10 HIDDEN JEMS IN SIRACUSA
#8 The Ten Hidden Jems in Siracusa: Eurialo Castle
In a list of the top ten most beautiful places in Siracusa it’d be such a shame not to speak about the Eurialo castle, “Eurialo” from greek “Head of the nail”.
Historically, the site represents a real unicum, being the only greek fortress withstanding dating back to such an ancient age. Despite this great merit it still lacks of the proper attention, most of it due to the distance from the city centre and the impossibility to reach the site without the appropriate means of transport.
If you’ll ever be so lucky (or maybe it’s better said so patient) as to get to this place and visit it entirely, you’ll immediately understand the beauty and the importance of the site; breathtaking panoramas and rural routes in the sicilian woodlands and mediterranean scrub (our renowned “Macchia Mediterranea”), and of course the astonishing magnificence of the structure. The narrow tunnels and the underground passageways will take you in a foreign and dark dimension where time seems to flow backwards. You’ll find yourself in an intricate maze, forced to sharpen your senses and watch your steps carefully, but wait ‘til you get out in the open and you’ll experience an inexplicable sense of freedom. The fortress is built on a promontory from which if you look south you’ll have the most astonishing view of Siracusa, embraced by its lively countryside, the port and the deep blue seas.
A wonderful and pictoresque view indeed (isn’t it?), what in the world could ever ruin this? Well, if you feel the urge to answer this question, then don’t look south, look north. A huge industrial complex, the petrochemical refineries, stand in the middle of what was once a beautiful bay not very far from Siracusa, devastating the view, as well as the enviroment. Trust us, you are better off looking south!
The history of the castle
The Eurialus stronghold was never actually a proper castle, but a military complex built by order of the tyrannus of Siracusa, Dionigi I, in 402 b.C., to guard over the northen perimeter of the city. The works lasted over 5 years and once finished its walls were 17 feet high (5 m), and had five great towers from which the soldiers aimed at the enemy armies with their catapults (which by the way were first invented in Siracusa!). Nowadays all around the castle one can see the full extension of what remains of the old “Dionigian walls” (which you’ll be able to admire closely if coming from the Epipoli road). The castle was built in order prevent enemy attacks with great anticipation and the underground passageways were essentials in military strategies because they allowed the troups to move quickly and unnoticed from one point to another; furthemore approaching the passageways you’ll notice that the floor is leaning; this declension was exploited in ambuishing the invaders, easily targeted by the archers on the upper side.
Monday to Saturday from 9 AM to 6 PM (Closed on Holidays)
Full ticket: 4 Euro
Reduced ticket: 2 Euro
Address: Piazza Eurialo 1.