The illustrious fortified-city of Monemvasia came into being during Byzantine times and was one of the largest castles in the Peloponnese. Through the ages it has been known by many names and has known many masters. Monemvasia with the stress on the first ‘a’ Monemvasia, on the second ‘a’ Monemvasia, or on the ‘i’ Monemvasia, Malvasia, Malvasoui, Outer Minoa, Little Gibraltar, or the Rock, as it has variously been known, was joined to the mainland by a wide stretch of land until a huge earthquake struck in AD 375, giving it its present shape and form. Walls protect the little town on three sides. There is a gate to the east, another to the west and a way out to the sea.
Its key location on the sea lane between East and West has made Monemvasia a most desirable prize for emperors, kings, sultans and pirates. Huge fortifications, imposing stone buildings and enormous churches are incontestable proof of the glory it has known.