N.W. corner, with an interesting mix of styles: Ioannes Zapheiropoulos' house stands on the corner.
History/Description: Although remains of ancient walls on the headland at Paralia Astros show it was fortified thousands of years ago, the date of the construction of the existing castle is not known. In 1388, the Despotate of Mistra's boundaries reached Astros, bordering the lands of Maria d'Enghien [18, p.339], so perhaps it was fortified by then. In 1422, Astros, Leonidi and other places in Kynouria formed part of the dowry of Maria Melissené, daughter of a local notable. The Venetians held a castle here in the 15th century [9, p.118, n.3] which I assume forms the basis of what can still be seen. However, the sections which resemble houses, built in the complex, are the houses of the Zafeiropouloi brothers, Panos, Constantinos and Ioannes [10, 'Astros Paralion, Castle']. They had been trading abroad, and returned to the area in the 18th century, reputedly to help in the fight for independence. The castle would be a useful base; J. Chapman has shown that a 'brand new' medieval castle was built near Kalamata in the early years of the 19th century, so perhaps we can assume Astros was repaired around that time. (Chapman's article, 'Castles in the Mani', may be appearing in a future edition of Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies). There has been some minor restoration to the the NW gate, the stairway leading to the central gate, and parts of the enceinte.
Directions: Paralia Astros is a pleasant sea side resort and the houses reach up to the walls of the castle. From the main square of the village you can probably drive up to it, but its a pleasant if steep 20 minute walk - just keep going uphill. Currently (2007) UK package holiday firms offer holidays there. (Astros itself is a village a few miles inland from Paralia Astros; I'm not aware of a castle there).
Sources: 09, 10, 18.
Entrance on the W. wall. In several places the walls have loopholes for firearms, rather than arrow slits.
Doorway on W. wall.
Detail of plaque over doorway. This looks a little like the old arms of Achaia, but the stone may well have been reused in a more recent wall.
Domestic doorway on an old house in Paralia Astros. (Compare with castle entrance above). The plaque above it illegible.
Veiw in one of the buildings ('corrugated' effect in the darker areas was introduced by the scanner)
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Unless otherwise stated, the text, images and design of this site are (c) the author. This page last updated 18 Aug 2007.