View of the “New” city of Monemvasia and the harbor from the top of the “Rock” or “Citadel” of the Fortified City of Monemvasia (Ano Poli or Upper Old Town), Greece, after we spent the morning hiking up to the top
Clinging to the side of the steep, rocky outcropping known as Laconia, the Byzantine town of Monemvasia has been inhabited since the sixth century A.D. Separated from the mainland by a massive earthquake in 375 A.D., Monemvasia once controlled the sea lanes between Western Europe and the Levant, much as Gibraltar controlled the entrance to the Mediterranean. According to the locals, seventy years ago the Old Town (or “Old Ship” as one Greek poet called it) was mostly a pile of rubble and unoccupied. Restoration began in the 1960s and 1970s and accelerated over the next two decades. The pedestrian city is now the summer home of wealth Greeks, especially on the weekends. In the winter, only a dozen or so residents remain in the windy and cold Old Town; the rest of the summer shop owners and workers go back to their homes in Athens or other Greek islands.
Some of the restored residences in Kato Poli (Lower Old Town) in the Citadel of Monemvasia, Greece, with the wall of the Ano Poli (Upper Old Town) visible at the top of the photograph
As we climbed up the Citadel (or “the Rock”) of Monemvasia, Greece, we had terrific views of Epidavron Limiras Gulf and the passing sailboats
A small group of us hiked from the harbor in New Monemvasia through the citadel gate and then through Kato Poli (Lower Old Town) and up through the rock outcroppings into and through Ano Poli (Upper Old Town) to the top of the Citadel. On our way back down to the harbor, we stopped in Kato Poli (Lower Old Town) for refreshments, shopping and then a nice luncheon on a terrace with views of Old Town and the Gulf.
In the center-left of this view of Kato Poli (Lower Old Town) is Elkomenos Christos (Church of the Elkomenos or Christ in Chains) — with the dark roof — dating back to the early-Christian period with architectural features from several eras, Monemvasia, Greece
The beautifully restored dome and interior frescoes of the church at the top of the Citadel in Ano Poli (Upper Old Town) are the result of a two-year cultural renovation project underwritten by the E.U., Monemvasia, Greece
The view from the top of the Citadel takes in Kremmydi Point looking to the north of the island, Monemvasia, Greece
One of the 40 Greek Orthodox churches in Kato Poli (Lower Old Town), Monemvasia, Greece
A view from Restaurant To Kanoni of Elkomenos Christos (Church of the Elkomenos or Christ in Chains), Monemvasia, Greece
The interior of Elkomenos Christos (Church of the Elkomenos or Christ in Chains), Monemvasia, Greece