Can you keep a secret?
From most vantage points, including from land, this rocky Greek island with a large flat plateau looks pretty abandoned.
But if you approach from a particular angle from the sea, you can see the small walled town of Monemvasia nestled under the 100 metre tall rock, hidden from prying eyes on the south-east slope of the rock.
The small island overlooking the stunning Palaia Monemvasia bay is up to 300 metres wide by one kilometre long and it’s believed it was separated from the mainland by an earthquake in 375 AD.
The town is a pretty amazing relic of the past. Once the site of a medieval fortress built to shield mainland inhabitants from the Slavic and Avaric invasion of Greece, it became part of the Byzantine Empire until 1460.
It was then an important shipment port and wine producer under alternating Turkish, Venetian and Ottoman rule for the following centuries before its significance dwindled during the Greek War of Independence in the 1820s. In the 1960s, as few as ten people lived on the island.
The town is now undergoing a modern day revival. A bridge to the mainland was built in 1971, linking it to the outside world and allowing people to visit its ancient alley ways. Hotels, bars and restaurants have also cropped up.
Despite this, it still retains most of its old world charm. Cars are prohibited on the island which now has 1400 inhabitants. Many of the medieval buildings have been restored, along with the remaining Byzantine churches, and the 6th century castle ruins still dot the island.
Just keep this one under your hat, alright? Once word gets out, this hidden paradise might get a little crowded.
(All other plus lead images: monemsavia.gr)
This post was originally published on January 28th, 2015 and has since been updated.