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...more
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.more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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.more
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...more
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.more
Climbing to the top of the hill to be inside the castle maybe sounds a little bit tiring, but the view you enjoy from there is unforgettable: Taygetos mountain on one side, the plateau of Sparta -full of olive groves, lemons and orange trees- on the other...It's worth the try to climb on the top of the hill of Mistras...more
The important wall-paintings are executed in a variety of different styles, related to the different periods at which they were painted. It is the church where the last emperor of Byzantium, Konstantinos Palaiologos, was crowned king.On the floor of the church is the two-headed eagle, the symbol of the imperium (and AEK, my favorite team!), carved...more
Central Plaza, Mystras, 23100, Greece
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
I arrived in Sparta coming from the west (Pilos). This road passes by some fabulous mountains, alpine landscapes, woods and gorges. From these "Kaiathas" gorge were the spartans said to throw the babies than weren't tough enough to keep the strict "spartan way of life"...
Anyway, is a wonderful entrance to the valley!
From Mystra, take the road Sparta-Gythio. On km 11, on the right hand side, you will see a road sign indicating a monastery called Ieras Monis Panagias Zerbiktsis (or Zermpitsis). The road goes up and leads to the entrance of the monastery. It is ruled by nuns, and it is built on the place where an old monastery dedicated to Our Lady, Ieras Monis Kyras Panagias, had been built in the XII century. The new monastery was rebuilt on 1639 and frescos and icons were painted on 1669. The choice of the place were the main church was built is due to the finding of an Icon of Our Lady of Zerbiktsis. This icon is enthroned on the left of the Main Church.
From 1968, there is also a museum in the Monastery. According to some findings that are exposed in the Museum, there was in that place an idolatrous temple dated from the 3rd century B.C.
The site is open April to October 8.30-20.00 and November to March 8.30-15.00, in 2011 the admission was 5 euros.As the site is quite large and cover the side of a hill with a significant drop in altitude you need to plan your exploration very carefully.There are two access points, one at the Upper Town and another at the Lower Town. My guidebook...more
Near the highest gate of the castle stands the church of Agia Sofia, while on the slope to the east is the Pantanassa monastery, built by the lords of the 15th century. The church is impressive in its elegance and refinement. The wall-paintings include an impressive monumental representation of Christ in the apse.more