02 May 2014

Report on Akro-Nauplion

A correspondent was recently in Nauplion, and thoughtfully sent me a report and photographs of what he saw on Akro-Nauplion. He has agreed to let me share it here. This is from publisher and writer, Allan Brooks. 

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New work seems to be in progress on the Frankish gate and its frescoes. A corrugated iron roof has been placed above the gate to prevent more water damage and the whole area inside the wall (originally occupied by the military hospital) is being excavated. I was able to take a surreptitious look inside the gate chamber and was surprised that several elements of the frescoes are still visible.

More work is in progress around the west wall of the castle of the Franks. This has been cleared revealing the base of the great square tower in the centre of the wall and the surviving masonry is being consolidated.

I had a look at the second walled up gate. The garden below is now more manicured (and the house appeared un-occupied) but the views from above and below are essentially the same as your photographs. However I discovered that the gate can also be seen from the Palamidi steps.

From this point it seems as if  the terrace that accommodates the road through the northwest gate of the Castel del Toro (reached via the steps past the catholic church) continues along the flank of the hill as far as the second gate (although the modern lane itself stops about halfway).

Is it possible that the old image showing the approach to the gate parallel to the shore is correct (the third image in your post; The Second Gate Revisited, and Another) and that steep steps directly uphill were not the approach? [DW: I don't think so.]  The creation of a new second gate giving access directly into the Castle of the Greeks must have had real practical value. Presumably the gate was re-modelled when the Dolfin bastion was built in 1703/4 and only walled up when the Sagredo gate was completed in 1713. 

The gate of the grotto must be the walled up entrance that now stands six feet above the modern concrete footpath about eighty yards beyond the gateway below the Five Brothers bastion. The area inside the wall where the descending steps would have been is now occupied by a concrete box structure full of derelict equipment. 

I managed to find Morosini’s postern and took a photo of the walled-up outer face by hanging over the adjacent wall. On the inner side steps must have descended to the gate but the area is now completely filled with rubble to a height above the gate arch with a good growth of prickly pear on top. The gate is exactly where it is shown on the Grimani plan but I couldn’t see any trace of the rock-cut steps from either above or below.

The Sagredo gate is now in worse condition than ever. The attached photo shows it almost obliterated with graffiti. In fact the whole of Nauplio is suffering from this blight. 

[DW: This is a photo of the Sagredo gate I took five years ago. It is incomprehensible, and contemptible, that Nauplion's residents have so little self-respect as to allow this vandalism to continue, and that the authorities have permitted the deterioration of the gate, stairways, and pillars -- an important piece of architecture.  The gate was last open in 1977 or 78, and the stairway then was dangerous.  No efforts at repair have been done since.  Apparently the sensitivities of the hotel above did not want non-paying guests appearing from the hillside, as I had done, and the gate was closed.  I would be grateful for more information on any of the issues raised here.]

1 comment:

  1. I'm horrified by the graffiti: the Greece I remember during my childhood visits (and subsequently a few times over the decades) was much more pristine. A consequence of the economic hardships, perhaps? The walls of the Medieval city in Crete were once quite evident: construction has obscured much of them due to "progress".


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