Monemvasia

Department Archive
Collection Byzantine Research Fund
Reference No. BRF/02/01/14/110
Level Item
Place Monemvasia
Dates 1888-1890
Creator Weir Schultz, Mr Robert
Barnsley, Mr Sidney Howard
Scope and Content General view. The photograph is annotated in pencil at the back.
Further information Monemvasia is built on a steep rock rising majestically from the sea a short distance from the most south-eastern extremity of the Peloponnese. Naturally fortified and in a strategic position (its name is translated as: ‘only one entrance’) it was inhabited as early as the 6th c. and reached its peak in the 14th c.

Combined forces of the Franks and the Venetians besieged Monemvasia in 1246 though in 1262 it returned to Byzantine hands. Under Andronikos II it became the seat of the tenth bishopric of the Byzantine empire. After a short period of independence, having seen off Sultan Mehmed in 1460 and enjoying for three years the protection of Pope Pius II, it was conquered alternately by the Venetians and the Turks.

The circuit walls of the acropolis, a rectangular fortress with corner towers, which enclosed a very large area, cannot be dated earlier than 1460 despite its Byzantine origins. Considerable sections of the south and east ramparts still survive in excellent condition.