In this unpretentious corner of Lakonia nature will capture you with its wildness and strength. Here, the local people, who have learned to live harmoniously with this nature, struggling during the centuries with the hard, dry land and the wild sea, will win you with their simplicity and open hearts.
The name “Monemvasia” is derived from two Greek words “mono”, meaning “single”, and “emvasia”, meaning “transfer” refering to the 163 metres long, narrow passage from the mainland to the rock of Monemvasia.
Beyond the passage, the rock, sharp and naked rises vertically before you, unaffected by land and sea. Around this naturally fortified place stretches the new settlement, which by no means can claim primacy for architecture aesthetics. Fortunately, it appears that the strong walls of Monemvasia still today resist any kind of siege.
The heavy gate of the castle with the antechamber seems like a strange but quite effective time machine. You pass through it – and you are magically sent into the past.
Monemvasia is one of the few castle towns in Europe that remains alive and inhabitated, while offering a complete tourist infrastructure as well.
You will have the opportunity to visit the byzantine aisled basilica of the “Hauled Christ” (14th century), “Panagia Myrtidiotissa” and “Church of Pantanassa” with its five tholos (13th century).
Climbing to Ano Poli
Quite sweaty and breathless you climb the (seemingly countless) steep stairs, pass the two arches and after a total of ten successive turns, reach the imposing main gate. On your way up, your eye has traveled over the roofs of the down town, playing with the bastion and the jagged battlements before getting lost in the openness of the sea.
Suddenly another world is opening in front of your eyes. The antechamber behind the gate showers you with a cool, strong wind in its shade, giving you the opportunity to relax and refind your breath.
Behind the gate you find the first pictures of Ano Poli in the blazing sun. Some parts of this fortified town have their roots back in the 7th century. Besides raising the tall walls around the city four different neighborhoods were created one after the other.
The church of Agia Sofia steals the show, seemingly hanging on the edge of the cliff, the view being absolutely awesome.
Castle of Monemvasia, Monemvasia 23070, Greece
Tel: +30 2732 061939
Hotel website E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prices from 170€ for a double room
Monemvasia 23070, Greece
Tel: +30 2732 061198
Prices from 80€ for a double room