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Castle of Agias Mavras

An important historical sight in Lefkada and the largest Venetian fort in the area which was built at the entrance of the island.

The fort is one of the best historical attractions in the area, built at the entrance of the island, and can be reached very easily.
It is built on a peninsula located between Lefkada and Akarnania and occupies an area of approximately 25,000 square meters, possessing a rich war history as it was besieged a total of 12 times in its 7 centuries of existence.

The first fortress construction was completed in 1302 AD. by Giovanni Orsini when he took Lefkada as a dowry for his marriage with the daughter of the Despot of Epirus Nikephoros I. Originally it was a small military station with a small number of defenders.
Agia Mavra was one of the most important fortresses of the Ottoman western border and for this reason, it was equipped with 126 cannons, a dense arrangement of rifle-pits, and a garrison of 300 men in peacetime.

In addition, during the Turkish occupation, the castle became a den of pirates, who used it as a base for attacks either on commercial ships or on the coasts of Epirus and the rest of the Ionian Islands. Over the years, the number of pirates had now grown so much that the castle was called by travelers, “the nest of monsters”.
This activity directly affected the Venetians who tried to seize it several times: 1572 (General Venier), 1658 (Provost General Marino Marcello), and 1684 (Provost General Girolamo Corner). But without result.
Finally on August 6, 1684, in the first military operation of the 6th Venetian-Turkish War (1684-1699), victorious for the Venetians, a force of 10,000 men under the command of Francesco Morozini captured the castle after a 16-day siege. The Ottomans of the castle, according to the surrender agreement, were transferred to Preveza. The 600 (!) pirates found inside were killed on the spot.

In 1810 the British under General Oswald decided to occupy Lefkada. Theodoros Kolokotronis also participated in the operation. The siege of the castle began on March 9 of the same year by a force of 4,000 men and ended on April 16, 1810, after an explosion caused by a shell in the church of Agia Mavra, which was used as a storage area for fodder and munitions. The morale of the French soldiers after the multi-day siege, the zero possibility of reinforcements, and the lack of munitions caused by the explosion, led the guard Camus to surrender the castle to the English. The forty-day siege led the English Major Church to call the castle “devilish”, due to the difficulty of capturing it.

The castle with an area of 25,000 square meters got its size and shape after a series of modifications until the years of the Venetians and the English. It has three defensive lines, seven bastions, and artillery.

Today access is only through the west gate. Several ruins of buildings are preserved, mainly from the time of the Venetian occupation.