The castle from the edge of the city.
History/Description: Mystra was founded in 1249 when William Villehardouin built a castle here to subdue the wild inhabitants of the Taygetos Mountains. The castle itself is not particularly noteworthy (though the site is spectacular and the views are wonderful). In 1262, the castle, with Monemvasia and Old Maina, were handed to the Byzantines in exchange for William (who had been captured). A new imperial province was established in the SE of the Morea, and Mystra became its capital; initially controlled by a general appointed from Constantinople, the area became a Despotate and the town grew up around it, together with churches and palaces, much of which still remains – it's not to be missed.
Directions: Its a bus or a taxi from Sparta. There is accommodation next to the site. Guide books will have details.
The Palace of the Despots, from the castle
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Unless otherwise stated, the text, images and design of this site are (c) the author. This page last updated 7 Jan 2007