Monemvasia on Peloponnese peninsula

Monday, 3 April 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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© Katsikas pantelis/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Katsikas pantelis/cc-by-sa-4.0

Monemvasia is a town and municipality in Laconia, Greece. The town is located on a tied island off the east coast of the Peloponnese, surrounded by the Myrtoan Sea. The island is connected to the mainland by a tombolo 400 metres (1,300 ft) in length. Its area consists mostly of a large plateau some 100 m (330 ft) above sea level, up to 300 m (980 ft) wide and 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) long. Founded in the sixth century, and thus one of the oldest continually-inhabited fortified towns in Europe, the town is the site of a once-powerful medieval fortress, and was at one point one of the most important commercial centres in the Eastern Mediterranean. The town’s walls and many Byzantine churches remain as testaments to the town’s history. Today, the seat of the municipality of Monemvasia is the town of Molaoi.

The town’s name derives from two Greek words, moni (“single”) and emvasis (“approach”), together meaning “city of the single approach, or entrance”. Its Italian form, Malvasia, gave its name to the eponymous wine. Monemvasia has been nicknamed “the Gibraltar of the East”.

Monemvasia’s trade in wine was so extensive throughout its history, especially under Venetian administration, that the name of the place became familiar throughout Europe in connotation with the variety of wine called Malvasia, “Malmsey” in English. Though the wine was associated with Monemvasia through trade, it was not grown locally, rather coming for the most part from the Peloponnese region and islands in the Cyclades, especially Tinos. The variety of grape is believed by most ampelographers, however, to originate from Crete.

The central square, with the Byzantine church of Christ Elkomenos © Chris Kar/cc-by-sa-4.0 The former mosque © Jean Housen/cc-by-sa-4.0 The port © Jean Housen/cc-by-sa-4.0 Walkway in the upper town © Jean Housen/cc-by-sa-4.0 Church of Hagia Sophia © Jeroenu/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Katsikas pantelis/cc-by-sa-4.0 Panorama over the lower town © Ale30307/cc-by-sa-4.0 Street view © Jean Housen/cc-by-sa-4.0
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The central square, with the Byzantine church of Christ Elkomenos © Chris Kar/cc-by-sa-4.0
Monemvasia consists of the upper town, which is located on the plateau of the hill, and the lower town, which is built on the southern coast of the peninsula. The upper town is no longer inhabited, as it was abandoned after the second Venetian occupation. The entrance to the upper town today is through a fortified gate to which a winding path ascends from the lower town. A second entrance used to be on the north side, but was sealed during the first occupation by the Ottoman Empire. In the upper town was the acropolis of Monemvasia, a rectangular fortress with four towers, which was built in the 6th century, houses and public buildings, such as churches, cisterns and administrative buildings. The church of Hagia Sophia stands out among them. The layout of the settlement is no longer distinct.

The lower town is located under the southern wall of the upper town. It is walled on three sides: east, south, and west. Entry is through the west gate, which is connected by a road to the bridge over the causeway. The street continues inside the city and forms the main street of the lower town, which was known as the Middle Street in the Byzantine period. The area surrounding it was known as the “Agora” and along it are shops. This road intersects with the road that descends from the upper town and leads to the gate in the sea walls known as the “portello”. At the point where these two roads cross is Elekmenos Christos square, where the metropolitan church, the former mosque, and the episcopal palace—official residence of the bishop—are located. In the 19th century, two more squares were created, the Megali and Mikri Tapia. The rest of the streets of the lower town are narrow cobblestones, sometimes covered with vaulted structures known as dromi, over which sections of houses were built.

Read more on DiscoverGreece.com – Monemvasia and Wikipedia Monemvasia (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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