Monemvassia means in Greek “monm emvassi”, i.e. “one way in” or “the only entrance”. The imposing and steep rock is connected with the mainland only through a narrow piece of land.
Monemvassia in the southeastern coast of the peninsula of Peleponnese. Many people call it the “Gibraltar of Greece”.
By the end of the 6th century a.D. many Spartans (i.e. inhabitants of Laconia) left their town and migrated to Monemvassia to look for a safe place to protect themselves and their families from the Barbarians. The walled fortress of Monemvassia offered the Spartans the security they were looking for and they also used the town as a harbor. As the years went by, Monemvassia grew to a very important Byzantine trading port. In the centuries that followed, Monemvassia was invaded by the Venetians and then by the Turks.
The Venetians took the town under control again but at the end they had to give it up to the Turks without being able to resist. Finally, Monemvassia was liberated by the Greeks during the Greek War for Liberty, which began in 1821. Monemvassia was attacked by the Maniates (inhabitants of Mani) from land and by the Spetsiotes (inhabitants of the island of Spetses) from the sea. On the 23th of June 1821 Monemvassia was handed over to the Greeks.
The town in the walled fortress
Nowadays only very few inhabitants live in Monemvassia. The “Rock of Monemvassia” is getting particularly alive during the touristy periods of the year. The picturesque little streets, which are made of stone, with the little cafes and taverns, are an attraction for everybody who wishes to relax.