Iskinit Castle

Iskinit Castle

Iskinit Castle lies on a mountain south of the village of Dereköy on the island of Gökçeada (called Imbros or Imroz before 1970), in the province of Çanakkale in Turkey.

Locally it is known as Iskinit Kalesi or Dereköy Kalesi. I have also seen it called Şirinköy Kalesi because of the modern village with that name situated beneath it. Up until around the 1920's the inhabitants of the island were almost entirely ethnic Greeks. They called the castle Paleókastro.

When this castle was built is unknown. It was first mentioned in the early 16th century when the Ottoman admiral Piri Reis wrote that it was called "Iskinet". Some sources state that it was of Byzantine origin.

The name "Iskinit" translates back to "Scythian". The Scythians however were an ancient nomadic people that existed until the 3rd century but lived on the steppes in the eastern Ukraine and further east. So I don't think it is likely they would have had a fortress within the Roman Empire.

The name Iskinit was also used for the village that the castle belonged to. Later it was called Schoinoudi and in 1926 it was renamed Dereköy. During the 16th century the population of the village and castle grew considerably and it became the main settlement on the island, instead of the village of Kaleköy at the coast. This was probably because the islanders sought safety in the mountains from pirate raids.

Iskinit Castle was built on a flat area against the top of a 424 meter high mountain from which a large part of the region could be overseen. It is 70 meters wide and its layout follows the shape of the mountain. It has a curtain wall made of rubble stones with dry wall technique. There were several towers supporting the wall. At present much of the wall and the towers have collapsed and there are large debris fields in and outside the castle.

At present Iskinit Castle is freely accessible. To get to the foot of the castle mountain will take a hike of about an hour. From there the steep hill is difficult to climb and, sadly, I could not find a safe route into the castle. The surroundings however are great. So, even if you can not get into the castle, the hike is still worth it.

There are also castle ruins in Kaleköy, so I recommend a visit to Gökçeada.


Gallery

Iskinit Castle

Iskinit Castle

Iskinit Castle lies on a mountain south of the village of Dereköy on the island of Gökçeada (called Imbros or Imroz before 1970), in the province of Çanakkale in Turkey.

Locally it is known as Iskinit Kalesi or Dereköy Kalesi. I have also seen it called Şirinköy Kalesi because of the modern village with that name situated beneath it. Up until around the 1920's the inhabitants of the island were almost entirely ethnic Greeks. They called the castle Paleókastro.

When this castle was built is unknown. It was first mentioned in the early 16th century when the Ottoman admiral Piri Reis wrote that it was called "Iskinet". Some sources state that it was of Byzantine origin.

The name "Iskinit" translates back to "Scythian". The Scythians however were an ancient nomadic people that existed until the 3rd century but lived on the steppes in the eastern Ukraine and further east. So I don't think it is likely they would have had a fortress within the Roman Empire.

The name Iskinit was also used for the village that the castle belonged to. Later it was called Schoinoudi and in 1926 it was renamed Dereköy. During the 16th century the population of the village and castle grew considerably and it became the main settlement on the island, instead of the village of Kaleköy at the coast. This was probably because the islanders sought safety in the mountains from pirate raids.

Iskinit Castle was built on a flat area against the top of a 424 meter high mountain from which a large part of the region could be overseen. It is 70 meters wide and its layout follows the shape of the mountain. It has a curtain wall made of rubble stones with dry wall technique. There were several towers supporting the wall. At present much of the wall and the towers have collapsed and there are large debris fields in and outside the castle.

At present Iskinit Castle is freely accessible. To get to the foot of the castle mountain will take a hike of about an hour. From there the steep hill is difficult to climb and, sadly, I could not find a safe route into the castle. The surroundings however are great. So, even if you can not get into the castle, the hike is still worth it.

There are also castle ruins in Kaleköy, so I recommend a visit to Gökçeada.


Gallery