Bourtzi : The castle of the throne
Castello dello Soglio was the first name of the Venetian castle, which along with Palamidi, is considered one of the landmarks of Nafplio. Nevertheless, the name that finally prevailed is Bourtzi, which in Turkish means « Island – Fort ».With the Venetian «castle of the throne» there is always a dilemma for you: Is it better to gaze it from a distance- like a postcard that never fades- or to wander in its microcosm and smell strong smells of history?
What is certain is that just looking at it is not enough; just like everybody else , you will probably want to know its history. Bourtzi was built on the islet of St. Theodoroi in1473 by the Italian engineer Gabelo and that is why its first name is Italian. Moreover, if you have heard people refer to Nafplio as «the chain harbour» (Porto Cadena ), this is because there was, indeed, a mobile chain which connected Acronafplia with Bourtzi and whose purpose was to protect the harbour and the city from sea invaders.
As years passed by, the Venetian castle was used in a variety of ways. Being, initially, the first prison of Kolokotronis (best-known hero of the Greek revolution against the Turks) and the residence of the executioners of Palamidi, it later offered housing to the Greek government twice. During the 30s it operated as a centre of the Greek national tourist organisation and from 1960 to 1970 as a luxury hotel and restaurant.
Well, even if you strongly desire (staying at Bourtzi with a view of Nafplio, is not a bad idea, is it?), accommodation is not available there. Still, you may embark in one of the little boats that drop anchor at the dock and reach Bourtzi in 10 minutes by paying a fare of 4 euros.
Several musical and cultural events are held at the Venetian castle during the summer. Their quality is not going to let you down! Soon, an exhibition– hall and a souvenir shop will be operating in the bastions and the restaurant – refreshment room will re-open.