There are some places that have a magical power of transferring you to another space and time. You pass their gate and suddenly find yourself in another era; something like a time machine. That was exactly my thought when I reached the big rock of Monemvasia and I realised that for the next few days I would be staying within the medieval walls of one of the best-preserved and vivid castles in Greece.
It was almost nightfall when I saw the bridge that connects the mainland with the islet of Monemvasia, I entered the castle and headed to hotel “Kellia”, a traditional preserved house recently transformed into a hotel.
But this is not an ordinary house
It is the place where the Great Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos was born. The hotel has a view of the recently renovated square of Chrysaphitissa and the Myrtoo Sea. As a matter of fact, the entire Monemvasia has this marvelous view. I felt like I was on a boat. The “drifting boat” of Ritsos and I didn’t care where I was heading…
Wandering around the castle of Monemvasia is like a journey into the past, in places and spaces never experienced before. I’d heard very interesting stories about the Spartans, Romans, Turks, Venetians, who were some of the inhabitants of this land and whose presence had left indelible traces.
In fact, Monemvasia throughout history met great glory, wealth and power but also many invasions and piracy. Mansions, cobbled streets, 40 different churches, fountains, a steam room and rich merchants’ houses unfolded before my eyes.
I was astonished by the colour of the houses, all identical; this beige-brick reminding me of Jordan and forming a vivid contrast with the blue color of the sea. I immediately fell in love with the tiny windows and the small wooden arched doors of homes that transferred me back to the land of Hobbit.
You will feel it straight away.
The moment you enter the fortress gate of the castle, it moves you into the atmospheric aura of settlement. There you make a long dive through time. You take the main path that starts from the gate and leads to all major sights and the four restaurants of the castle, coffee bars and beautiful tiny shops.
You are in a mythical Castletown, you collect images and feelings that are almost newfound.
Days after you are back home and you may close your eyes and magically you are there again- wandering in the castle, remaining breathless every time you mentally wander around the walls with a view of the endless blue sky and the Myrtoo Sea!
Things you have to do at Monemvasia →
♦ Eat fish at ‘Kanoni.’
♦ Climb at the Top Castle (Goula) to admire the view.
♦ Taste a Greek (or plenty of) “mezze” at ‘Voltes.’
♦ Enjoy breakfast on the terrace of ‘Emvasis.’
♦ Taste a chocolate drink at the cozy ‘Vathysfairo.’
♦ Drink an original cocktail on the terrace of ‘Enetiko.’
♦ Taste local products: the handmade pasta (goges), almond sweets and “Saitia” (fried pied with cheese.)
*All images taken by Polina Paraveskopoulou