Mystras - the Byzantine town

About Mystras - the Byzantine town

As you approach Mystras you feel as though you are stepping back in time to Byzantine Greece. Going up the hill you enter through the castle gate into the narrow lanes of this once invincible fortress.

The castle of Mystra was built by the Franks in 1249. As time went by, houses were built on the hillside under the Frankish castle, and a town was born which was to become the centre of civilization and the cradle of the last dynasty of the Byzantine Emperor.

During the two centuries of Mystra's existence as the Byzantine capital of the Peloponnese many churches, monasteries and chapels were erected, making this an open-air museum. The most important is the Cathedral of Mystras, Aghios Dimitrios which was extensively restored in the 15th century. It is said that ten painters worked on the decoration.

At the northern corner stand the two most impressive churches, the 13th century Aghii Theodori and Panaghia Odigitria, which both belonged to the monastery.

Near the highest gate you can see the 15th century Monastery of Pantanassa with its impressive church. See also the Monastery Perivlepto, leading down to the dead city with its winding stairways, arcades, courtyards and crumbling facades.

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