Travelling at the Castle of Mystras

Iosif Papadopoulos
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When travelling "beneath the Canal of Corynth" there are certainly many beautiful places you can visit. For me though, there is one destination that if you do not visit, it is like you haven't traveled in Peloponnesus and is no other than the Castle of Mystras.

The Castle of Mystras was a Byzantine city of the Peloponnese just 6 miles from Sparta. The story begins in the 13th century where the castle was built and continues until the mid-14th century when they proclaimed it as capital of the Byzantine Peloponnese. By the mid-15th century Mistra was occupied by the Turks and there begins the decline. It played an important role in the Greek revolution of 1821 but after the founding of the Free Greek State, it started being abandoned by its inhabitants because of the establishment of Sparta and Gytheiou and the new town of Mystras, which is inhabited today. The end came around 1840 when the last inhabitants abandoned it and let it stands till today, on the east slope of Mount Taygetos, gazing across the valley from the above.

But enough with the history and let's see what we can find today in this beautiful castle. If you go there during the summer, you must necessarily be equipped with a sun hat, sunscreen and water because it has enough of walking and plenty of sun. You will walk a lot but the reward is great. The castle has two entrances for the visitor to share the route. 

Passing down the entrance of the castle someone can understands that he/she is not simply in front of some old stones. The visitor tucked into a town and wander among old houses of the era. In some homes you may even get inside and get an incredible insight of how the house's arrangement was at the time. You must seek and find the churches inside the castle, most of which are very well preserved. The Metropolis is dominating, the Pandanassa has still nuns to welcome you, the Dormition of the Virgin, the Perivleptos (who has decorated countless postcards) and other churches with very old frescoes will enchant even the most demanding visitor.

Completing the ride on the down side of the castle, we take the car (to take a few breaths) and we go to the over gate in a distance of about 5 minutes. The picture speaks for itself, the paths, the stairs, the walls are as they were back then. We sat down to rest in a "bench" that was once used by the inhabitants of the castle. In the upper part of the castle, prominent place has (what else;) the complex of palaces. It's the place where the emperors and despots of the time lived. The most famous of them was Manuel Kantakouzenos, Theodoros II Palaiologos Constantine II Palaeologus. The second name of the place was the "Despotate of Morea." Continuing to the upper city we meet the Citadel castle, Agios Nikolaos and Agia Sophia which enchant us like all the other points.

Completing wandering in space and "time" after about 2.5 hours, we depart having a longing in our eyes, despite the fatigue, heat and walking. We enter the car and go down to Sparta. Further down we turn back and throw a last look at the castle from far away, like we're saying to it... do not go anywhere.... I'll be back...


About the Author

Iosif Papadopoulos

Hey there, i am Iosif and i am 28 years old. I work for a private company but my free time is all! I have covered more than 500,000 km in Greece and almost 30,000km in Europe by car. But still believe that Greece is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, having to many places to discover. Every year that passes my trips reduce but i try to grab every opporunity to satisfy my need to travel.

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