The Castle [Kastro] of Monemvasia
Our true acquaintance with Monemvasia starts after crossing the main portal, the Gate. The cobblestone alleyway which during the Byzantine time was called “the middle” and during the Venetian rule, “foros”, today is known as the “market”. Textiles, casseroles, mortars, saddles, leather items, foods and the famed sweet Malvasia wine, were all products that once occupied the counters of the stores and covered the inhabitants’ basic needs. Today, centuries later, the traditional coffee stores, the restaurants, the souvenir shops, the wineries and wine tasting facilities, the groceries and many miniature shops, hidden beneath stone arches and vaults, manage to retain the magical flair of the Castle Town. Tastes, aromas and images from the past will make your stay memorable, offering a lifetime experience, a truly unique escape.
Within the castle walls there are high-end traditional guesthouses, occupying restored listed buildings which, showing total respect to the area’s history and architecture, harmonically combine the rich cultural and historic heritage with the most up – to – date services and facilities. There is no doubt that everyone’s – the inhabitants’, the visitors’ and the travelers’ alike – aim and responsibility shouldn’t and can’t be the Castle’s adaptation to the constantly increasing needs of the modern traveler, but, on the contrary, the intent should be the visitors’ integration and adaptation to the surroundings and the absolute respect for the environment and the long cultural heritage of the area. By keeping the standards and by carefully combining the traditional architecture with the modern amenities, the traditional guesthouses have, for a long time, managed to maintain Monemvasia’s myth and at the same time guarantee that the visitor will truly experience a magical journey to the past.
Who would not be amazed by the image of the majestic rock, which, through its long lasting historical course, has numerous stories to tell, about battles, sieges, raids, famine or plague but also about moments of glory, victory, liberation… Simple, everyday people, royalties, clergy, scholars, merchants and military people alike, have walked past the cobblestone alleys, smelled the aroma of bougainvillea, felt the raging northern winds sweeping them away, the salty water on the lips and the stinging feeling of the seawater burning the eyes, have gazed the sea, at times with fear and agony and some other moments with longing expectation!