On the highest point of Mount Erice, for centuries, the Castle of Venus is a haughty witness of cultures and cults.
On the highest point of Mount Erice in the eighth century BC was built a sacred enclosure, the so-called thémenos, which became one of the largest and most illustrious Mediterranean sanctuaries dedicated to the goddess Astarte, an important deity of the Pantheon of the Phoenicians and protector of sailors in this mountain found a reference point at night, thanks to the great fire that was lit here.
She was a Phoenician goddess, but assimilated to Aphrodite by the Greeks and to Venus by the Romans, who introduced the cult of Venus Erycina in Rome.
Today on the ancient sacred area is the imposing and impregnable fortress built by the Normans reusing architectural elements and stone of the remaking of the temple of Venus Erycina.
The castle was formerly surrounded by towers, works of advanced fortification connected between them by two curtains embattled and a drawbridge, the same of which is mentioned by the Arab geographer Ibn-Giubayr (sec.XII).
The castle was also the seat of the main representatives of royal authority, namely the Castellan and the Bajulo: the first administered criminal justice, managed the prison and supervised the maintenance of the fortress, the second was the head of civil justice as well as control over the payment of taxes.
Just from the Bajulo of the kingdom takes name the area surrounding the Castle, with the name of “Balio”.
On the main facade, visitors are welcomed by the entrance portal – an ogive arch with the Hapsburg coat of arms of Charles V – enriched by a precious fourteenth-century mullioned window.
April – May
June – October
10:00 – 18:00
July – September
10:00 – 19:00
10:00 – 20:00
INFORMATION AND RESERVATIONS
Full ticket (ADULTS)
PRICE PER PERSON: 4,00 € (12,00 € in case of integrated ticket Castle + Museum + Tower + Spanish Quarter + Erice in miniature)
Other ideas for your trip
- Not to be missed
- Castles and Historic Buildings