An important historical sight in Lefkada: Agia Mavra Castle is the largest Venetian fort in the area, which was built at the entrance of the island. The fort is one of the local best attractions, because is has an interesting history, can be reached easy and there are no other significant castles in this size in Lefkada. The thick walls of Agia Mavra Castle remained in fairly good condition, and one of its bastions was converted into a lighthouse.
Where to find
To visit Agia Mavra Castle in Lefkada you have find the floating bridge of the island, which is located just 1 kilometer away from Lefkada town. The fort is situated directly next to the floating bridge, which got its name from this castle, and you must drive through it. If you travel to Lefkada from the direction of Greek mainland, you will meet with the walls just before you reach the pontoon bridge.
The main entrance of Agia Mavra Castle is on the side of the bridge, where a few free parking lots can be find. Te enter the building complex you have to go through on a small canal, and after a few meteres you will see the kiosk, where the current prices and opening times are displayed, and you have to pay for entrance.
The first walls of Agia Mavra Castle were built by the Sicilian governor Giovanni Orsini, to protect the island and its surrounding area from the pirates. After a few years, in 1294 the island became a property of Franks. Around the year of 1300 this area became more important and it was dedicated as the economical center of Lefkada island, so a stronger fort was a neccessary solution against pirates and invaders. The first buildings of Agia Mavra was much smaller than today, but it has been rebuilt and expanded several times with barracks, administrative buildings, cisterns and storage rooms.
At the beginning of 15th century Ottomans occupied the area: they were built a mosque and a small bridge inside the walls of the castle. Turks ruled over Agia Mavra until 17th century: Venetians took control over the island, under the command of Francesco Morosini, and Lefkada became a Venetian province. The Venetians increased the area of the fortress and strengthened its walls. You may still see the main symbol of Venice, the Lion of Saint Mark in many places.
In the year of 1888 a large fire destroyed several buildings inside, and just a few of these were rebuilt after the disaster.
What to see in Agia Mavra Castle, Lefkada
As the best preserved fort in Lefkada, inside the walls there are several sights, which can be interesting for visitors of Agia Mavra Castle. The buildig complex is protected by a moat, which is connected to the sea. The lighthouse, which was built on a west bastion, is the newest part of the Castle, and it is working today as well. Lefkada island has two important lighthouses: the other can be seen in the south, known as the lighthouse of Cape Doukato.
The main walls are quite good condition: visitors can go upstairs and walk around on the walls. On the courtyard unfortunately most of the old buildings of the Venetian and Turkish eras are ruined, and only the foundations can be seen.
On the southeast corner of the fort there was built a tiny chapel of Agia Mavra, which was built in the 15th century. The famous bell tower is also situated here, which is typical on the photos of this attraction. Inside the small church icons of Saints and gold plated objects serve the religious occasions.
Don’t be surprised when you will meet archeologists and excavations inside the walls of Agia Mavra, because sometimes restoration works and excavations are still in progress. The castle is closed for a day in a week, which is usually Tuesday, just as a lot of other forts and museums in Greece.
- 1 km east from Lefkada town, next to the floating bridge
- Facilities: ticket kiosk
- Accessibility: by car or by walking from Lefkada town
- Entry fee / ticket price: 3 Euro / person
- Opening times: 8:30 – 15:30, closed on Tuesdays and on national public holidays