The bastions have served a variety of purposes over the course of time. Under Venetian rule they were built and used to defend the city, whereas in the short-lived Cretan Independent State, foreign troops were garrisoned on them.

In recent years the entire enceinte has been restored and given a new image, closely associated with a range of leisure activities. Parks, theatre and concert venues and footpaths have been created to encourage today's residents to better identify with the monument.

The Jesus Bastion as it is today, (photograph: Vassilis Kozonakis)
The St. Andrew Bastion as rebuilt under Ottoman rule. The Pantocrator Bastion is visible in the background, (photograph: Vassilis Kozonakis)