One of the most important archaeological sites is the ruined fortress of Paleochora, the island’s Byzantine capital. It was built by Monemvasians in the12th century and was named the city of Agios Dimitrios. It is located on the north side of the island, in the middle of a natural fortress in a deep wild canyon covered by huge rocks. The canyon ends at the coast of Kakia Langada. It was the place where residents would seek refuge from pirate raids.
The city was destroyed in 1537 by Admiral of the Turkish fleet Hayreddin Barbarossa, the so-called “black menace” of the sea, who sacked the town, massacred many inhabitants, burned and ravaged the once vibrant capital city which was not to be ever inhabited again. If you take a tour through the castle you will notice –among other churches- the church of Agia Barbara, an excellent example of Monemvasian architecture. There is a myth about Paleochora saying that late at night you can still hear the voices of women at the time of the slaughter! If you are quite adventurous, love nature and have hiking equipment you can climb down the canyon and end up at the beach!