Derelict cannon at the Fortezza of Rethymno

Main gate of the Fortezza

The fortress towering over the little Cretan town of Rethymno is a strange place. Built by the Venetians at the end of the 16th century to protect the town and its inhabitants from Ottoman invaders, it proved ineffective for this purpose in 1646, when it was taken after a short siege. The Ottomans demolished the church and built a mosque in its place.

When the Germans invaded Crete in 1941, the Fortezza was subject to air strikes before paratroops landed south of Rethymno. The Germans then used it as baracks and prison.

So the Fortezza is not really good for a symbol of Greek national pride, yet too prominent to ignore. Maybe it is therefore fitting that the cannon on the site are not mounted and in the positions the fortress has for them. I am actually not sure if these cannon were ever meant to arm the fortress. They could also be salvaged from the sea by the level of decay. But the climate on the Fortezza is very salty, with predominant wind from the sea and high waves, so they possibly have corroded away like this on land.

View over the Fortezza from south. The length of the perimeter is 1307 meters.
Derelict cannon
The cannon at the front here is in a little better shape than the others. It retains multiple delicate reinforcement rings.
Derelict cannon
Derelict cannon
The calibre of these pieces is around 6-12 lbs., so not really the kind of ordnance you would expect on a fortress or man of war.
Derelict cannon
The cannon at the front here very much looks like out of the sea.
Derelict cannon
The cannon are basically dumped next to a building that is used as restoration lab of the town’s antiquities department.

The Palace Armoury in Valetta

Malta’s capital Valetta is as much a town as it is a fortress and this armoury has the matching tools.

Noon signal in Valletta

In relation to size, Malta is probably the most fortified land in the world. The armed conflicts this tiny nation was in involved in are epic and so it is fitting that the harbour of the capital Valletta is flanked with two huge forts. On the north side there is a battery of British 19th century front-loading guns, one of which is fired every day at high noon. Even though the country gained political independence from the United Kingdom in 1964, the action here is carried out by reenactors posing as British colonial soldiers.


Cannon at the Royal Palace Garrison in Mandalay

Don't let this image fool you - Mandalay is a bustling trade center and definitely not a tranquil place.

When I visited Burma in 2012, there was little international tourism in Mandalay. The town does not offer a lot spectacular sites compared to other places in the country, so many visitors use it as a stop-over at most. Therefore the museum located in the middle of an ancient but still used garrison caters mostly to a local audience.