Riza castle (Thomocastro)
At the district of Riza, very close to Riza village, on a hill that is a natural fortress, the famous castle Thomokastro or castle of Riniasa, is located, a monument with great historic value. It is considered to have been built at the end of 13th century or at the beginning of 14th century, in a strategic point close to the Ionian Sea. The castle was erected during the despotism of Thomas A΄(1296-1318), this is why it was called so, in order to reinforce the defense of the medieval acropolis of Riniasa and it used to control the commerce by sea and land. During middle ages, this medieval fortress had been developed. Moreover, another famous name for it is Despos’ castle.
In 1338, during the revolution against the Byzantine domination, the bishop of Epirus Nikiforos B΄Orsini had taken refuge at the castle. Ioannis Katakouzinos (before he became emperor) after the occupation of the castles of Arta and Rogon, he convinced Nikiforos to surrender the castle. Nikiforos got married to Katakouzinos’ daughter and he moved to Constantinople.
The Byzantines kept the castle until 1350, when it was occupied by the Serbians (of Stefanos Dousan) and later on, by the Albanians that called it Riniasa. The Albanian ruler Karolos Toko later, improved the fortification by putting cannons (Loubardes).
The Turkish occupied it in 1451. In 1803, Despo from Souli of G. Botzi, with brides and grandchildren, fights against the Turkish Albanians at Dimoula’s Tower (at Riza) and puts the gunpowder on fire, in order to prevent it from falling into the hands of enemies. Finally, after the defeat of the Greek troops at the fight of Peta and Plaka, Riniasa is completely abandoned by the Greeks.
Click on the map for more details