Koules or "The Castle", as it was
called, is situated at the entrance of the old port of Iraklio. It
acquired its final form between 1523 and 1540 and was named "Rocca al Mare"
(rock at the sea). Above the gate of the Castle there is the sculptured
Lion of the Democracy of St. Marcus, the symbol of Venice. It housed
authorities, prisons, and storage rooms. In addition, it protected the
city and the port from the enemies. During the Turkish Occupation, it was
named "Koules" (fortress). Nowadays, Koules is used for various cultural
events (exhibitions, music, theatre).