"Before they pulled down the walls", writes novelist Yiorgos Ioannou, "Vardari Square did not exist. The walls going down to the port cut the area almost down the middle. Communication with the part of town that lay outside the walls took place through a large double gate, which from Byzantine times was called the Golden Gate, and was something akin to the official gate of the then capital (i.e. Constantinople).
Outside the Golden Gate were the inns, flour mills, farm houses and the vast area where they held the trade fair, the Demitria, but also many marshes. These marshes gave the famous Bara district its name. This was where malaria first spread, with its raging fevers and profound shakes. Later, after the marshes had been dried up, the district spread high spirits, debauchery and the diseases of love to armies and fleets.
" Still later, however, Ioannou continues, "the lights and raucous laughter vanished, the regiments departed, were tamed and died, the houses were razed, revealing behind all that a marvellous section of Byzantine wall, perhaps the most beautiful. On the other side is the church of Agioi Apostoloi, which belongs to a Byzantine monastery dedicated to the Virgin. A deep cistern rich in holy water and the sound put the finishing touch on the whole gamut of life that can coexist in the same place.".