Monemvasia was one of the most important and most historic castles in Greece. In addition, it is without doubt one of the most beautiful castles in the world.
Monemvasia is built on a rock with unique access to the shore by a narrow strip of land from which it took its name. The physical location of the had made it ideal refuge during the invasions of barbarians.
Founded during the reign of emperor Maurice, in 583, when the inhabitants of the surrounding areas were trying to find shelter from the invasions of the Avars and Slavs.
The city seems originally founded on the highest plateau of the summit and later extended to the southeast, in place of smooth, sheltered and invisible from the Peloponnesian coast, additional features and privilege of a key observatory for many ships sailing the sea Myrtoo.
The settlement, though it had absolutely no water source became a naval and trading post on Sea Aegean streets.
The port city was double, in the north and south of the bridge that connected the rocky peninsula on the opposite shore. From the mid-10th century, the city began to grow dynamically, with the spreading of the settlement around the rock.
The urban planning of the settlement follows the natural terrain that allows the division in Acropolis, Upper Town and Lower Town. The Acropolis is located on the highest point of the rock.
It is trapezoidal in plan Byzantine fortress tower at each corner. In the northeast a circular tower probably served as a lookout or as a powder keg.
The Upper Town developed in the east of the Acropolis, at the top plateau, and is protected by a strong defensive wall, the ‘Goulas’ which is not continuous, since cliffs replace it in several places.
The only entrance is opened in the middle of the southern wall part at the end of a winding road that ascends from the lower city, the “Rides”.
This narrow gate leads through a vaulted corridor to a small plateau, north of which are the residence of the Venetian governor of the city Sebastiano Renieri (1514), and a little farther to the northeast, the great church of Hagia Sophia, catholic monastery originally dedicated to Virgin Hodegetria, built around 1150.