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The Venetian fortress of Koules dominates the entrance to the old harbour of Heraklion. The Venetians called it the "Rocca al Mare" (Sea fortress), but today it is known under its Turkish name "Koules" (su kulesi). This is one of the most famous and beloved attractions is its symbol.
The exact history of the origin of the fortress is unknown, but landing with such a strategic position in the Mediterranean could not remain unprotected. The first fortress was most likely built on the site of Koules in the Arab period (9-10 century). In some sources there is mention of a fortress in the Byzantine period (10-13 century). There are sketches of travelers of the time, the earliest of which are sketches of the fortress monk Buondelmonti (1429).
In the middle of the 14th century in Europe appeared gunpowder (a mixture of saltpeter, sulfur and carbon). His appearance has played an important role in the war and radically changed military science. There is a need to review the defenses of the former fortifications. Thus, by the middle of the 15th century the existing castle was weak and useless for the defense of the city object. In 1462 the Venetian Senate approved a massive programme for strengthening of Heraklion and the surrounding areas. In this project, the old fortress harbour, which by that time thoroughly suffered from earthquakes and the destructive power of the sea, was demolished (1523), and in its place was built a new building, which survived until our days. Work lasted until 1540.
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