|2022-05-24||Europe: 2022-10-13 23:50 (UTC)|
Sparta, nowadays called Sparti was indeed left out. I visited its sights by walking&looking, discovered the inside too of the better cafés — still the Archaeological Museum itself remains missing. This had one specific reason: the town in respect of parking is overfilled-overspilled, I couldn't even find a parking spot for the motorcycle. I could probably try to park on the pavement doubtingly (didn't figure out whether it's prohibited, permitted or silently tolerated), but I still couldn't get up between the cars and among the cavalcade of the one-way streets. No intention of insult or whatsoever, but I wasn't that much interested, to leave the bike somewhere 3 million miles away.
Nonetheless altogether, even if minimally but I was in Sparti, then headed to the airier Monemvasia. It was quite negligible in ancient times, instead the bit farther to north Epidaurus Limira settlement had more significance, being a trading post. Currently it's not known whether Monemvasia had also such functions, although archaeologists have found signs of an ancient port. The famous traveller of ancient Greek sites Pausanias also visited the location, and he too noticed and noted down the singular prominent promontory, which separated from the mainland during the earthquake in 375.
The story of Monemvasia started in the sixth century. The inhabitants of the ancient region of Sparta in these times had stood against the earthquakes, the attacks of the Goths, the rambunctious Vandals, and they even survived the plague between 541 and 543, but the Slav raids between 587 and 588 forced them to relocate their settlement into Monemvasia. This all happened according the local newspaper (Chronicle of Monemvasia), besides although the archaeological science of recent times questions the sources of the editorial office or the article writers: some of the buildings by age determining put the establishment of the settlement a few decades earlier and to Byzantine origin.
From the sixth century Monemvasia started to bloom, mainly because of its direct seaside attachment, and lived the same history like the others of the Peloponnese: much to their misfortune, everyone wanted their flowers. Frank, Byzantine, Ottoman, Venetian fought for centuries over the strategically valuable area and the Greeks. By the number of objects, it appears the Byzantine and the Ottomans were the most successful, but the town can still enlist five cultures altogether: you can find the Hagia Sophia church with Byzantine elements in the citadel, on the main square the Christos Elkomenos with Pre-Christian nature, the Panagia Chrysafitissa of Ottoman influence, the Agios Nikolaos with West-European style, and the Panagia Myrtidiotissa with Italian characteristics.
Alas, couldn't climb up to the citadel because right maintenance, helicopter-assisted works happened. The pilot stayed at the same accommodation where did I, but he parked somewhere else.
Altogether Monemvasia is a pleasant visit. It's a great one, upmost two-days excursion for its geological peculiarity and diverse history, or just to sit out to one of cafés hiding on the narrow medieval cobblestone streets, then walk up to the citadel for the view, especially on a sunny afternoon. I didn't return on the evening again behind the medieval walls, but surely could worth it for the mood lights; the distance from the dryland to the gate isn't an exacting 1.2 km.
If you like the fruits of the sea
Then Greece and a seaside tavern is a good choice.