The ancient castle of Agia Mavra (or known as Santa Maura) is located directly at the entrance of Lefkada island.
You will find this important historical sight of Lefkada next to the interesting pontoon bridge, on its eastern side. Castle of Agia Mavra is the largest medieval castle in the area, it remained in a fairly good condition. The first walls of the castle were built by the Sicilian governor, to protect the area from the pirates. After a few years, in 1294 the island became a property of Franks. Around 1300 Lefkada town became more important and it was dedicated as economical center of Lefkada island, so a stronger fort was a neccessary solution against pirates. Initially the area 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 have built a mosque and a small bridge inside the walls of the castle. Turks ruled over Agia Mavra until 17th century, when Venetians took control over the island, under the command of Francesco Morosini. Lefkada became a Venetian province. The Venetians increased the area of the fortress, even strengthened its walls. You can still see the main symbol of Venice, the Lion of Saint Mark in many places.
In 1888 a large fire destroyed several buildings inside, but only a few of them have been rebuilt after disaster.
If you visit Agia Mavra
The castle is well preserved today, thanks to its strong and thick walls. The Venetian fort is surrounded by a narrow canal, main entrance is located at the western side of the building, at the floating bridge. If you walk around, you will see a tiny chapel called Agia Mavra, which was built in the 15th century. Inside the walls you can find ruins of the medieval buildings. On the western side of Agia Mavra there is a modern lighthouse, which is working today as well. Sometimes excavations are still in progress, when you can see working archeologists on the field.
Agia Mavra like other Greek forts and museums, is closed for a day in a week, usually in Monday or Tuesday. The entrance is free!
Guide to Agia Mavra (Santa Maura)
Coordinates: 38.844202, 20.719224
2 km east from Lefkada town
Accessibility: by car, or walking from Lefkada town
Entrance Fee: none (free entrance), but usually closed on Mondays / Tuesdays
Map / location