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Bourtzi, Skiathos

Bourtzi (a false pronunciation of the word “burg” meaning “castle”) is in fact a small peninsula situated at the middle of the port of the town of Skiathos, where some ruins of the old castle are still visible. It is the castle of the Venetian family of Ghizi, who dominated the island during the period of the domination of Constantinople by the Francs of the 4 th Crusade, from 1204 until 1261.

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The remnants of the castle give no precise information about the size and the strength of the walls, but we know that two round defensive towers stood at either side of the gate. At the interior of the castle there was a big water basin and the small church of Aghios Georgios (St. George) after which the castle was named “Kastelli tou Aghiou Georgiou (“the castle of St. George). The whole construction was destroyed almost in total, by the Venetian admiral Francesco Morosini in 1660.

It is from this castle that in 1823 during the Greek National Revolution the residents of Skiathos repelled the attacks of the Ottoman Topal Pasha. After the liberation of the island, Bourtzi became a lazaretto, and later on, in 1906, it was constructed the elementary school, at the expenses of Andreas Syngros’ endowment. In 1925 a bust of Alexandros Papadiamantis was placed at the school yard.

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Today, nothing reminds the hard military past of this place. Nowadays, it is an excellent recreation site with nice view and luxuriant green, full of pine trees. Only a few traces of the once strong walls are visible today; on the way to the school, the visitor may see the foundations of the church of Aghios Georgios and of the water basin. The building of the old elementary school has been transformed to a Municipal Cultural Center and the nice high halls house several cultural and educational events. A lovely small open theater has been constructed at the schoolyard and a lot of plays take place in summer.

There is also a municipal buffet, well in accordance with the environment, where the visitors can also attend several interesting events, organized by the Municipality and other cultural associations.
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