Mystras: 5klm away from Sparti and at an altitude of 300m we find Mystras, famous political and cultural center of the post Byzantine era. Peloponissos had always been a focal point for the Italians as far as navy control was concerned. In 1204 the Franks found the geographical placement of Mystras very adequate for the control of the ares around, they moved in, fortified the town and made it the base of the places they ruled in Peloponnisos from Monemvasia to Mani. Mountainous as the ground was, they builted the castle of Mystras and the place started to becoming a strong political, educational, strategic and cultura center for the next two centuries ahead.
The people of the low land seeking for safety immigrated and builted their houses around the castle, the population rised, the extention of the city was named Chora and another wall was builted around it. And the story went on, reaching a point where Mystras was fortified in three levels. The first level was the head of the castle , where the leadership had their quarters.The second level which was mainly developed to the north side and accomodated the public services and the complex of palaces and the third level which included the mansion-houses and the temples.Communication among the levels was succeeded through gates, most known od which were Marmara, Sideroporta(iron door) and Nafplio gate.Monuments you can see in Mystras are the castles, the triple wall, the gates, the palaces, the roads and temples, every one of them an exquisite speciment of civilazation fron the 13th to the 15th century.
Especially the temples signal the last big phase of Byzantine art and set the bases for the next period. The unique complex of the palaces give away the cultural movement. Built in spacious flat, in aspot of heart-breaking view, it formed a right angle. In the front of it there’s a square which was used for public gatherings, ceremonies and celebrations. In the same space during the Ottomanic posession the bazaar was set. The palaces were buit and reformed in different ages and that is why each one of them have different architectural elements. The mansion-houses have up to three floors each, tabernacle or archial main floors and view to the lowland of Evrota.
To name a few temples: Agios Dimitrios, Evangellistria, Peri- vleptos, Pantanasa. Mystras is of the places you cannot afford to miss visiting.