The castle fortress known today as "Kazarma" (Casa di arma), is the most imposing historical monument in Sitia.
The Kazarma used to be a military and administrative centre which
consisted of a Medieval dwelling surrounded by walls. The fortification
of the town and of the Kazarma can be dated to the late Byzantine
However, pirate raids, the continual uprisings against the Venetian
occupation by the local people and the great earthquake all led to the
partial destruction of the fortifications until the Venetians themselves
were forced to completely destroy them with the intention of rebuilding
them. This never happened and in 1651 the town was razed and then
occupied by the Turks.
During the Turkish occupation it would appear that the walls were never
rebuilt but the Kazarma was restored and evidence of the Turkish
extensions can be seen today, for example in the cupolas ("koubedes") on
the battlements that form the watch towers. The Kazarma has since been
carefully restored and is open to the public offering a panoramic view
across the bay of Sitia.
Concerts, plays, lectures and art exhibitions all take place in the
Kazarma during the summer months as part of the festival known as