MONEMVASIA

Origin & History

Description

In the South East of Greece, in the Region of Laconia, around 300kms from Athens and 90kms from Sparta, one can find one of the most historic and exciting regions, Monemvasia. An area covered by more than 3 million blessed Olive trees.

Behind the walls of the most famous rocky islet in Greece, time has stopped. You are in a bygone era. You can feel it by touching its old stone walls, by taking in the fresh air coming in from the Myrtoo Sea, by strolling along its narrow cobbled alleys….Monemvasia has been called the Gibraltar of the Aegean….Outside this unique medieval castle settlement, our Extra Virgin Olive Oil Mana Gea is produced.

Monemvasia, apart from its history and its unique castle that attract tourists from all over the world, its excellent olive oil, is also famous for its wine, and amigdalota (almond macaroon sweets).

Olive Oil Culture

Greece, the country with bright sunshine and a mild Mediterranean climate, has been growing the olive trees that give us the famous and high quality Greek olive oil for 3000 years!

The Monemvasia Region benefits from higher elevation, which contributes to periods of lower winter temperatures and a moderate rainy season. The area enjoys long periods of sunshine, limited rainfall and moisture.

This together with the sea breeze off the Sea of Mirtoo, and the rich red soil of the region, combine to give our products the superb full taste, aroma, richness in nutrient vitamins and low acidity, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

History

Monemvasia, also known by the Franks as Malvasia , was separated from the mainland due to a major earthquake in 375 BC
Its name derives from two Greek words, mone and emvassia, meaning «single entrance». The rock is 300 m tall and 1.8 km long.

Middle Ages

The founding of the town and fortress of Monemvasia most probably occurred in the 6th century CE. The town was founded in 583 by people seeking refuge from the Slavic and the Avaric invasion of Greece. From the 10th century CE, the town developed into an important trade and maritime center. The fortress withstood the Arab and Norman invasions and conquests in 1147. Cornfields that fed up to 30 men were grown inside the fortress.

It was a Byzantine town that existed continuously under the domain of the Empire until 1460, when it was sold to the Pope by the Despot of Morea Thomas Paleologos (in 1464 the Pope sold it to Venice because the Papal State was not able to protect the city in the upcoming Turkish-Venetian war.) It was successively governed by Venetians and Ottomans in intervals:

* Venetian: (1464 – 1540)
* Ottoman: (1540 – 1690)
* Venetian: (1690 – 1715)
* Ottoman: (1715 – 1821)

The commercial importance of the town continued until the Orlov Revolt (1770) in the Russo-Turkish War, which saw its importance decline severely.

Modern Times

The town was liberated from Ottoman rule on August 1, 1821 by Tzannetakis Grigorakis who entered the town with his private army, on his own expenses, during the Greek War of Independence.

The citadel has been uninhabited since 1920.

In 1971, Monemvassia became linked with the rest of the outside world through a bridge on the western side that connects to GR-86.

In more recent history, the town has seen a resurgence in importance with increasing numbers of tourists visiting the site and the region. The medieval buildings have been restored, many of them converted to hotels.