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Monemvasia MAPS

MONEMVASIA
PELOPONNESOS
GREECE

Monemvasia, Lakonia, Peloponnesos, Greece

At the far end of Peloponnese, on the southern east coast of the peninsula looking on to Mirtoon Sea, at a distance of 95 km form the town of Sparta, stands Monemvasia.

A distinctly shaped great rock - "capsized ship" according to Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos - rising from the sea, only a few meters from the coast is often refered as the "Gibraltar of Greece".

A thin strip of land links it with the Gefyra, a fishing village on the main land. It takes 15 to 20 minutes walking from Gefyra to Monemvasia.

On the north side of the bay there are a few houses consisting the small village of Palea (old) Monemvasia.

Walking along the road you find the cemetery where in 1989 the famous Greek poet Ioannis Ritsos was buried as it was his motherland.

After the cemetery you reach the lower town of Monemvasia which is called "the Fortress" today. A wall protects the lower town from three sides east, south and west.

There are several churches around like Panagia Chrisafitissa, Panagia Mirtidiotissa, Chistos Elkomenos, Agia Sofia. On the east side of the main square stands the house with a garden containing the remains of the early Byzantine church. At the west end of the square there is the "Stellakis" house as it is known, that was reconstructed giving a lot of information about the architectural details and the appearance of the medieval town.


Monemvasia, Lakonia, Peloponnesos, Greece
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A small zigzag path connects the lower town with the upper town and it was difficult not only for the attackers but for the residents to curry their supplies using their hands or their donkeys.

The Fort city of Monemvasia with the one and only gate as its name suggests (Moni=sole, Emvasia=entrance) turns a dream into reality.

The site on which the rock now stands was called Minoa and was probably used by ancient Cretans seafarers as a base. That was where Greeks sought refuge from Slav invaders. They fortified the site using it as a harbour.

In subsequent years, they faced frequent raids. Normans tried unsuccessfully to seize Monemvasia in 1147. In 1249 William Villehardouin conquered it after a three year siege.

In 1460 it came under the authority of the Pope, while Venetians followed up to 1550. Turks seized it in 1715 and it was liberated in 1823.

The church of Agia Sofia overlooks the region at the bleakest part of the rock and is one of the most beautiful worship spots in Greece.

You will walk past a mosque converted into a museum, along an uphill path that takes you to the Fort. Old stone built mansions now used as inns and hotels form arcades over steps and greenery creating an environment of superb beauty.


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