Mistras Things to Do

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    The castle

    by oriettaIT Written May 13, 2012

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    If you enter Mystras by the upper gate you will first reach the ticket kiosk, than the trail fork, downhill is the Upper town of Mystras but I suggest you to go up and pay a visit to the ruins of the Frank castel. The path will take you at least 20 minutes to get to the top, has little shade at the begining and none further up. Make sure you bring water and wear sunscreen and a hat if it is a hot day.
    The tiring climb will be rewarded by a majestic view! The castel's ruins are not much to see but the view from the top of the hill is breathtaking. You will see the whole town of Mistras with its multiple churches and buldings, all those red roofs, the tree, the monastries. It will be like looking at a live map of what is awaiting for you later.
    It is well worth it.

    Castel's ruin Roofs more roofs
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    The Agioi Theodoroi

    by Paul2001 Written Sep 28, 2007

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    One of the older of the monasteries in Mistras, the Agioi Theodoroi was built in the late 13th century. It is rather small compared to the other monasteries but still features a stunning octagonal shaped dome that dominates the monastery.

    The Agioi Theodoroi
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    The Castle

    by Ruai Written Sep 3, 2006

    The Castle, at the very top of the hill, is a logical target to aim at in your wanderings and well worth a look. What amazed me was how narrow the area at the top really is and how tough a job anybody trying to take it would have had. A few soldiers could have held off an army, as long as they had adequate supplies of food and water.

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    Pantanassa

    by Paul2001 Written Aug 6, 2006

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    Pantanassa was built by John Phrangopoulos in 1428. Like many of the other churches in Mystra, it is laided out in a cruciform manner with soaring domes overhead. The churches has survived the centuries relatively intact. An especially notable feature of the Pantanassa is the four storied belfry, seemingly the largest of the Mystra churches. The bottom story houses a chapel while the higher stories have a clear gothic influence. Inside its frescoes are well preserved and quite interesting. The frescos are great examples of Byzantine art. There are depictions of the Ascencion, the Raising of Lazarus and Christ's Entry into Jerusalem. Another interesting aspect of Pantanassa is that it is active monastery inhabited by very charming nuns.

    Pantanassa Pantanassa from further down the hill.
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    The Palace

    by Paul2001 Written May 21, 2006

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    The Palace is the largest complex of buildings with Mistras. It sits on a terrace towards the top of the slope that leads upto the castle the crowns the hill. The Palace formed the seat of two Byzantine dynasties and of numerous foreign and Greek princes for more than three centuries. The Palace was L-shaped in design and centred around the only level area on the hill. For this reason a market could be held here along with other ceremonies. As the Palace was built in a series of additions over the centuries, several different styles of design were used including the Byzantine, the Western European Gothic and the Rennaisance. At the time of my visit, it was not possible to visit the interior of the Palace itself because of renovations. I believe this has changed since.

    The Palace as seen from the Castle
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    The Agia Sophia

    by Paul2001 Written Mar 9, 2006

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    The Agia Sophia was built in the 14th century by Manuel Cantacuzenus who was the first Despot of Mystras. The church was designed in the cruciform manner that is crowned by a dome. Inside of the church there are four chapels at each angle. In some of the chapels there are several paintings that can be seen while touring inside. Some of these are quite impressive and as you would expect depict images of Jesus, the Virgin Mary and events from the Gospels. During the Turkish conquest the Agia Sophia was turned into a mosque and the bellfry was used a minaret.

    The Agia Sophia
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    The Cathedral of St. Demetrios

    by Paul2001 Written Dec 5, 2005

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    The Cathedral of St. Demetrios is a 13th century church that is largest of those scattered about Mystras. The church has a very interesting interior with a significent number of impressive Byzantine frescos dating from the 13th to the 15th centuries. In the north courtyard there is an archaeological museum that was less then memorable.

    The Cathedral of St. Demetrios
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    The Fortress or Castillo

    by Paul2001 Written Aug 7, 2005

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    Mistras sprawls up the slope of a large hill. Crowning this hill is a ruined fortress. The castle was built in 1249 by William II de Villeharduin, the Frankish crusader. It turned over to the Byzantines in 1260 and they controled to castle until 1460 when the region was conquered by the Ottomans. These various empires renovated the castle through the ages building two tall towers that dominate the hillside. Today the fortress is largely in ruins but supposedly there are intentions to restore the walls. The views from the battlements and towers of the surrounding countryside are breathtaking. This is some of the finest mountain scenery in Greece. From the wall you can also get good views of the rest of Mistras. You can actually make out most of the churches from here and plan you walk down.

    The Castle ruins of Mistras
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    The Church of Our Lady Hodegetria

    by Paul2001 Written Aug 7, 2005

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    The Church of Our Lady Hodegetria was built in 1310 by abbot Pachomios. The interior of the church has many outstanding example of Byzantine painting that date from 1312 to 1322. The church was built in a mix of architectural styles that contain narthex and lateral chapels.

    The Church of Our Lady Hodegetria
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    Byzantine ruins at Mystras.

    by SWFC_Fan Updated Apr 19, 2003

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    The tour of the Byzantine city of Mystras begins at the top of the hill - with the castle.

    From this vantage point you can overlook the whole of Mystras, and see the plains stretching towards Sparta on the horizon.

    View from the castle, Mystras
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Mistras Things to Do

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