The byzantine city of Mystra

Right in front of the eastern mountainside of Mount Taygetos, at the foot of the mountain and near the city of Sparta, is the rocky hill of Mystra (also called Mytzithras). Mystra was the seat of the Despotate of Moreas (Peloponnese) and the last stronghold of the Byzantine Empire.  Today, the stones are silent, but there re also gates, fortifications, high walls, churches, palaces and manors.  The citadel of Mystra was founded in 1249 by William II of Villehardouin, when Peloponnese was still under the yoke of the Franks.  In 1349 Byzantine Emperor Michael Palaiologos invaded and conquered the area.  The emperor captured William II of Villehardouin and exchanged his freedom for the castles of Mystra, Mani and Monemvasia.  The castle of Mystra is on top of the hill, culminating at 620 m. It is protected by two lines of fortifications as well as two rectangular stone towers.  The whole complex, which includes manors, houses and churches, takes visitors back to a medieval setting.  One of the most famous churches in Mystra is that of Panagia Pantanassa.  It was built in the 15th century and is among the most beautiful Byzantine churches.  It is still perfectly preserved to this very day and serves as a convent for nuns.

Usefull Numbers
Municipality of Mistras: +30 2731081866

Geraki

Byzantine city, 40 km from Sparta. Geraki saw the development of the art of weaving as well as home weaving.  Traditional patterns and the quality of the cloth and carpets are renowned throughout the world.  One of the most significant distinctions for Geraki was when it was awarded the Vienna International Fair Prize in 1873. Ergani, the agricultural cooperative for crafts and home crafts, holds an exhibition doubling as a shop in the central square of the village, where visitors can buy the famous traditional cloths and other items.

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