Photographer's Note

‘Monemvasia – the Rock’

Hereby my third and fourth (# 4 is in the workshop) picture of Monemvasia (Μονεμβάσια).

This time twice a complete view of the rock, linked to the mainland with a narrow causeway.
Both pictures are taken at the shore in New Monemvasia (or Yefira).

The main post shows the rock from the southwest.
On top you can see some ruins of the upper old town of Monemvasia. In the green part on top of the pic (and at the other side of the rock, also on top) you find many remains of buildings from the Byzantine and post-Byzantine period, including the church of Hagia Sophia (Saint Sophia). See my first post in this serial. In Spring these ruins are amid a jungle of green shrubs and lots of yellow and blue flowers.

At the right side of the rock, down at the bottom, you see the diagonal line of a part of the wall that surrounds the lower old town. It’s too far away to see the entrance gate but the lower town is behind this wall. You can see a pic of the lower town in my second post in this serial.

The photo in the workshop shows the rock from the west-northwest side.
The first picture is taken at the end of the afternoon and the second one right before sunset.
Does anyone think I should have changed the order of posting (main post vs workshop) ?

Sometimes this place is called the ‘Gibraltar of Greece’. The shape of the rock in Monemvasia resembles a little the shape of the one in Gibraltar and the views from on top are in both places quite spectacular but still I find that Monemvasia is really unique. You will understand I enjoyed my visit of it very much.

Some information about the history, from :

Monemvasia has been separated from the mainland by an earthquake in 375 A.D.
Its name derives from two Greek words, mone and emvassi, meaning "single entrance". It was called Malmsey by old English writers, Napoli de Malvasia by the Venetians and Malvoisie by the French.

It was founded by the Byzantines in the sixth century and shortly after it became an important port. It remained in Byzantine possession for almost seven hundred years until it was captured by the Franks in 1249 after a three year siege. However, it returned to Byzantine hands ten years later and became the chief port of the Despotate of Mystra.

When the rest of the region was captured by the Turks in 1460, Monemvasia remained unharmed by placing itself under the control of the papacy (1460-1464) and later under the Venetians (1464-1540). In 1540 the Turks gained control of Monemvasia after the Venetians abandoned their garrison. Although Monemvasia experienced decline under Turkish control, it underwent a revival when it returned to Venetian hands between 1690 and 1715.

In the War of Independence, Monemvasia was the first of the major Turkish fortresses to fall after a four month siege in July 1821. On August 1st 1821, overcome by misery and illness the Turks agreed to surrender to Demetrios Ypsilantis.

During World War II the New Zealand 6 Brigade numbering several thousand men was successfully evacuated on April 28th 1941 mainly from the causeway and the two piers. Soon after the Germans entered Monemvasia, which was not used as a defensive position but rather as a place for wounded soldiers to recover.

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6789 W: 24 N: 16039] (62846)
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