A large number of historic monuments are scattered throughout the Municipality of Monemvasia. As in the rest of the Peloponnese, there are numerous reminders of the region’s turbulent history of invasion and wars, but also of its human achievements.

Its past history emerges in the writings of that traveller of antiquity, Pausanias, who described in detail the most important monuments in the region, such as the town of Epidaurus Limera, still prosperous when he visited it, and traces of which still stand facing Monemvasia. Ruins of other ancient towns still remaining include Ancient Kyphanta, at Kyparissi, and the fortress of Zarakas, at Gerakas.

The Municipality of Monemvasia is perhaps one of the only places in the world where there are not one but two submerged ancient towns – the prehistoric settlement of Pavlopetri near Neapoli and the ancient town of Plytra, at Asopos, both now largely under water as the result of seismic activity throughout the Maleas peninsula. The ruins of both are visible to swimmers using goggles and snorkels.

The existence of a number of fortresses shows that the region was subjected to repeated invasions. From antiquity, but particularly in the Middle Ages, the local population was forced to fortify its settlements in order to survive the repeated wars, invasions and pirate raids. The most important of all – and one of the most beautiful medieval towns in the Mediterranean – is the fortress of Monemvasia, for many centuries an invincible bulwark but also a place of prosperity and culture.

Smaller fortresses and fortification works worth visiting include the fortress of Aghia Paraskevi near Mesochori, and the ruins of Palaiokastro at Papadianika.

A military monument from the more recent past is the German Watchtower built during the World War II occupation above the village of Velanidia, near Cape Maleas.

Reminders of more peaceful times include the watermill at Talanta and the folklore museums at Velies and Riechia. Finally, the recently restored Cape Maleas lighthouse is a sight not to be missed.

German Watchtower

Τhe stone German Watchtower, a few kilometers above Velanidia, was built during the World War II occupation of Greece. Men from the surrounding region were conscripted to build this fortified structure at the top of a cliff overlooking the cape that afforded the German forces a bird’s eye view of the Aegean Sea as far as Crete. When the war ended, it was looted by the local population.

Trekkers who make the climb will be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama.

Cape Maleas
The watchtower can be reached from both sides of the Cape Maleas peninsula along a marked trail.

The shortest route is from Velanidia. Follow an unsurfaced track accessible by car to a certain point, from which walking trail D11 leads up to the watchtower.

From the western side of the cape, follow the road from Aghios Nikolaos to Aghia Marina to the other end of the D11.

Free entrance

Zarakas fortress

The archaeological site or fortress of ancient Zarakas is on the northern side of the Gerakas inlet right behind the village, where traces of prehistoric habitations have been found.

Still visible are parts of the ancient wall and sections of homes, probably dating from the Hellenistic and later periods.

According to Pausanias (1, 38, 4), the site was named after the hero Zarikas, son of Petraios, the king of Karystos and a friend of Apollo, who founded a town there between 1300 and 1200 BC



The fortress lies 20 km north of Monemvasia, about 20 minutes by car.

Park in the small square just outside the settlement and then walk up the surfaced road to the left towards the fortress.

There is a bus service from Molai twice a week.

Port of Gerakas


Always open

Free entrance