Monemvasia, Greece

The Castle Town of Monemvasia is among the most impressive places in Greece. Located on the southeastern side of Peloponnese, Monemvasia Greece was entirely carved on the backside of a sea rock in Medieval times. This huge sea rock is not visible from the mainland so that the locals could avoid enemy attacks. The only way to reach Monemvasia was by boat, while later on a paved pathway was constructed to connect the castle entrance to the mainland. This is how the name came out, meaning a single passage. A new town has been constructed on the mainland, just opposite the rock. A walk around the Castle Town is a travel to the past, while the sea view from the castle top is breathtaking.

Founded in the 6th century AD, Monemvasia is one of the oldest continually-inhabited fortified towns in Europe, the town is the site of a once-powerful medieval fortress, and was at one point one of the most important commercial centres in the Eastern Mediterranean. The town's walls and many Byzantine churches remain as testaments to the town's history.

Monemvasia was founded from the relocation of the inhabitants of Ancient Sparta. Sparta, unlike other cities that were abandoned, continued to be inhabited until the 6th century AD, despite earthquakes, Goth raids in 395 and Vandals in 468, and the plague epidemic of 541-543. According to the later Chronicle of Monemvasia, the city was abandoned after a Slav raid in 587-588, during the reign of Maurice. The Chronicle reports that its inhabitants left Sparta in panic and fortified themselves under the leadership of their bishop in Monemvasia. However, archaeological findings do not generally concur with this view, and place the foundation of Monemvasia a few decades earlier, during the reign of Justinian. The first level of the basilica church of Christ Elekmenos in the center of the lower town dates from that time.



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Monemvasia, Greece
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Founded: 6th century AD
Category: Historic city squares, old towns and villages in Greece

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