Friday, September 23, 2011

Nafpaktos P1 - The Battle of Lepanto

All that remains from the battle =P

My family has been from this land of olives and feta as far back as we can trace it. They’re from a small village called Agia Triada (Agia Triada), which is maybe 30-45 minutes in distance from this town called Nafpaktos (Spelled Naupaktos in the Greek language). This is common for villagers to have ventured down and bought/rented property in this waterfront community due to its proximity, making it easy access for xoriani (villagers) to go back and forth to their hometowns in the mountains.
Of course there is no talking about places in Greek without speaking of its historical context. Nafpaktos is conveniently located in the middle of Greece, in a body of water that helps meet the Aegean to the Mediterranean Sea. It also is located a few miles away east of the Little Dardanelles, which are the narrows that close the Gulf of Corinth.
A quick timeline is in order:
1407 Venice bought the port of Lepanto
1499 Lepanto was conquered by the Turks
1571 Battle of Lepanto between a Christian fleet, gathered at the request of the Pope and led by Don John of Austria, and the Turkish fleet
1687 Lepanto was occupied by the Venetians but it was returned to the Turks by the peace of Karlowitz (1699)
On October 7th, 1571, a fleet of the Holy League (Catholic maritime states) engaged and defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire. In total, around 500 ships participated in this bloody battle. The Christian fleet was outnumbered, yet held a key advantage in their use of "modern" cannonry. Historians say that the battle lasted over five hours in the tight corridor between the two large seas separating the opposing empires.

Christian guns unleashed their fury on Ottoman vessels as they collided headon. A storm of swords ensued as ships crashed into one another. Ultimately, the strength of Christendom's infantry and artillery overcame the Ottoman naval might, dissolving its main fleet and crushing an entire generation of skilled sailors. The victory was extremely crucial for the Christian armies, as the Mediterranean sea was a highly contentious highway between major trade routes. Consequentely, the Ottoman navy was rendered useless for an extended period of time.

Fortifications of Nafpaktos' Castle

The trek on the way up to the castle provides a nice view of the fort in the bay (limani). 
From a worm's eye view, a clear image of the castle above.

Located at the very top of the hill of Lepanto (Nafpaktos) is the castle itself, extending out with its walls of protections reaching out diagonally towards the water, to form a triangular shape. While it was the Turks that maintained the walls of the fort and the castle, it was the Venetians that created the structure.

The cobblestone road to the top!
Narrow crossroads up the hill. 


Pomegranites? Fresh fiber for your eatens.

Great panoramic look out for strategory and awesomeness. 

The gate into the pallisade of Castle Nafpaktos

Murder holes looking down on gate... Wouldn't want to be storming these doors, naked.
View toward the Mediterranean. Bridge to Patrai in the distance.

Main gate to the castle. It was closed =(

The wise guardian turtle, protecting the townsfolk of Nafpaktos.

1 comment:

  1. Looking at the photos in Naupaktos allowed me to be "there" for a few minutes. Thank you...
    love ya...