Film info

Creator / Collector

The lens approaches the cannon hole as if it wants to travel through its hole to the glorious past of the medieval castle city, when it was threatening the invaders.

We are in Monemvasia, in the Christos Elkomenos central Square where we see the Church of the Elkomenos Christos, a basilica with its majestic bell tower.

Above it, we see the church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Myrtidiotissa which is a domed basilica (1690-1715), surrounded by old mansions of incomparable architecture. We see behind a bougainvillea flower, a part of the city’s fortification following the hill’s edges and at the top of the hill the walls of the castle.

Going up the cobbled stairs we meet the gate of the castle and immediately after the narrow labyrinthine of cobbled streets with its burrows that used to wait to trap the enemy. Alongside the wall, over the steep cliff, we see the Myrtoan Sea in the background as far as the horizon ends.

We see between the castle and the Myrtoan Sea, the city with its stone houses in complete harmony with the rock that houses them and the churches of Panagia Myrtidiotissa and the Elkomenos Christos one more time.

The film closes with a shot of one of the bastions of the castle.


Film Information

Bonar, Andrew Graham

HD (1440x1080)



Duration (seconds)

Super 8mm

Creator's description

Now what’s this? Ah, a canon –very appropriate, too, because this is another of the famous fortresses of Greece, perhaps the most impregnable of all: Monemvasia. Every square inch of this place is rich in history. How many sieges did Monemvasia endure? Was it ten, or more? Probably more. Some of the sieges went on for many months. One, conducted by the Frankish seigneur William de Villehardouin, actually went on for three whole years before the defenders finally surrendered.

The best viewpoint is naturally from the medieval battlements, so let’s climb up there. Through the outer door and along the passage, so easy to block and defend, so difficult to attack. Really the only way to conquer this fortress was by starving out the defenders, and this is what invariably happened.

From the battlements it is easy to see that an enemy attacker trying to scale the steep cliff would have an almost impossible task.

Looking down on the little walled town of Monemvasia it appears half deserted. Many of the houses are in ruins, but though this place will never regain the strategic importance it once had it is gradually being reconstructed and it will surely become a tourist attraction in years to come.
Bonar, Andrew Graham