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Monemvasia

Greek port city (also Malvasy, Monembasia, Monemvassia) with today almost 5,000 inhabitants. It is situated on a rock off the coast of the province of Laconia on the south-eastern side of the Peloponnese peninsula. Because of its difficult capturing it was considered the "Gibraltar of the East". It owes its name to its location, "moni embasia" means "only access". In an extremely eventful history, it was under the rule of Byzantium, the Franks, again Byzantium, the Ottomans, the Pope, Venice, then again the Ottomans, again Venice and finally the Turks, until it finally fell to Greece in 1821 in the Greek war of liberation. In the late Middle Ages, under Venetian rule in the wine trade, the city was a famous trading centre for sweet wines from the Aegean, especially from the islands of Crete (Candia), Paros, Santorini (Thira) and Cyprus, which were shipped from here to many European countries. This led to the collective name Malvasia for the mostly sweet dessert wines made from various grape varieties, often not even related to each other. There is also a Greek grape variety called Monemvasia.

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