The castle was built by the Venetians in 1371-74 as a garrison to impose order on the rebellious Sfakiá region, to deter pirates, and to protect Venetian nobles and their properties. The Venetians named it the Castle of St Nikitas, after the nearby church. The locals, however, who never saw it in a positive light, contemptuously dubbed it Frangokastello, meaning the Castle of the Franks (i.e. Catholic foreigners). The name eventually stuck and was adopted by the Venetians as well. According to local lore, when soldiers and builders arrived on the fertile plain to begin construction of the castle, the local Sfakians, led by six Patsos brothers from the nearby settlement of Patsianos, would destroy every night what the Venetians built during the day. Eventually, the Venetians were forced to bring in additional troops and the Patsos brothers were betrayed, arrested and hanged.
The castle has a simple rectangular shape, with a tower at each corner and the remains of a Venetian coat of arms above the main gate. The buildings within the walls, as well as the battlements, were constructed during the Ottoman Turkish occupation.
The battle of Frangokastello
In 1828 during the War of Independence against the Turks, the troops of Hatzimihalis Dalianis took refuge in the castle during the Battle of Frangokastello. The leader of the Turks, Mustafa-Bey, besieged the castle for seven days. During the siege, Dalianis himself and 350 of his troops died. Locals, however, closed in on the Turkish army from behind and with their help, Mustafa-Bey retreated and allowed the troops to exit the castle unharmed. Afterwards, he demolished a big part of the castle and started to proceed towards the northeast. But the locals waited for them in the gorges and slaughtered many of his army.
The phenomenon of Drosoulites.
The term Drosoulites refers to a long procession of visions, seen by residents in the Fragokastello area. The phenomenon is rumored to be visible every year, on the anniversary of the Battle of Frangokastello - 17th May - or even in early June.
The visions, as described by witnesses, consist of a group of human-like shadows dressed in black, walking or riding, armed with weapons, moving from the church of Agios Charalambos and advancing towards the old fort Frangokastello. Legend has it that this group of people are Greek fighters that died during the Battle of Frangokastello and since then they appear as supernatural beings in the area.
The local people named them Drosoulites - the "dew men" - due to the time of day that the phenomenon is taking place. The phenomenon is observed when the sea is calm and the atmosphere is moist and before the sun goes too high up in the sky. It usually lasts about 10 minutes.
The shadows are visible from the valley at a distance of 1000 m. Many have tried to explain this in a scientific way, and at one time it was explained as a mirage from the coast of North Africa, but still, there is no accepted consensus. The appearance of the Drosoulites is documented over the ages. In 1890 a transient Turkish army took the images for rebels and fled away. Even during the Second World War, a German patrol is said to have opened fire on the visions.
Information is taken from Wikipedia.
The cache is a glass micro container placed above the beach and very near the castle. Suggested access to the cache is from the beach, there is a small path by the bunch of reeds. Don’t forget to have your pen with you! Beware of muggles who may be watching you from the beach or the car parking above the beach! Please, hide it back carefully!
At the moment there are restoration works taking place. We hope they are over soon and the castle can be visited again. Normally, in case you want to visit the castle, there is a small entrance fee and the castle is open from 10:00 to 19:00 every day.
Information is taken from Wikipedia.