The Eurialo Castle is one of the largest and most complete military works of the greek period. This impressive building (occupies about 15,000 square meters) was built between 402 and 397 BC in order to protect the city from any military operations of siege or attacks.
Wanted by Dionysius, tyrant of Siracusa, stands on the highest point (120 m ) on the terrace of the neighborhood Epipoli about 7 km far from the down town of Siracusa, in the hamlet of Belvedere.
The castle is preceded by a small Antiquarium, adapted to the caretaker’s house, where they kept the most important materials found during various excavations made since the last century. On display are:
two drip lion’s head, from the towers of the central keep, dating again by the fourth century. a. C., and then belonging to one of the oldest phases of fortification;
a relief in which perhaps shows a catapult (war machine that was invented by the engineers of Dionysius the Elder);
fragments of a large Greek inscription, found at the front door with work pincer north of the castle: it reads in part, the term basileus (“kings”), which shows a rather late intervention, due to Agathocles or Hieron II ( most likely the latter), since it was the first dynasty Agathocles of Syracuse to take the title of king.
The structures of the fort were preceded by three successive ditches. The first of these, which was never finished, it is right next to the antique dealer, and is 6 m long deep 4. The second gap is located at a distance of about 86 m from the first, is about 50 m long, 22 wide, 7 deep, and has an angular shape. In the space between it and the next there are the remains of walls belonging to advanced work. The third gap, the longest (about 80 m wide at most 15.60, deep 9) also has an angled shape, but reversed with respect to the previous year. This gap is crossed in the north by a wall (but is perhaps Byzantine) and an embankment, under which were found coins Mamertine, which demonstrate membership to recent restoration of Hieron II.
To the south are three large pillars in square work, to support a drawbridge, connected by a corridor (under the. Environments which are four) to the central keep. On the west side of the ditch are some environments, which are accessed by stairs (deposits for supplies maybe). On the opposite side, a series of openings with sloped ceiling to the outside, face shield, communicates with a long corridor parallel to the trench, dug into the rock, connected by tunnels with the southern ditch, with the advanced part of the keep and the door of the city. This made it possible to access the third moat practically in all other parts of the fort: from here you could hit from below, who was facing the edge of the moat, but maybe the system was also used to remove, without incurring throws enemies, the materials that were thrown by the gap to fill it.
The central tower was originally formed by a triangular face forward, later replaced by the complex of five towers probably destined to host the ballistae. It seems that originally the spaces between the towers were open, and that only at a later stage have been closed with walls. The central part of the fort is constituted by the keep of irregular rectangular shape. Here, and in the adjacent trapezoidal building, had to be the barracks (the rooms can now be seen, however, appear from the Byzantine period, as is the wall that separates the two sections). Trapezoidal building were also tanks. A door, protected by a large tower, the keep it connected with the southern ditch, which in turn communicated through an underground tunnel with the third moat. On the east end of the building is a large trapezoidal tower, which engages the southern section of the Dionysian walls, while the northern part is grafted to the tower that occupies the north summit of the same edifice.
Earlier this northern section of the wall is a door, located at the bottom of a large indentation of trapezoidal shape, designed to protect access (by pincer). Originally it was a triple input (Tripylon), which was soon reduced to Dipylon, closing the door panel. Were then built two walls staggered, which forced the access road to describe a chicane. Was added at a later stage another major front wall that hid the door completely at the sight of enemies.
Within the walls, which here reach a thickness of more than 7 m, trenches are formed, which extend for a good stretch of the north. To the south of the door is made of a strong trapezoidal, defended by a giant tower, within which he had to. be placed in a large catapult, mo-bile flowing through wheels within rails, which were discovered remains evident during recent excavations. From this strong could be sent through a tunnel dug into the rock, in the third moat.
As we understand, this whole complex system of tunnels and passages allowed the defenders of the castle to move quickly, without being seen from the outside, from one point of the fortifications, where most were essential to the danger, and to make sorties behind the attackers.
Starting from the castle you can make a visit to the north of the walls, the best preserved and most remarkable, even from the standpoint of view. Very interesting is the site of Scala Greca, to identify with the ancient entrance to the city called Hexapylon, where converged (and still converge) roads from the north of the island. Here you can see a lot of caves, two of them (the second and third from the exit of the highway Catania-Siracusa) hosted a rock sanctuary of Artemis, excavated in 1900, which returned a wealth of votive terracottas, including dominates the representation of the goddess with the deer.