Mistras Travel Guide

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Mistras Things to Do

  • The castle

    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...

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  • The Agioi Theodoroi

    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.

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  • The Castle

    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

    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...

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  • The Palace

    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...

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  • The Agia Sophia

    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...

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  • The Cathedral of St. Demetrios

    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.

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  • The Fortress or Castillo

    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...

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  • The Church of Our Lady Hodegetria

    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.

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  • Remarkable!

    The interior of Agia Sophia is impressive: there is a sculptural decoration (amongst it monograms of the first despot of Mistras, M. Kantakouzinos, are preserved), admirable wall-paintings -as this monumental representation of Christ- etc.

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  • It's worth the try!

    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...

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  • The castle II

    "Oriokastro" castle is large and impressive, despite the fact that most of the battlements, towers and other buildings have been destroyed. The fortified circuit walls were strengthened by tall towers (15th c.).

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  • The castle

    The castle on the top of the hill was founded in 1249 by a Frank leader. After 1262 it came under byzantine control, before falling to the Turks in 1460.It was one of the first castles of Greece to be liberated in 1821.

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  • No tiredness?

    I was there in spring and tiredness could be forgotten by such images... You see, Mistras is on a hill and the churches and other monuments have been built in different altitudes. You have to climb all the time!

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  • Agia Sophia (Holy Wisdom)

    The church, near the palaces, was built in the middle of the 14th century. It is domed, cross-in-square, with a bell-tower.

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  • A closer view

    The building complex of the palaces of the despots (Kantakouzinoi and Palaiologoi) is L-shaped in plan. This is a closer view of the top of the angular building.

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  • The palaces of the despots

    They were built on a small plateau on the hill. The large building complex is dominated by the throne-room (early 15th c.) and it contains buildings of different functions.

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  • Inside it...

    Inside Agios Nikolaos you can hardly see some wall-paintings. Time destroys a lot of things, but some precious of them resist firmly to the time...

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  • Agios Nikolaos

    It is the church where I had felt more... mystery and the atmosphere of mediaeval times... It looks deserted.

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  • The cat-woman

    The cats inside the monastery of Pantanassa are so quiet and sweet, they were standing for a long time on the body of her...

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  • The monastery of Pantanassa (the Queen...

    It is my favorite place in Mistras... The monastery was built in 1428 and its decoration was borrowed from gothic art. The wall-paintings on the ground floor belong to the 17th-18th c.

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  • The church of Odigitria (Leader of the...

    That church was built in 1310 and it is decorated with excellent murals. Together with the church of Agioi Theodoroi formed the fortified monastery of Vrondochion.

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  • The church of Agioi Theodoroi

    It was built between 1290-1295 (by 2 monks). It is of the octagonal type and it has lateral chapels.

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  • The church of Evangelistria

    It is a small domed one, whose its wall-paintings date from the late 14th or 15th c. The church of Evangelistria is cross-in-square.

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  • Inside the museum

    The Byzantine Museum there is not as impressive and large as the one in Athens, but you can admire inside it icons, sculpted exhibits, old books and objects of micrography.

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  • The museum and the courtyard

    Agios Dimitrios is a perfect example about the architecture of the byzantine churches and monasteries with their cells... The Byzantine Museum of Mistras is housed at the Metropolis (Cathedral) too.

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  • Agios Dimitrios and the... eagle

    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...

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Mistras Hotels

Mistras Transportation

  • SirRichard's Profile Photo
    gorges near Sparta

    by SirRichard Updated Feb 7, 2003

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    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!

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Mistras Off The Beaten Path

  • Aitana's Profile Photo

    by Aitana Updated Aug 3, 2008

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    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.

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Mistras Favorites

  • Stuff to know to plan your visit

    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...

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  • Agia Sofia

    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.

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  • Palaces of the Mystras Despots

    The palaces of the Despots were built on a small plateau on the hill. Buildings with a variety of functions, erected at different periods (13th - 15th c.), from a large complex, dominated by the throne-room (early 15th c.)

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Explore Deeper into Mistras
History
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Castle
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Why Mystras?
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The last emperor
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Mystras town
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Rain
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Agios (Saint) Dimitrios, the Metropolis
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Spring!
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The first entrance
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The modern village - 2 entrances
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Byzantine ruins at Mystras.
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Read the signs
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A lot of ruins and some churches
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Plan the visit
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A view of Sparta
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Map of Mistras

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