The castle town was built in the 6th century AD by the Laconians who moved there. It had many conquerors over the centuries and the signs of different cultures – Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, Ottoman – remain indelible to this day, inviting the visitor to discover them.
Since its establishment, due to its key position on the sea routes of the Eastern Mediterranean, it emerged as an important commercial port, so that from the 12th century it was economically supported to a large extent by trade. The inhabitants were particularly attached to the sea, and in fact the emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282-1328), called them a nation of “capable sailors and seafarers”.
During the second half of the 14th century, the Monemvasians had developed significant commercial activity in the Peloponnese, Crete and Venice. Despite the serious antagonisms between Byzantine and Venetian merchants and the instability and insecurity that prevailed in the wider Peloponnese region, commercial exchanges and relations were not interrupted.
The commercial bonds created the conditions for the spread of the Monemvasian sweet wine, which was known in the Venetian market under the name “Malvasia”.