Μετάφραση Greek Version


Monemvasia is one of the most beautiful castle towns in Greece. Situated on a rocky island off the east coast of the Peloponnese, it is joined to the mainland by a 400-meter-long causeway, from which it derives its modern name meaning “city of the single approach or entrance”. The town was founded around the 6th century AD by people from the region who found refuge on the rocky island, in order to protect themselves from Arab and pirate attacks. At one point, Monemvasia was one of the most important commercial and trading centers in the Eastern Mediterranean, nowadays it has flourished again, this time as a tourist destination.  

The medieval town lies at the foot of a rock, about a one and a half kilometers long. Its cliffs rise to about 183 meters and are crowded by the ruins of a medieval fortress. Due to this high rock, it has been nicknamed “the Gibraltar of the East”. The castle town consists of the upper town, which is located on the plateau of the hill and the lower town which is built in the southern coast of the peninsula. The upper town is no longer inhabited but offers panoramic views of the lower town and the Byzantine church of Agia Sofia. The entrance to the upper town is through a winding path that ascends from the lower town. Once in the upper town was the acropolis, a fortress town with public buildings, cisterns and churches.

The lower town is located under the southern wall of the upper town and is walled on three sides. Entry is through a big gate on the west, which is connected by a paved alley to the bridge over the causeway. The alley continues inside the walls and forms the main street of the town. The road is lined with shops and leads to the main square where the metropolitan church, the former mosque and the grave of the famous Greek poet Giannis Ritsos are located. The rest of the streets are narrow cobblestoned alleys, sometimes covered with vaulted structures and arches.

The town’s walls, some old buildings and many Byzantine churches still remain as testaments to the town’s rich history. Most of those buildings have now been restored and turned into guesthouses, boutique hotels and restaurants. There are some important monuments in the castle town including the Church of Christos Elkomenos in the central square and the Muslim Mosque of the 16th century which now is home to the archaeological collection of Monemvasia. The collection includes finds from the excavations in the area. Monemvasia is home to about 40 churches, among them the Byzantine church of Agia Sofia in the upper town which sits near the edge of a cliff. It is a cross-in-square structure built according to the prevailing byzantine architecture and one of the most important religious monuments of the town.  

Getting there

Monemvasia is situated on the southern coast of the Peloponnese. It is 86 kilometers southeast of Sparta and 322 km from Athens. The total driving time from Athens is approximately 4 hours via the motorway that connects Athens with Tripoli and Sparta. Another option is to take the country road from Corinth to Argos, Astros and Leonidio, and then to the traditional villages of Kosmas and Geraki. From Geraki the road will take you to the village of Molai and finally to Monemvasia. It is a much longer route (5-6 hours from Athens) through winding mountain roads, but the natural beauty, sea views and the mountainous terrain will definitely reward you. If you are travelling by public bus, there are plenty of regular bus services to Monemvasia from Sparta and other Lakonian towns and villages.