Thirty meters before the top, a second row of walls is erected that has been built with stones and plaster and is preserved to a length of 100 and a height of 3 meters. There, there is a narrow outer gate, which widens inwards to accommodate 4-5 defenders of the castle, leads to the spacious plateau of the top where the foundations of 3 houses are visible, but also a square tower that is preserved at a height of 3 meters . »
Based on this identification and reference to the Aragonese Chronicle, the castle must have been built no later than the 14th century and most likely the 13th.
The castle of Estella belonged to the medieval dragoon of Dragalevos (Dragalevos, Gardalevos, Dragaligos and Dragalivos), which occupied the wider area around Astros and was the northern part of today’s Kynouria. In 1463, the area passed into the hands of the Venetians, while in 1467 it was occupied by the Turks. “
For many centuries before the revolution of 1821 in different reports and maps the two settlements Astros and Agiannis are mixed, Astros refers to Astros, becomes Agiannis, Kalivia Astros, Agiannitika huts and Agiannis refers to Agiannis, becomes Astros, Astros, and Agiannis of Astros. It seems that Astros started from the xerokambi and the castle of Oria, Estella, which is located near Agianni, to the castle of Paralio Astros or also Estella, (which is also mentioned in many maps as a castle), and its core was its inhabitants Agianni and today’s Astros and certainly the settler of Paralio Astros Agiannitis Akouros agreed with them who knew his place better than all of us. Astros and Agiannis have been a community for at least seven hundred years and most importantly the inhabitants are the same, they had and still have houses in Agiannis and Astros. Let us also remember what Thucydides told us, “the inhabitants are the states”, not are states cities and castles.
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Leaving the historic monastery of Malevi in the direction of Astros, and just before we reach Agios Ioannis, we see on our right the fortified hill of the Castle of Oria. It is a fortress of the Frankish occupation, from the top of which the visitor has an amazing view to a large part of the eastern Peloponnese.
The scenery is completed by the impressive waterfall, which starts from the base of the hill and flows towards Platanos.
Astros central tower (Castle Estella in Agiannis)
Anastasios I. Ballas, Peloponnesian, Volume CG of the Society of Peloponnesian Studies, Prize of the Academy of Athens
The identification of the castle occupied and troubled the researchers. The identification of the place “Astros” with the castle is difficult due to the existence of similar names in several places on the coast and inland of northeastern Kynouria, with the result that the terms Astros, Astritsi and Estella are confused in geographical catalogs, old maps and historical maps.
Today, this mountain castle is considered to be the fortress mentioned in the Aragonese Chronicle of Morea as Estella (translation of the Greek word Astros) and has become known by the popular name “Castle of the Hour”, which is found in other parts of Greece. , due to popular tradition regarding its occupation.
Based on this identification and reference to the Aragonese Chronicle, the castle must have been built in the 14th century at the latest and most likely on the 13th.
The castle of Estella belonged to the medieval dragoon of Dragalevos (Dragalevos, Gardalevos, Dragaligos and Dragalivos), which occupied the wider area around Astros and was the northern part of today’s Kynouria. In 1463, the area passed into the hands of the Venetians, while in 1467 it was occupied by the Turks. From that time on, Estella Castle seems to have been abandoned, as it ceased to be of military importance to the Ottomans after its occupation.
Structural, Architectural, Fortification Elements
The shape of the castle follows the natural configuration of the ground, the western side of which is smooth and the eastern one more steep. It consists of two fortifications that protect the western most vulnerable side, while the outer wall surrounds a settlement and the inner at the top of the hill the citadel. The total area of the castle is about 22 acres.
No entrance has been found in the outer courtyard. In the inner courtyard the main entrance of the acropolis can be seen, while near the northern end of the wall there is a second one. There are indications for a third entrance in the southeastern part of the wall.
The outer wall is made of dry stone. The stones are processed, slab-shaped. The fortification of the citadel consists of stonework with plaster. Inside the enclosure there is a square floor surveillance tower that is preserved at a height of 3 meters. It is made of stone with plaster, while on the west side of the tower there is the use of bricks.
Inside the outer enclosure and outside the interior, traces of a settlement are found that consist of several single-aisled rectangular structures made of dry stone. A two-storey building only stands out because of the vestibule and the two spaces it has.
Legends and Traditions
Legend has it that the beautiful daughter of Castellano (“Oria”) was deceived during the raid on the castle by the Turkish mercenaries of the Byzantines, after a long siege. The daughter fell victim to a trick of disguising (a pregnant woman or a monk) a besieger, who entered the interior and opened the gate to the others.
The Castle in Art and Speech In the surrounding villages the song of Oria is preserved, which was danced mainly during the Carnival in Tsamiko rhythm. This song is mentioned by Buchon in his book “La Grece Continentale et la Moree” (1843). Like the castle of Orgy I did not see a castle anymore There they fought it Years, thirteen months You will give birth to a Turk A short Turk was saying That it is Roma Pillow healed Open to me the deceit of Aretini Because I’m castrated And in my month Have my pity As long as the door is open A thousand myrtles entered And they did not leave a soul The princess was not killed They put it in a barrel And they rolled it But he did not die and another I saw all the castles and I was scared, I did not see the castle castle of Oria, It has silver doors and silver keys. Turks fought it for twelve years, The castle is not trampled without betrayal. And a short Turk and Roman The pillow was flattened and castrated The castle walks around and mourns: Open to me the deceit of Aretiana, Why am I castrated in my month as well. Vassilopoulos saw it and was sad… As soon as the door opened, a thousand entered And they pressed it until it calmed down. Everyone spilled on the stars, everyone on the coins And the one to the daughter who is in the glasses…
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The waterfalls of Lepida “The springs of the Lepida waterfalls start from the Xirokambi plateau, between the village of Agios Ioannis and the Holy Monastery of Malevi. The river, descending from the plateau, crosses the gorge and forms small pedestals in its course …… ..
The first waterfall is located at a distance of 3 km from the village of Agios Ioannis. Access to its base is by dirt road and after a short hike on a path of about 200 meters. The second waterfall (called “Melissi”) is located at a distance of 1.5 km from the village of Platanos, on the road to Astros and at a distance of 19 km from the latter. It is reached after 800 meters of hiking from the nearest highway, following the riverbed.
The ideal time to visit is in the spring, as the flow of water stops during the summer months.
Canyoning descents and roppel descents are often organized in the gorge.
The castle of Oria is very close “
- Καρποδίνη Ε., Κάστρα της Πελοποννήσου, Αθήνα 1993, 242-243
- Μπάλλας Α., «Κάστρα της Κυνουρίας. Επισκόπηση των μεσαιωνικών κάστρων της Τσακωνιάς», Πελοποννησιακά ΚΣΤ΄ (2001-2002), 208-210
- Πέππας Ι., Μεσαιωνικές σελίδες της Αργολίδας, Αρκαδίας, Κορινθίας, Αττικής, Αθήνα 1990, 178, 182-185
- Ρωμαίος Α., Τοπογραφικά της Φραγκοκρατίας, Πελοποννησιακά Β΄(1957), 23-24
- Σαραντάκης Π., Αρκαδία: Οι Ακροπόλεις – Τα Κάστρα & Οι πύργοι της σιωπηλά ερείπια μιας δοξασμένης γης, Αθήνα 2006, 152, 155-158
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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