The original name of the
was «Roca al mare»; it was built by the Venetians, before the construction of the new walls. It was destroyed by the great
earthquake of 1303 and took its final shape between 1523 and 1540. During the ottoman occupation, it served as a prison,
in whose dungeons perished many revolutionists.
A typical example of the Venetian defensive architecture,
the fortress was built for the protection of the harbour breakwater
and consists the termination of the city walls.
The building comprises massive walls and two floors.
The ground floor has a vaulted roof with large skylights.
Thick walls divide the entire place in 26 lodgings, used as the residences of the Castellan, the captains and the officials, as well as warehouses.
The superstructure and the minaret
- from the latter only the base is preserved today - are additions of the Ottoman era.
Today the monument attracts many visitors and is among the most well known archaeological sites of Crete.
It also houses cultural events and exhibitions, while a small theatre has been fromed in the second floor.