Monemvasia is on the southeastern coast of the Peloponnese archipelago. The town is a part of the municipality of Laconia, and draws its name from the Greek terms “mone” and “emvasia”, meaning “single entrance”. Within the last few decades, the medieval buildings were restored, GR-86 was built to connect to the mainland, and tourism had begun to flourish. It's known for its hidden Byzantine fortress town, bearing Venetian, Frankish, Ottoman and, of course, Byzantine influence. Its nickname is “The Rock”, and “the Gibraltar of the East”. 8,000 years ago, in ancient Cape Minoa, Monemvasia was a port of call for travelers between Greece, the Cyclades, and Crete. It is believed that the rock was a Minoan trading post in its antiquity, and helped join the Mycenaean and Minoan cultures. Monemvasia was joined with the Peloponnese mainland until 375 AD when a massive earthquake compromised the region’s geomorphology. Historical towns such as Asopos, Vies, Epidaurus Limera and Plythra were either partly or completely submerged as a result of the earthquake. Earliest Laconian settlers were Greek refugees escaping the Arab and Visigoth invasions in 583 AD. From the 10th century AD on, the town became a core maritime and trade port. The town’s geographic positioning made it a strategic stronghold for the Byzantine military operations - so much so that it ultimately became the last Byzantine stronghold to fall to Greece and the first liberated fortress in the Peloponnese for Greece which led to success during the ongoing fight against the Turks in 1821. Over the centuries, there were many battles between the Venetians, Byzantines, Franks, Turks, as well as the Pope, as they realized the geopolitical importance of Monemvasia. Its recent resurgence in importance was born from its increase in tourist interest. Tourists visit the Monemvasia Fortress, as well as the Christos Elkomenos Church, and archeological site of Epidavros Limera. Climb to the church of Hagia Sophia to catch a glimpse of the most magnificent views of the town and the Myrtoan Sea.
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