Monemvasia is a wonderful medieval castle city located in the southeast of Peloponnese, in the Laconia Prefecture. The fortress is on a small peninsula with a huge rock that is 300 m/984 ft tall and 1.8 km/1.1 miles long. The Castle and the Old Town are built on the slopes of this huge rock that stands in the serene velvet-blue Mirtoon Sea.
Monemvasia means “single entrance” and this name suits the town which is separated from the adjacent town by a narrow bridge.
It was separated from the mainland by a 375 AD earthquake. The interesting town has a charming image of narrow pebbled streets and little stone houses.
Monemvasia is divided into a lower and upper town. The lower town at sea level has the ruins of houses and many churches, and has been tastefully restored.
The View of Monemvasia
The upper town or citadel is protected by castle walls and there you can see the ruins of Byzantine houses, towers, walls, guardhouses and large water cisterns.
Monevasia has a typical Mediterranean climate with warm and hot summers, and mild winters.
The stone houses of Monemvasia, Greece
This port city has overcome the urge to lose its culture and tradition to be taken over by modernization, and the nature and history of this place have been a great attraction to its visitors.
A Little Bit of History
This area was first settled in the 6th century, by the Sparta residents who fled from the clutches of the barbarians.
These people built homes and churches along spiraling lanes, on the rock, and built walls around the city and around the fortress.
They used a wooden bridge or waded through shallow waters to cross over to the mainland.
Monemvasia became an important city in the Peloponnesus and ships sailing from Constantinople to Italy stopped here to give rest to the high-ranking church members and aristocrats.
Before the town became a part of Greece, it changed between the Byzantine, Vatican, Ottoman, Frank and Venetian hands. Although it declined under the Turks, the Venetians revived it during their reign.
Church of Elkomenos Christos (Church of Christ in Chains)
The New Zealand brigade, which had occupied Monemvasia during WWII, was evacuated and the Germans used it as a place to treat its wounded soldiers.
Yannis Ritsos, a popular Greek poet of early 20th century, was born in this town.
The Independence Day of Monemvasia is celebrated on July 23rd, when everyone goes outside the castle and lights fireworks.
The area is famous for the Malvasia wine and traditional arts and crafts, which can be taken back as souvenirs.
Where is Monemvasia?
- 185.7 miles/ 299 km from Athens, Greece
- 858.1 miles/ 1,381 km from Istanbul, Turkey
- 220.5 miles/ 355 km from Zakynthos, Greece
- 490.2 miles/ 789 km from Thessaloniki, Greece
- 58.7 miles/ 94.5 km from Sparta, Greece
- 123.6 miles/ 199 km from Nafplio, Greece
- 94.4 miles/ 152 km from Kalamata Airport, Greece
- 203.8 miles/ 328 km from Athens Airport, Greece
- 392.7 miles/ 632 km from Crete Airport, Greece
Things to See
- Aghia Sophia
- Elkomenos Christos Church
- St Paul’s Church
- Fortress of Goulas
- Archeological Collection
- Port of Gerakas
- Upper Town
- Mandraki Beach
- Pera Kakavos Beach
- Pori Beach
- Xifias Beach
- Cave of Kastania
Monemvasia survives on its heritage and history, and visitors who experience it will not forget it.
It transports them to an era long past but not forgotten.
We wish you a fantastic Mediterranean cruise!