Monemvasia, a Historic Fortress City Left Over from the Byzantine Era

Monemvasia, The Hidden City near the Greek Coast

Monemvasia is a rocky island off the east coast of the Peloponnese. There is a short causeway that connects the island to mainland Greece.

This island is about 300 meters wide and 1 km long, located one hundred meters above sea level. On the slope of the island’s plateau on the side of the part that juts into the sea, there is a hidden small town.

Monemvasia was a major city, commercial center, and trading port in the Byzantine era. The population at that time reached 40,000.

At first, some residents settled on the top of the island’s high plateau, but slowly began to move down the hill. This island developed into a trading center supported by a port.

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Location of the Island Separated from the Mainland

The ocean surrounds this small island. Most of the island is a high cliff with green plants.

The beach on the outskirts of the island is beautiful. Clear seawater and stone land overgrown with green plants.

Previously, the island of Monemvasia merged with mainland Greece. However, after an earthquake occurred in 375 BC, the island was separated from the mainland.

Social Life in Monemvasia

Monemvasia is home to quite many people. However, there are still many people living in this city because it’s easy enough to access the Greek land.

There’s a road that’s 200 meters long, connecting the Greek land and this city. Some people in this city manage hotels, shops, and restaurants.

This is because in the summer, many visitors come to this city on vacation.

Building Architecture in Monemvasia

The architecture of the buildings in Monemvasia is very distinctive. The houses in the upper town are generally two or three stories high.

The houses in the upper part of the city are almost the same height. Meanwhile, the houses in the lower part of the city are denser.

The types of houses that are in the lower part of the city are houses with facades on the narrow side, facades on the wide side, and square types that have more or less the same sides.

The city of Monemvasia is said to store the historical values ​​of Byzantium, Ottomans, and the Kingdom of Venice. However, some former medieval buildings have been restored and converted into hotels or restaurants.

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History of Monemvasia

The word Monemvasia comes from two Greek words, “mone” and “emvasia,” which mean single entrance. This term refers to the narrow road, which is the only access to the island.

The town at Monemvasa was founded in 538 during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Mauricius. Founded by people seeking protection from the Slavs.

Since the 10th century, it has developed into a trade and maritime center. In 1147, the town was able to survive the Ara and Norman invasions.

At that time, the people planted corn. The cornfields have fed up to 30 people in the fort.

In 1248, this area was captured by William II of Villehardouin. Then, in 1259, William II was captured by the Greeks at the Battle of Pelagonia.

This area later belonged to Michael VIII Palaiologos as a ransom from William II. This area remained a part of Byzantium until 1460.


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