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Page added in November 2007.
Cerigo: minor fortifications
Modari - Kato Hora (Lower Town)
The population of Cerigo (Kythira) substantially decreased between 1870 and 1920: the last census (1864) of the British administration recorded 14,500 inhabitants: a 1911 assessment estimated a population in the region of 6,000; according to the 2001 census the residents are only 3,300. This explains why many parts of the island are no longer farmed; also the second town of Cerigo was abandoned; it was located on the western coast of the island: the Venetians referred to it as S. Nicolò de Modari, but the locals called it Kato Hora, the Lower Town (Pano Hora being the main town).
The only access to the town was guarded by the Lion of St. Mark: the gate retains the coats of arms of the two Venetian governors of the island who promoted its construction in 1567.
Modari was built on a terrace between two ravines and it was located at a certain distance from the bay where ships moored; today it is a ghost town; while several small churches are taken care of, the other buildings (including a bakery) are ignored and left to the ravages of time.
S. Nicolo (Avlemonas)
The main town of Cerigo during the Byzantine rule was located on its eastern coast in a position which allowed control of the strait between the island and Cerigotto and Candia. In 1538 Hayruddin Barbarossa, an Ottoman corsair, razed that town to the ground and the Venetians chose to rebuild it in another more protected location.
The bay of the old town was the best anchorage of the island and therefore the Venetians built a small octagonal fort to protect a small section of it which was almost a natural dockyard.
Many of the Venetian cannons are still inside the fort: worn out winged lions can be seen on some of them and on the walls of the fort.
Excerpts from Memorie Istoriografiche del Regno della Morea Riacquistato dall'armi della Sereniss. Repubblica di Venezia printed in Venice in 1692 and related to this page:
Introductory page on the Venetian Fortresses
Pages of this section:
On the Ionian Islands: Corfù (Kerkyra) Paxo (Paxi) Santa Maura (Lefkadas) Cefalonia (Kephallonia) Asso (Assos) Itaca (Ithaki) Zante (Zachintos) Cerigo (Kythira)
On the mainland: Butrinto (Butrint) Parga Preveza and Azio (Aktion) Vonizza (Vonitsa) Lepanto (Nafpaktos) Atene (Athens)
On Morea: Castel di Morea (Rio), Castel di Rumelia (Antirio) and Patrasso (Patra) Castel Tornese (Hlemoutsi) and Glarenza Navarino (Pilo) and Calamata Modon (Methoni) Corone (Koroni) Braccio di Maina, Zarnata, Passavà and Chielefà Mistrà Corinto (Korinthos) Argo (Argos) Napoli di Romania (Nafplio) Malvasia (Monemvassia)
On the Aegean Sea: Negroponte (Chalki) Castelrosso (Karistos) Oreo Lemno (Limnos) Schiatto (Skiathos) Scopello (Skopelos) Alonisso Schiro (Skyros) Andro (Andros) Tino (Tinos) Micono (Mykonos) Siro (Syros) Egina (Aegina) Spezzia (Spetse) Paris (Paros) Antiparis (Andiparos) Nasso (Naxos) Serifo (Serifos) Sifno (Syphnos) Milo (Milos) Argentiera (Kimolos) Santorino (Thira) Folegandro (Folegandros) Stampalia (Astipalea) Candia (Kriti)
You may refresh your knowledge of the history of Venice in the Levant by reading an abstract from the History of Venice by Thomas Salmon, published in 1754. The Italian text is accompanied by an English summary.
Clickable Map of the Ionian and Aegean Seas with links to the Venetian fortresses and to other locations (opens in a separate window)