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The castle of Myrina – History

She frantically headed up the cobbled path. She knew she would find safe shelter there. Breathless from the stress and anxiety to protect herself, she stood for a moment and looked about her. The city stretched out wondrously before her and Ypsipyli felt the place was hers once again.

The steep rocky peninsula, connected to the mainland only from the east, was the ideal place to build the castle of Myrina. The traces of the cyclopean walls testify to the existence of an ancient acropolis, dating back to the 13th century BC.

The Pelasgians, who settled on the island in the 8th century BC, reinforced the fortification. However, there existed a wall in classical times, parts of which are still preserved in significant numbers on the northern slope of the rock of the citadel and on the neck of the peninsula towards the main entrance of the castle. The medieval castle was built on these remains at the beginning of the 12th century and its fortifications were reinforced in 1185 by the Emperor Andronikos I Komnenos. The period of Venetian rule in Lemnos begins in 1207 when the island becomes a Grand Duchy and its ruler Filocalo Navigajoso rebuilds the Castle. After 1278 the island surrenders to the Byzantines and in 1361 the castle is restored by order of the Emperor Ioannis V Palaiologos. The structure and the layout that the visitor observes today are the legacy of the Genoese rulers of Lesvos, the Gatelouzians, who rebuilt the castle when the island came under their rule, as well as the later interventions of the Venetians and Ottomans. During the Orlov Revolt in 1770, the castle was besieged by the Russian fleet under Count Orlov and suffered great damage. Hassan Gazi Pasha or Cezairli(s) somewhat repairs this damage in 1780 and equips the Castle with 150 cannons.

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