Spending Easter in Monemvasia is definitely a spiritual experience, as the locals live the Passion Week in devoutness and deep contemplation. Delve into an overwhelming spiritual atmosphere and participate into sacred rituals, ancient-old traditions and joyful celebrations!
Monemvasia, founded by the Byzantines in the sixth century, is a breathtaking medieval tower town located on the south-eastern coast of the Peloponnese. Upon entering the castle, your journey through time begins. Peer into the history of the fortress –the so-called “Gibraltar of the East”–, which was occupied by the Byzantines, the Crusaders, the Venetians, and the Turks in the past and explore this mystical stone-built settlement, nestled at the edge of a big rock by the sea. The “Kástro” (castle) is divided into two parts, the lower and upper town. In the lower part of the town, explore the ruins of the historic buildings situated there – among which the Muslim Mosque, a preserved 16th century building housing the Archaeological Museum–, as well as the magnificent Byzantine churches. In the (uninhabited) upper part of the town, you will come across the remains of old Byzantine buildings. A rocky twisty path leads you to the Fortress of Youlás offering an outstanding view of the city!
Following the Good Friday procession of the Epitaph around the cobbled lanes of the medieval fortress town of Monemvasia is an unforgettable experience; the faithful join in the procession taking place in the church of Elkomenos Christus holding white candles; Easter hymns echoing around the place create a mystical atmosphere steeped in devoutness and contemplation… The sound of the funeral bells ringing, and the scents of the nature in blossom blend harmoniously in sweet melancholy. On Easter Sunday evening, in the courtyard of Elkomenos Christus Church, you can observe the ancient-old ritual of “Judas Burning” reviving: an effigy of Judas made by wood and straw- and filled with explosives- is set on fire! In the afternoon, religious rituals will smoothly let gastronomic desire prevail, as everyone focuses on the preparation of the Lucullian Easter meal!