The castle was originally built to protect the inhabitants from pirates and soon developed into a modern settlement
The area of the Medieval Castle of Nea Epidaurus is now accessible to visitors, after the completion of the main volume of restoration work on the monument, which lasted over two years.
Built on the top of a long, narrow rocky area, 120 meters long, 15-20 meters wide and 80 meters high above sea level, Piada Castle, as Nea Epidauros used to be called, was a natural fortification, as from the north and east side borders the gorge of Vothyla, a very inaccessible area, while on the south and west side a wall of hewn stone was erected, about one meter thick at its base.
The castle was originally built to protect the inhabitants of Piada from pirates and soon developed into a modern settlement, whose inhabitants, due to its panoramic view, could control the entire Saronic Sea, as well as the surrounding area.
According to the surviving historical evidence, the construction of the castle began in the second half of the 13th century, during Byzantine times, it was completed by the Franks and then by the Venetians, who around the middle of the 15th century had dominated the area of Argolis , until 1481 when the Turks prevailed and were forced to capitulate and surrender most of the castles of Argolis.
In recent decades the castle had been abandoned to its fate and had reached the verge of collapse. The only building that survived was the chapel of Ai Giannis the Theologian, in which every year at the beginning of May a divine service was held at the initiative of the cultural association of Nea Epidauros.
About two years ago, with funds from the antiquities tax office of the Ministry of Culture, the restoration work of this historic castle began, the stone wall that was the main fortification was restored, as well as the tower that was at the highest point. At the same time, the small church of Ai Giannis was also renovated, with its unique wooden balcony overlooking the Vothylas gorge. An inscription from 1710 is preserved in the chapel, as well as a built-in relief plaque with the date 1708. At the same time, another chapel was restored, located on the southeast side of the castle, just a few meters from the entrance.
The visitor can reach the castle through a picturesque cobbled street, about 300 meters long, starting from the main road and the square of the First National Assembly of the village, where the museum and the stele with the phoenix reborn from the ashes are located of. With the works done, access is now easy and short.
It is recalled that from December 20, 1821 to January 15, 1822, the First National Assembly of the legislative body of the newly established Greek state took place in Piada, today’s Nea Epidaurus, by the proxies sent by the senates of Peloponnese, Hydra, Spetses and Fishermen. During the Assembly, whose president was elected Alexandros Mavrokordatos, the declaration of independence was voted, with which, as mentioned in the relevant text, “the Greek Nation declared before God and men its political existence and independence”. During the work, the country’s first constitutional text, called the Law of Epidaurus, was drawn up, the form of the state, the plan and the blue and white colors of our National Symbol, the Greek Flag, were agreed upon, while the prevailing religion was declared to be that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ.
The current Municipal Authority of the Municipality of Epidaurus is committed to the lighting of the castle and the surrounding area, as well as the organization of cultural events in the summer months.
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