A few words about the history of the monument
The Bourtzi Fortress is a monument of great significance and one of the most important fortifications in the Greek region. It was constructed during the period of the First Venetian Republic, from 1471 to 1477, by the architect Antonio Gambello, under the supervision of Vittore Pasqualigo, the provveditore (governor) of Nafplio.
The fortress served as the city’s defense for 350 years, during which it underwent several repairs and modifications. During the Greek War of Independence, it played a significant role in the liberation of Nafplio.
After 1865, it was used as a place of residence for prisoners who were transported from the island only for executions by guillotine that took place in Palamidi. When the executions ceased, the fortress was abandoned.
With the establishment of the Tourism Organization, the seaside tower was leased in the early 1930s for tourism purposes and was converted into a hotel that operated until the late 1960s.
Later, with partial interventions by the Hellenic Tourism Organization in the mid-1980s, it functioned as a restaurant and refreshment area until around 1995, after which it remained closed.
The fortress has been declared a priority monument since 1922 and was also designated as a Tourist Public Property in 1949 through Presidential Decree. Its administration and management were entrusted to the Hellenic Tourism Organization (HTO), and today it has been transferred to the Public Real Estate Company (HPPC SA).
After close and fruitful cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Sports and HPPC, the Bourtzi Fortress of Nafplio is now open to the public.
In 2010, a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the Tourism Development Company and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for the restoration and reuse of the monument.
As part of this memorandum, a study was conducted for the documentation, stabilization, restoration, promotion, and reuse of the Fortress. According to the study, the preservation of the monument in the form it took after its conversion into a hotel in 1936-37 was proposed. The proposal included making the monument accessible to the public by restoring the abandoned spaces.
In 2013, by decision of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the project “Stabilization – Restoration – Promotion and Reuse of Bourtzi Fortress in Nafplio” was included in the Operational Programme “Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship.” The works began in 2014, were interrupted in 2015, resumed in 2017, and were completed in 2021.
Extensive maintenance and restoration were carried out on all the original and functional parts of the fortress, both in the interior and exterior spaces.
In the bastions, a small exhibition space and a souvenir shop were created, and the former use of a small restaurant and refreshment area was preserved. In the interior of the southern tower, its configuration as a hotel room was preserved, and its furnishings and movable equipment were restored, serving as an element showcasing the fortress’s earlier use.
Accessibility for people with disabilities was ensured in the northern buildings, with the construction of an elevator that allows access to the main level of the Fortress.