Excursion at Byzantine Castle

The Byzantine Castle.
The Byzantine Castle is built at the Didymoteicho’s acropolis.

Organise your own excursion at the castle of four Roman emperors!

During the Byzantine period Didymoteicho and it’s castle held a very significant geostrategic role and after 1261 it became one of the most important cities of Thrace.

It is the birthplace of John III Doukas Vatatzes and John V Palaiologos and the home of the emperors John III Paliologos and John VI Kantakouzenos during the civil wars that took place the first half of the 14th century.

The Armenian church “Surp Kevork” (aka St George) was built between 1815 and 1831, on the earlier Byzantine church of St George Paliokastritis where Ioannis VI Kantakouzenos was crowned emperor in 1341.

There are 24 towers and postbyzantine temples in the castle that have survived to this day.

In some of the towers there are still initials of the emperors and decorative motifs. Through the castle you will see several carved caves which were used as parts of homes.

The Christian community (mainly Greeks, Bulgarians and Armenians) lived in the Castle during the Othoman era while the Muslim community resided at the “lower city” (outside the castle walls.

You can also visit the small temples and the royal chappels in one of which unique murals depicting winged emperors were recently discovered.

The postbyzantine temple of Christ the Saviour (Xristou Sotiros) exhibits the double imaged icon that shows the Mother of God holding Jesus as an infant (Panagia Vrefokratousa) on the one side and the Crucifixion on the other which is a rare royal present to the city, as well as the icon of Christ Pantocrator.

The monuments of the castle:

  • The forts and the temple of Christ the Saviour – Sotiros Christou (1848)
  • The temple of St Athanasios (1834)
  • Tower of the princes (pyrgos tis Vasilopoulas)
  • The Gate of the Agora (castle’s central gate)
  • Gate of the Bridge
  • Tarapchanes Tower
  • Temple of St Kathrin (Agias Aikaterinis), which is a burial chapel from the beginning of the 14th century, which is the era of Paliologoi. There are graves carved in the rock next to the temple
  • Armenian Church Surp Kevork (St George) built in 1815-1831
  • 2 byzantine icons in the temple dated in the 14th century
  • Mitropolis – Temple of St Athanasios – dated since 1834
  • St Dimitrios homage