The fortress of Mytilene
is situated on a small hill between the north and the south port of the city and it was the biggest as well as one of the
strongest castles in the East Mediterranean.
Its initial nucleus, which was formed during Byzantine years, is
thought to have been built on the grounds of the ancient Acropolis. The first
significant alterations to the castle took place during the period of Lesbos dominion
of Gateluzzi and more specifically of the ruler Francisco Gateluzzo in the year
1373. A number of other alterations and additions followed, the most important
being that of the Ottomans in 1677, to whom we attribute the lower northern part
of the fortification. After the liberation from the Turks, in 1912, the fort was
used as military barracks.
The irrational use of building materials taken from the castle
after 1912 in order to build newer refugee dwellings had as a result its gradual
From a morphological point of view, it is separated in the following parts:
The Acropolis (Upper Castle) situated on the north and highest part of the hill.
The Main Yard Middle Castle), the biggest part of which was built by the Gateluzzi from Genova and
The Lowest Yard (Lower Castle) in its north-west part, the construction of which is placed in the years of the Turkish domination.
The Canadian Archaeological Institute carries out archaeological excavations in the castle's interior. Buildings of the Archaic and Classical period
have been revealed, as well as remains of Medieval years. In the Middle Castle,
numerous buildings of the Ottoman period are to be found, such as Mendreses, a Turkish bath ("hamam"), a hospital - prison, a fountain and a water reservoir.