Antimachia castle (Kos) 1 Antimakhia - Αντιμαχία

Antimachia, Medieval castle of the Knights of St. John, near Antimakhia in Kos Dodecanese
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Works: 1
Latitude: 36.803100
Longitude: 27.127500
Confidence: High

Place ID: 368271UAnt
Time period: M
Region: Dodecanese
Country: Greece
Department: Kos
Mod: Antimakhia

- Pleiades
- IDAI gazetteer ID

Modern Description: The central road of the island, which runs virtually at sea level for the first 17km west of Kos, rises over 100m onto the volcanic plateau before reaching Antimáchia. 800m before the village is a road to the south beside a military post, signed to ‘Kastro', for Antimáchia Castle (unrestricted opening).
Some castles give the impression of verticality, others— like Antimáchia—of horizontality. This is a wide castle in a wide landscape, designed to accommodate and protect a large number of people and livestock against a protracted siege. It sprawls, but it still does not fail to give and impression of forceful unity: in 1457 it withstood a 20-day siege by Mehmet the Conqueror. Arriving by road from the northwest, it is hard to appreciate that the site of the castle is on the crown of a ridge which drops steeply to the coastal strip: with such natural protection to its south, it needed its heaviest constructed defences to the north. The original walls are of the 14th century—erected between 1337 and 1346, shortly after the Knights of St. John first arrived on Kos, during the mastership of Hélion de Villeneuve: but they have been significantly strengthened by a continuous talus reaching three-quarters of the way up their height as well as by a massive semicircular redoubt protecting the northwest entrance, added in 1494. Below the machicolations above the entrance, are the arms of the Grand Master, Pierre d'Aubusson (1476–1505), who carried out both of these improvements and repaired the walls after the earthquake of 1493.
The interior is bleak—a sea of rubble remains, as of a densely inhabited town: streets, houses, churches, threshing circles and cisterns. The central building, ahead inside the gate, was used by the Turks after 1523 as a mosque: there are the vestiges of a minaret on its southwest corner. The other two buildings within the enceinte which are still integral and roofed are both churches contemporary with the construction of the castle, built with the sparseness of line and form characteristic of their military founders. To the east is Aghios Nikolaos with the arms of Grand Master del Carretto and the date 1520 on its west façade, added probably a century after the erection of the church. In its northwest corner, wallpaintings are faintly preserved. An impressively spacious cistern lies just to the north. The larger, late 14th century church of Aghia Paraskeví beyond, possesses greater architectural interest in its decorated apse outside and ribbed vaulting inside: it also conserves vestiges of wall-paintings on its west wall.
Wikidata ID: Q12180784
Trismegistos Geo: 34107

Info: McGilchrist's Greek Islands

(From McGilchrist’s Greek Islands, © Nigel McGilchrist 2010, excerpted with his gracious permission. Click for the books)

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