Monemvasia is a Gibraltar-like rocky island off the east coast of the Peloponnese, in Greece, and linked to the mainland by a short causeway. The island is about 300 meters wide and a kilometer long, and rises in a plateau, a hundred metres above sea level. On the slope of this plateau, on the seaward side and hidden from the mainland, lies a small town. This remarkably romantic walled town, nestled under the shadow of the towering rock is a living museum of Byzantine, Ottoman, and Venetian history dating back to the 13th century.
Monemvasia was settled in the 6th century by the inhabitants of ancient Laconia seeking refuge from the Slavic invaders who dominated much of Greece between 500 to 700 AD. The rocky island had been separated from the mainland by an earthquake in 375 AD. Over the next several centuries, Monemvasia changed hands again and again, back and forth, between the Venetians and the Turks, until it was liberated during the Greek War of Independence in the early 19th century.