I have just returned from one week’s vacation in Parga, on the northwest coast of Greece. My wife, son and I got “last minute” tickets to the Ionian coast. Although there are some interesting archaeological remains and buildings in this area (such as the monasteries at Meteora), these were beyond the goal for this trip. However, I briefly visited two forts, an old Venetian fort in the town of Parga and the fort of Ali Pasha in nearby Anthousa, built on a higher altitude in order to siege the other fort.
Parga and/or its surroundings have remains dating back to at least the Mycenean period but the location is apparently first mentioned as Parga in 1320. In 1365 it was located on its current location and the castle dates back to this time as well. It was apparently founded by Normans. Parga was threatened by the Albanian-Serb Vlach Bogoi and the people of Parga asked help from the Venetians and they signed a treaty that lasted for around 400 years (1401-1797). During this time Parga was often under attack by the Turks and others and the site and fortress was torn down and restored again by the help of the Venetians.
In 1797 France became the new protector of Parga. This period was followed by a short period of Russian influence and then it returned to French governance again. It is during this period that Ali Pasha (1741-1822) joins the politics of the area. He was born in Albania and he supported the Turks in their war against Austria. As thanks for his contributions he received the title of pasha over the town Trikala in eastern Epirus. He allied himself with Napoleon who controlled the town of Preveza near Parga and later on Ali Pasha took control of Preveza as well. After Napoleon’s defeat Ali Pasha laid siege of Parga and in 1814 he built his fortress in Anthousa as the base for his operations. Since the French lost against the British, the Ionian islands, apart from Corfu, was transferred to the British. In 1817 Ali Pasha made an alliance with England who sold Parga to him. Ali Pasha was subordinated to the Turkish Sultan but he appears to have plans to create his own state. Not surprisingly this was not appreciated by the Sultan who had him shot down in 1822. Parga remained in Turkish control until 1913 when the region became part of Greece.