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Αn unknown Late Byzantine fortress: The castle of Vatika in Laconia

Kl. Aslanidis
AURA vol. 2 (2019) 245–74

The castle of Vatika in Laconia occupies a rocky cliff not far from the modern coastal town of Neapolis. The castle’s small courtyard is surrounded by buildings attached to the high external wall, including a barrel-vaulted chapel and some one or two-storey houses. A rectangular tower with a cistern is built at the highest point. A circuit wall surrounds the castle at a small distance. The castle developed in several phases. Although it was constructed as a military fort, houses were later attached to the external walls, significantly reducing the size of the inner courtyard. A small church of the single-nave, cross-in-square type has survived in ruins on the south side. The castle of Vatika should be dated to the Late Byzantine period, after the recapture of Monemvasia in 1262 and before the fall of the Despotate of the Morea to the Ottomans. The strong resemblance of its houses to those of Mystra, but also the common features it shares with numerous churches of the cape Malea peninsula that are dated to this period, justify this 
assumption. The addition of bastions at the circuit wall could possibly be dated to the short period of Venetian rule in the fifteenth century.


Citation: Kl. Aslanidis. 2019. “Ένα άγνωστο υστεροβυζαντινό οχυρό. Το κάστρο των Βατίκων στη Λακωνία.” AURA 2:245–74. 

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