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Monemvasia

The rock of Monemvassia, towering 300 m, above the eastern coast of Laconia, is an unforgettable site. The medieval, Byzantine and Venetian city is still very much alive on the south-eastern part, looking to the sea. At the top of the rock lies the old, now abandoned city. A low bridge connects the rock with the coast. The "sole entry" (moni emvasis, in Greek) gave the city its name. The first Laconians passed through here in the 6th century BC, seeking a place of refuge. There followed a thousand years of prosperity and glory.

Time has stopped in Monemvassia. There are magical walks through the busy highstreet, the cobblestone alleys, the mansions, the Byzantine churches, the terraced houses, the low arches, staircases and ramparts. The permanent residents are not many now, but there are thousands of visitors, since Monemvassia provides tourist facilities.

The 5th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities has reconstructed the demolished parts of walls in the Upper Town and has restored the church and the wall paintings of Agia Sophia. In the Lower Town , the sea wall has been rebuilt, the Moslem Mosque has been restored, the east and west bastion of the fortification wall have been consolidated, and many of the churches have been repaired and restored.