Kastro (Medieval Town)
Although the first town of Skiathos had natural defense by 4 small islands plus the Bourtzi fortress, this has not deterred the pirates and the subsequent looting in the region. In order to protect themselves, the locals looked for a place to build a new town, Kastro or else Skiathos medieval city.
Kastro was built around the 14th century, on a peninsula at the north part of the island, which was a natural fortress by itself.
The people, in order to further strengthen their security they erected high walls with battlements and cannons, particularly in the department of land. At the entrance was a wooden drawbridge, which connected the city with the opposite hill. Under siege they raise the gate, making access to Kastro impossible for the enemy.
Over the gate there was a terrace with the necessary scalding bowl and according to a local legend, in times of siege, the gold was hidden in a hatch above the entrance tricking the enemy who suspects the gold is hidden somewhere in the city.
From its inception until 1453 the castle was ruled by the Byzantines and then by Venetians until 1538. From 1538 until 1821 Kastro was under Turkish rule with an exception of a short period around 1660 where the city fell back in the hands of the Venetians.
In Kastro, life was very difficult because of continuous pirate and conquerors raids plus the lack of space inside the fortress. The houses were small and built very close together. Nevertheless, it is estimated that in Kastro there were more than twenty churches (even a mosque without minaret by the Turkish occupation), and water tanks. The cemetery was located outside the city.
By establishing an Independent Greek State in 1830, Kastro was abandoned and the inhabitants returned to the area of the ancient city. The modern Skiathos town and capital of the island, is built on the ruins of the ancient city.
Abandoned for many years, there are only a few things preserved including four churches, the gate, a portion of the wall, the spectacular terrace with the scalding bowl, the ruins of the mosque and some parts of the Turkish headquarters. There are still two water tanks and a cannon.
Today, you can visit the medieval town from the land, but access from the sea is clearly the best choice. In summer, if weather permits, there are daily small excursions from the old port to Kastro, where apart from this majestic monument, visitors can enjoy the wild beauty and the deep blue waters of Kastro beach.