This Rocky Island In Greece Is Home To a Hidden “Fortress Town” And It’s Surrounded by Beaches.


Off the coast of Peloponnese, perched on an island is this amazing town. A short course-way links it to the mainland. The Greek meaning of the name Monemvasia is ‘single entrance’. This massive Byzantine fortress town is hidden from plain sight by a mound of rock.

In fact, if you view the island from northern side, you might actually think it is just one plain rock. However, on the other side you will be amazed to find out that there is a town.

The island is not that big, having a width of 300 meters and a length of 1 kilometer. However, the importance of the town on it can never be underestimated. It was very popular and powerful centuries ago. Initially, people settled on the higher parts of the island, but later on, majority of the population migrated to the lower areas.

The town has a romantic wall around it, and the mass of rock shielding it on one side.

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Monemvasia Cityscape
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The island was initially part of the mainland, but an earthquake resulted in separation of the two. The town in itself is a living museum of the Ottoman, Byzantine, Venetian and Frankish histories that go back as far as the 13th Century.

During the latter years of the 6th Century, Slavic invaders who controlled a large portion of Greece forced a few people from Laconia to seek refuge in this island. The island was fought over and inhabited by Venetians and Turks interchangeably, until it was finally liberated after the Greek War of Independence.

The town’s rise in power was attributed to the fact that it is positioned in a very secure place, and as the Byzantine Empire was declining, it became its center. Over the years, it grew to become a major trade point, but diminished in popularity towards the end of the 18th Century. As a matter of fact, it got completely forgotten, until tourists rediscovered it in the 70’s.

Monemvasia, Greece at Night
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Monemvasia Hotel by The Sea
Photo Credit: Alas Resort

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Monemvasia From Far

The town is now rising in popularity due to its amazing array of sandy beaches. The historical nature of the town is also contributing to its rise in fame, since the whole place was carefully built to a level that many can describe as romantic. A number of hotels have sprung up, and the place is obviously receiving notable attention at the moment.

Adventure lovers can visit Kastania cave, where there are a lot of rare mystical wonders. And right beside it is a church and café once visited by pirates long ago. The place is simply amazing, and your next summer holiday should be spent there.