Mistras

Imperial Grandeur

In 1989 UNESCO registered Mystras as one of the cultural treasures in the list of the World Cultural Heritage, thus giving its official approval to an infinite museum monument, renowned all over the world, with an imperial past and of exceptional historical value.
It was Guillermo Vilearduin that placed Mystras in the heart of the imperial conquests, commencing a glorious historical path, which ended after six dramatic centuries. In 1249 the French prince built the famous castle at the top of Myzithra hill, from which it got its name, and which was soon to develop into a unique castropoliteia, one of the most important post-Byzantine cities .
Within two centuries, after it had been handed over to the Byzantine Empire in 1259, while it changed hands between the two dynasties of Kantakouzini and Palaiologi, Mystras will constitute the “Moreas Despotato”. In the 15th century, at its peak, it will lay claim as the cradle of literature and the arts, with literati, philosophers and figures of as high a caliber as that of George Gemistos Plithon, Neo-Platonist philosopher who instituted a philosophical school and made his mark on the coming generations.
The arrangement of the castopoliteia in three zones (Upper, Lower and Outer Area) gives the visitor the chance to travel through time and admire the architecture, the art and the frescos of most important creators, whose work is seen in monuments, palaces and churches still preserved until today. In Ano Chora (the Upper Area) your eye is attracted to the sight of the Palaces of Despotes (Chief Priests), built from the 13th to the 15th centuries, while a little higher to the top, the church of Saint Sophia, once the chapel of the Palaces, proudly stands out. In Kato Chora (the Lower Area) the sight of the church of Saint Dimitrios prevails. There are no words to describe the place, as it makes you shudder at the thought that in the centre of this mixture of trikliti Basilica, with its cross-like five domes, there was the coronation of the last emperor of Byzantium, Konstantinos Palaiologos XI, on January 1449, who was heroically killed in battle during the Fall of Constantinople, on May 29 1453.
The never-ending chain of churches also includes Saint Theodori, Mother Mary the Guide (Afentiko), Evangelistria, Pantanassa with its intricate decorations, Saint John of the Buffaloes- where you can quench your thirst at the fountain built by the pilgrim travelers of those times, Saint Barbara and Saint George. The list is really endless. In the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, in the area of Taigeti, you will find the children’s camp, made by the Holy Metropolis of Monemvasia and Sparti. On reaching the top of castropoliteia you are at the level of the French castle, viewing the valley of Lacedaimon with the eternal mount Taygetos over your head.
If you are keen on mountain hiking, you will enjoy routes through stone paved pathways, which start from Parori, Trypi and other divisions of Mystras and get you even to the summit of Taygetos.
Do not miss out on visiting the museum of the archeological site of Mystras, which is hosted in a two-storey, all-stone building, established in 1754, and which contains many collections of embossed papers, manuscripts and jewels. In Neo Mystra you will find the mementos you may want to buy and you will find accommodation to rest.
As regards the local cultural events organized each year, special mention should be made to “Palaiologeia”, an event dedicated in the memory of the last emperor.
The imperial grandeur of Mystras will move even the most educated visitor, who may think they have seen it all.
 

 

Where to stay

Hotel Pyrgos Mystra
Mistra Laconia
Hotel Anavriti
Mistra Laconia

 

Food & Drink

Restaurant CHROMATA
Pikoulianika Mistras
more...

 

Useful Information

Area Code 27310
FIRST AID: General Hospital of Sparti : -28671, -29100 - 9
POLICE: -83315
MUNICIPALITY: -81866

Events

End of May, "Palaiologia" in commemoration of the Palaiologos Family