castles of Greece

Prevesa - St Andrews





History/Description: According to Paradissis [3, p77] Prevesa is first mentioned in the 1290's. There are actually a network of fortifications here and this page just deals with St. Andrews, the large fortification in the centre of Prevesa. The reason for the complex is that Prevesa stands on the northern side of 650m channel providing access to the Ambracian Gulf (the forts of Pantocrator and La Punta face each other across the gulf) and this and its proximity to western Europe in general (and Venice especially) rendered it important.

Although it is in the centre of Prevesa it is hard to get a clear picture of St. Andrews as the town clusters around and over it, and the interior appears to be a military area with barracks etc. (2007). It looks 18/19th century, with walls with a pronounced batter, and built to mount artillery. There are bastions at the four corners. The E. wall is ideally sited to look over the harbour.

In addition to St Andrews, there were wider circuit walls which surrounded the town and linked the major fortifications (according to Paradissis), but most of these walls have now been destroyed. There are some disagreements about the siting of the forts in the area, I assume the following discription, written by a naval officer duing a visit in 1830, is accurate for the time:

'Towards the land [Prevesa] is defended by a wall and ditch [the circuit walls - the line of the ditch can still be traced in places in the N.], the numerous winged lions of St. Mark on the former bespeaking them to be of Venetian construction. Towards the harbour it is open to the beach; but within the walls are two forts, St. George and Nuovo, the latter commanding the approach from the gulf, the former the sea. This is again further defended by another strong fort built by Ali Pasha, called Pantokratera, situated on the outer point about a mile from the town. These, with Fort la Punta and the redoubt beforementioned, constitute all the defences of the place.' [24, p. 77]

He makes no mention of St. Andrews (and it does not appear on the plan accompanying the article) so perhaps this fort received its name after 1830? Besides St. Andrews, the extant remains seem to be Panotcrator, S of Prevesa, and facing S.E to the fort of La Punta(?) across the strait. There is also a bastion N. of the harbour. (I would appreciate any information on the sites of these forts from anyone who knows).

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Last updated July 31 2006