Bourtzi (which means tower in Turkish) is a small island fortress in the bay of Nafplio. The island with the fortification is the best recognized landmark of the town.
During Byzantine times a church dedicated to Saint Theodoros was built on the island. Venetians noted the important strategic location and decided to fortify the tiny piece of land to further protect the port. In 1471 the Venetian architect Antonio Gambello designed and initiated the construction of a stronghold. In 1473 the building project was successfully completed by the Italian engineer Brancaleone and a small harbor was created to enable safe access to the fort.
In the center of the fortress there is a tower on three floors with canons on each side. During the centuries many additions and upgrades were made. The Ottoman Turks surrounded the castle with underwater obstacles to deny access to large ships, and in 18th century the Venetians heightened the tower and built additional defenses.
Bourtzi is not an active fort since 1865. The island served as a home to the Palamidi fortress executioner and briefly, after 1935, as a hotel. Now it is a tourist attraction and hosts a Summer Music Festival. There is a regular boat taxi service from the port to the island.
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highlights: small islet with impressive Venetian fort, historic sight in Nafplio, Argolis Region, Greece