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Monemvasia, in the "stone ship" of Yiannis Ritsos

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Monemvasia, in the \

Monemvasia, in the "stone ship" of Yiannis Ritsos

Located on the southern slopes of the Peloponnese lies a treasure trove of history and beauty, a place where every stone carries memories of past centuries and the waves of the Aegean gently caress the rugged coastline. This is Monemvasia, a hidden gem that beckons travelers to explore its intricate alleyways and immerse themselves in its timeless charm.

My encounters with Monemvasia are deeply etched in my memory, as each visit offers a new level of discovery. It's not just a destination - it's a journey back in time, a gateway to an era where medieval grandeur and the splendor of nature converge in perfect harmony.

Leaving behind the modern town of Monemvasia and approaching the Castle Town, the sight of the imposing rock protruding on the horizon awakens a sense of anticipation. You feel like you're part of a living painting, where every brushstroke tells a story. The very name of the town, "Monemvasia," meaning "single entrance," alludes to the mystique that awaits within its walls.

Walking through the narrow cobblestone streets, lined with stone buildings adorned with bougainvillea and jasmine, I couldn't help but feel transported to another time. Every step reveals hidden corners and crevices, inviting exploration and sparking the imagination. The home of the great Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos remains there to remind of his profound love for the place where he was born and raised, for the "stone ship," as he used to call Monemvasia.

One of the highlights of my visits has always been the ascent to the Upper Town, where the majestic medieval castle stands guard against the passage of time. The climb is steep, but the rewards are endless. The church of Agia Sophia, perched on the edge of the rugged rock, is one of the 40 churches of the castle and is considered a faithful replica of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. From the advantageous point at the top of the walls, the panorama unfolds somewhat magically: the endless blue of the Aegean stretching to the horizon, the distant outline of the mountains, and the rooftops of the Lower Town with their beautiful terracotta hues. In the central square, the church of Christ Elkomenos, built in the 13th century, and the Archaeological Museum are among the important sights not to be missed by anyone who is fortunate enough to wander in this blessed place.

However, the charm of Monemvasia is not limited to its history. Venturing beyond the castle walls, I discovered the picturesque harbor of Portelo, where the crystal-clear waters beckon weary travelers to rejuvenate their spirits. Here, time seems to stand still, allowing moments of peace and contemplation in the embrace of the sea.

Of course, to complete a visit to such a spectacular destination, one must indulge in its culinary delights. From traditional tavernas, where visitors have the opportunity to taste traditional Monemvasian cuisine, to cozy cafes offering sweet treats made with love, the gastronomic journey is a celebration for the senses. I still remember the taste of freshly baked sweets and the aroma of Greek coffee lingering in the air.

As the sun prepared to disappear on the horizon, casting a golden hue over the landscape, I felt reluctant to bid farewell to this enchanting haven. Monemvasia, with its timeless beauty and historic past, is a place I long to return to again and again. In the embrace of Monemvasia, I discovered not just a destination, but a sanctuary for the soul - a testament to the timeless spirit of the Peloponnese region. And as I gazed out at the sparkling sea, I thought that perhaps some journeys never truly end. They simply await our return...

“My lady Monemvasia, my stone ship. You have a thousand bows and a thousand sails. You are motionless and you allow me to sail around the world.”  (Yiannis Ritsos)

Irene Bebekli

Irene Bebekli

I am Irene, I am a web & 3D designer and I love design, pastry and baking, photography and traveling, writing short articles, crafting and creative ideas! So I took a "jar", I put in all these "things" that I love and that' s how my digital magazine "Greek jar" was made! I hope you like it as much as I do!!!

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