Kastro Riou       

Rio, Greece                
Kastro Riou, or Rio Castle, sits at the mouth of the Corinthian Gulf at the little town of Rio, Greece. A fort was originally built at this location in 1499 by the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II (1447-1512). Bayezid, in his struggle against the Venetians for naval dominance of the region, felt it important to protect this important waterway, known as "the Little Dardanelles." He also built a "twin" fort on the northern end of the strait called Antirio Castle, of which little remains today...at least nothing that even vaguely resembles a star, so for goodness' sake who cares about it. Not me.

This original fortification was built atop the ruins of an ancient temple to the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon. The fort was completed in just three months.

In 1533 the Genoese, commanded by Andrea Doria (1466-1560), captured Rio Castle, but the Ottomans fought their way back in and recaptured the fort after a brief period.

The Ottomans and Venetians, still unable to make friends by the 17th century, fought the Morean War from 1684 to 1699. In 1687, Rio Castle was the stronghold of one of the last Ottoman bastions in the region. Venetian commander Francesco Morosini (1619-1694) landed some 14,000 troops nearby on July 22 1687. The Venetians bashed their way through the Ottoman defenders with such fury that the Ottomans scattered in defeat, the garrisons of nearby fortifications abandoning their posts in panic: Rio Castle was taken without opposition.

With the Ottoman presence mostly wiped out of the Peloponnese, the Venetians rebuilt much of Rio Castle over the next several years, bringing the fort to its current appearance. These improvements proved unequal to the task, however, of preventing the Ottomans from storming back in 1715 and recapturing Rio Castle.

The Ottomans remained in Rio Castle until 1828, when a French expeditionary force led by Nicolas Joseph Maison (1770-1840) wrested it, once again, from their grasp. From 1831 to 1912, the fort served as a military and then civilian prison, whose inmates were often put to work cleaning the streets of Rio.

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Rio Castle?
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