Crete Sights

Martinengo Bastion

  • Military Site

Published 02/14/2017

Fodor's Review

Six bastions shaped like arrowheads jut out from the well-preserved Venetian walls. Martinengo is the largest, designed by Micheli Sanmicheli in the 16th century to keep out Barbary pirates and Turkish invaders. When the Turks overran Crete in 1648, the garrison at Heraklion held out for another 21 years in one of the longest sieges in European history. General Francesco Morosini finally surrendered the city to the Turkish Grand Vizier in September 1669. He was allowed to sail home to Venice with the city's archives and such precious relics as the skull of Ayios Titos—which was not returned until 1966. Literary pilgrims come to the Martinengo to visit the burial place of writer Nikos Kazantzakis. The grave is a plain stone slab marked by a weathered wooden cross. The inscription, from his writings, says: "i fear nothing, i hope for nothing, i am free."

Sight Information


In walls south of city center, off Plastira, Heraklion, Crete, 71202, Greece

Published 02/14/2017


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