The fort of Bourtzi

As if rising from the sea, the fort of Bourtzi dominates the horizon in front of the port city of Nafplion.

Entirely covering the small island of St. Theodore, Bourtzi is a sea fort whose aim was to protect the port from enemy ships.


It was built in the 15th century CE, by the Venetian forces which held the city at the time. The fort’s guns were arranged so as to rake with fire any ship that would attempt to sail by it into the port.

For extra protection, a huge chain, floating on buoys, closed the passage between the fort and the bastion of the Five Brothers, right across the sea. It was this chain that for a time gave the city the name “Porto Cadena” (Chain Port).

The central tower, although seeming an integral part of the building, was actually added much later, during the 18th century.

Boats full of food and munitions for the fort’s garrison have long stopped mooring in the small harbor that serves the fort; instead it is now full of small craft ferrying visitors from the city.

Its guns may be silent and its ramparts overrun by colorful crowds with cameras, yet the fort still gazes serenely at the city it was made to protect and its two brothers, the fortresses of Palamidi and Acronafplia.


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