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Culture Archaeology Monuments Fortresses Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Prefecture of Evros Municipality of Didimotihos

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Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
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02/12/2007
Castle of Pythion

Aikaterinh Balla
Source: C.E.T.I.
© Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
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Pythion, or Empythion in Byzantine times, was famous for its impregnable walls. It is preserved almost intact and it constitutes a significant example of Byzantine military architecture of the 14th century. It is situated at a low hill to the west end of the village under the same name facing the valley of Evros river. According to Nicephorus Grigoras, the castle served as a private house and a personal shelter of Ioannis Cantacuzenus. Now two towers from the originally three are preserved as well as a part of the path.

The central rectangular three-storey tower is the largest and was the private house of Ioannis Cantacuzenus. The tower is in the cloisonné masonry and dates to the late 13th century. The second tower is also rectangular, though smaller, and it had a merely defensive character. It is divided in three floors that do not communicate with each other. Access to the floors is provided by staircases and entrances from the courtyard or the central tower. The double arched entrance gate between the two towers led to the fortified, inner part of the castle, while the parts of the fortified complex facing towards the northern end testify the existence of a third tower. Further south of the towers, parts of the exterior fortified enceinte are preserved.

The castle of Pythion is related to the turbulent times of the dynastic strives with the Palaiologi in the 14th century. In addition, the fortified complex is a monumental imperial structure with imposing grandeur.