Chlemoutsi – Chlemoutsi Castle – (Χλεμούτσι) is the castle that Geoffroi II de Villehardouin had built in the far west of the Peloponnese. The name is a corruption of the French Clermont (Clair Mont), a reference to the beautiful location of this castle. The fortress, the largest and strongest in the Peloponnese, served to defend the port of Clarence a few kilometers from here, and the capital of this crusader principality of Andrèville. The castle later came into the hands of the Neapolitan monarchs of Anjou, who, among others, held prisoners there Marguerite de Villehardouin, last heir of the de Villehardouin family. Later on the castle came into the hands of the Venetians, who renamed it Castel Tornese, after the gold coins they had minted here, with on the reverse an image of Saint Mary of Tours. The last owners of the castle before the Turks would rule it were the Byzantine rulers of Mystrás, the Paleologists. From 1428 to 1432, Constantine XI Palaeologus, the last emperor of Byzantium, ruled here as governor of Elis. The Turksmade some other renovations (including the installation of artillery platforms, and the creation of some mosques), but in the last century of the Turkish occupation, the castle fell into disrepair until Ibrahim Pasha rendered it unusable.


Despite the varying occupations, the castle has largely retained its original character of a 13th century crusader castle, and is often cited not only as the clearest example of Franconian architecture in the Peloponnese, but at least as the best-preserved example. The castle consists of two separate areas, the so-called Courtyard with a chapel, and two spacious residences (the largest for the Prince of Achaia), and the much larger Courtyard with several smaller spaces (here are also the ruins of the mosque). Extensive repair work has recently been carried out in the castle (with EU support).