The area was named after the fortress built there by theVenetians in 1371, in order to control the area. It is believed that building materials from an ancient city of the region were used for the construction.
Near the fortress there are the ruins of a monastery and a church of Saint Nicetas (Agios Nikitas), celebrated on September 15th. In days past, great festivities were held on that day, during which ancient customs were revived, with armed dances and athletic events.
It was there that Daskalogiannis surrendered to the Turks in 1770, to be taken to Heraklion, where he was flayed alive. In 1828, the towers of the castle were destroyed by the Turks, after a bloody battle with the area’s chieftains, who had barricaded themselves into it.
Apart from the military events that have occurred in the fortress, a strange and inexplicable phenomenon is connected with its existence: that of the so-called Drosoulites.
According to tradition, in the plain of Frangokastello, during the second half of May, with calm weather, just before sunrise, a procession of human shadows appears, looking towards the sea from the side of the plain. The phenomenon occurs under specific climatic conditions, in humid periods, before north winds blow. Local people claim that these forms are the shadows of thewarriors who died there in 1828, at the same period, and they were named Drosoulites because they appear with the morning dew (in Greek: δροσιά- drosia).
This phenomenon is internationally known as mirage. Considered as a kind of a reflection, it has also been observed in other parts of the world with extensive bare soil areas which become overheated by the sun.
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