Nauplia (medieval Anapli) is a city in the Argolid and the port of Argos. Through most of its history it shared the fate of Argos. Under the later Roman Empire it had no independent status. The acropolis was fortified, and its main gate to the lower town, built into later walls, still survives.
The city rose to prominence by the 11th century, undoubtedly as a result of its maritime position. Prosperity at Nauplia is suggested by the large number of churches built in the vicinity in the 12th century, although regulations drafted by Leo, bishop of Argos and Nauplion, for the Monastery of Areia show that around 1143 the area around the city was threatened by pirates. Nauplia was one of the cities in which the Venetians were given special trading privileges in 1198. The fortifications of Nauplia allowed it, like Argos, to hold out against the Franks until 1212. Nauplia fell under the nominal control of the Duchy of Athens, and came under Venetian rule in 1388.
Habitation at Nauplia during the medieval period was probably concentrated in the upper city, with a port and harbor facilities in the lower area. The spacious western fortifications, built on ancient foundations, probably represent the Byzantine city. To the east is an area added by the Crusaders, while the easternmost part of the fortifications as well as the wall around the lower town were erected by the Venetians. The remains of a probably Byzantine church have been excavated on the citadel, and the Church of Hagia Sophia just under the walls may date to the Frankish period.
Section under construction
The Monastery of Areia, known as Hagia Mone or Nea Mone, was founded near Nauplia shortly before 1143 by Leo, bishop of Argos and Nauplia. Leo originally established the monastery, dedicated to the Virgin, at Areia as a convent for 36 nuns. Around 1143, however, he was forced by the threat of pirate raids to move the nuns farther inland to a new convent that he built at Bouze. He then installed 36 monks at Areia. In 1143, Leo composed a memorandum in which he guaranteed the monastery's independent status. He also prepared a typikon, based on that of Stoudios, but more lenient in some of its provisions. In 1212 the region of Nauplia was occupied by the Franks, and in 1389 it came under Venetian control, but the monastery remained in the hands of Orthodox monks. It retained its independence until 1679, when it became a metochion of the Holy Sepulchre. The cross-in-square monastic church, dedicated to the Zoodochos Pege (Life-giving Source), was completed by 1149, the date of a dedicatory plaque. Built of brick on a high foundation, it is decorated on the exterior with marble crosses and maeander friezes, like Merbaka and other churches in Argolis. Of its interior ornament little remains save for the elaborate composite capitals of the four columns beneath the dome.