Sunday, November 29, 2015

On top of the world

So I eventually did make it to the fortress above Nafplio, and the views alone were worth the trek. The weather forecast had called for rain, but I had asked the Med to give me a sunny day and the sea obliged. It rained for maybe five minutes when I was at the Achilles bastion, long enough to make the rocks slick as heck but not enough to even take cover. I didn’t mind at all. It was warm and there wasn’t much wind and the way the clouds were over the sea made it more beautiful and spiritual, even. The sun poked through and illuminated spots on the water that made it seem as if it were divine light. One could see how the ancient Greeks thought there were gods everywhere – the land and the sea are certainly god-like.

entrance. finally.

the Venetian winged lion

view of Nafplio from above

I came to Greece for ancient history and ended up getting some rather pertinent to my interests in the “clash of civilizations” that we are said to be experiencing between the West and the Muslim World (their words, not mine) in that the site was a battleground for the fight against the Ottomans. I tried to imagine soldiers running through the fortress but it was tough because it didn’t seem like a livable place. I didn’t really get it, anyway, the way the place was designed. I mean, if someone wanted to invade, wouldn’t they just invade the city below instead of attacking the fortress? How could a fortress so high up defend a city? I’m sure I could look up the answers, but it just didn’t make sense to me. Then again, neither does war.

The Venetians were a decent people, apparently, because you never hear about them committing atrocities, not like the Ottomans, who were so brutal at times that the Bulgarians now shake their heads for yes and nod for no, because it was their way to avoid converting to Islam (when asked, they could be honest by nodding for no.) That’s the legend, anyway. The Ottomans were dicks, even when they weren’t being dicks. They deserve more of the blame for the world’s problems than they get.

You can see where the Ottomans built on top of, finished, or repaired parts of the fortress because they famously just used whatever building materials were available to build on top of what was already there. In a way, it is very efficient, but it also meant they destroyed the aesthetics of buildings and really had no sense of style. I mean, yeah, people will say “Ottoman architecture” but they really just took from everyone else. I guess that’s what art is, though.

I spent a lot of time up there, not just because I found it interesting, but because of the scenery and because of the dread of going back down. Oh, and it was worse going down. I had muscle failure. It took me about forty minutes to go down because my legs just didn’t work. When I got to the ground, I couldn’t walk. Eventually, I started moving again and then walked a couple of miles along the sea. But that’s for another post.

arrow hole!

i really wanted some cactus fruit but was afraid to pick any, though most were out of reach as it were

barracks area

barracks with bed


this was horrifying. it was the prison. you had to crawl to get to it and there were no windows. talk about cruel and unusual. and people spent life sentences here. 




bourzi defense post in the bay

Larissa Castle ruins at Argos across the bay - also Venetian, but with ancient ruins as well. Did not see up close

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