During the Middle Ages the island of Kythera- also known as Tsirigo from the post-Byzantine period until today – was a part of the Byzantine Empire. Living memories and eloquent traces from the Byzantine years and Venetian rule (1204 – 1797) can still be found everywhere on the island. The ruins of the Byzantine settlement at Paleochora stand on a small, rocky area on the northeast side of the island. The settlement, naturally fortified by a deep and steep ravine, was probably established soon before the 12th century and was named Agios Demetrius. It prospered until 1537, when it was destroyed by a piratic invasion led by Barbarossa. The area was completely abandoned thereafter and it was named Palaeochora. The strong, tall building walls still stand today and testify to the impressive edifices that once adorned the ruined Byzantine city.