Mystras is a Medieval fortified city founded in 13th century and recognized as the "Wonder of the Morea" and the second Constantinople of the Byzantine empire. The city was founded when William of Villehardouin, a crusader prince, built a castle on the top of large hill near the ancient Sparta. The fortification changed hands few times between Byzantines and Frankish crusaders. In late 13th, 14th and early 15th centuries Mystras was the capital of Despotate of Morea, a province of the Byzantine Empire. A large and prosperous city developed on the hill and the fortifications extended few times thus forming the Inner, Middle and Outer city. The city flourished and many public and religious buildings were built. The palaces were the second home for the Byzantine emperors. In 1460 the city was surrendered to the Ottoman emperor Mehmed II and a long period of decline started. The Venetians briefly occupied it from 1687 to 1715. The city was liberated in 1821 and shortly after this deserted when the last inhabitants moved to the newly founded city of Sparti.

Tourists can enter Mystras from two entrances - the Main and the Upper gate (both reachable by car). It is recommended to enter via the lower main entrance and have plenty of time to spend once inside. Once inside visitors will step back in time, walk between fortress walls, enter palaces and monasteries, stumble upon ancient church frescoes and enjoy the breathtaking views. Once on the top of the hill, from the acropolis, there is spectacular view to the surrounding valleys and mountains. The most curious people can spend a whole day exploring the secrets of Mystras. There are many direction signs and information boards.

Important monuments and interesting places:
1 - Main Gate - the fortified entrance of the outer walls. It is the main entrance for the tourists.
2 - Metropolis (Saint Demetrios church) - is near the Main Gate. The church was built at the end of 13th century by the Byzantines. The interior is covered with paintings in various styles due to the many painters and craftsmen engaged through the years.
2 - Museum - housed in the Saint Demetrios church buildings. The museum exhibits collections of Byzantine sculptures, jewellery, pottery, coins, fresco fragments, icons, books, clothes and more.
3 - Evangelistria - small church with preserved frescoes and burial grounds next to it.
4 - Saint Theodoroi church - built beside the main thoroughfare of the Lower City. The stories tell that here Constantine XI Palaiologos was crowned emperor, on the flagstone with with the carved two-headed eagle.
5 - Hodegetria (Aphentiko) church - small church incorporated into Brontochion Monastery as the monasterys catholicon by abbot Pachomius.
6 - Monemvasia Gate - also known as Sideroporta (Iron Gate). Impressive gate in the inner fortification walls.
7 - Saint Nicholas church
8 - Palace complex - the seat of Despotate of Morea and second home for the Byzantine Emperor. The palace buildings dominate the open area of the Upper City were built between 13th and 15th century. The buildings contain the throne room, sleeping quarters, barracks, cisterns, assembly rooms, administrative and storage areas.
9 - Nauplias Gate
10 - Upper gate - fortified entrance in the outer wall, high on the hill and bellow the acropolis. The second entrance for tourists.
11 - Saint Sophia church - the palace church, served also as a tomb. Under the floors of the church there are graves of the members of the aristocracy. The tombs of the distinguished figures are placed in the chapel.
12 - Small Palace
13 - Citadel - The Acropolis of Mystras. Built on the highest point of the town, the fortress was the center of the fortifications. It has two walls, gates, cisterns, garrison headquarters and various auxiliary buildings.
14 - Mavroporta (the Black Gate)
15 - Pantanassa monastery - it was built by Ioannis Frankopoulos, the ruler of the Despotate of Morea. It was dedicated to the Mother of God, the Virgin Pantanassa, and inaugurated in 1428.
16 - Taxiarchis
17 - Frankopoulos House
18 - Perivleptos - active monastery with the church attached to a rock cave. The church walls are covered with colored frescoes.
19 - Saint Georgios church
20 - Krevata House
21 - Marmara (entrance)
22 - Saint Gianniki church
23 - Laskaris House
24 - Saint Christopher church
25 - Ruins
26 - Saint Kyriaki church

highlights: the second Constantinople of the Byzantine empire, historic sight in Laconia Region, Peloponnese, Greece

Photos from Mystras
MystrasThe additional fortified entrances behind the main gateAncient water fountainThe cobbled stairs leading from Pantanassa monastery to the upper cityThe stone paved stairs are specially measured so a horse can walk without slippingThe Monemvasia Gate, also known as Sideroporta or Iron GateBuilding ruins and the cobbled stairway to Agia Sofia and the CitadelGirl standing in front of the Saint Nicholas church and taking photosAgia Sofia church and information board telling facts about itCovered passage through private house is a common thing in the crowded castle townsMap of Mystras with the citadel, walls, roads, churches, houses and moreView to the hill and Peribleptos monastery from the main gateMystrasThe fortified outer walls of Pantanassa monasteryThe stairway leading to the Pantanassa monasteryThe main entrance to the Pantanassa monasteryA glimpse through the Pantanassa monastery entranceThe church tower and the monastery stone paved yardLooking towards the bell tower topThe colorful flowers at the inner monastery yardThe corridor with columns at the front of the churchPeople reading tourists guides in front of the Pantanassa churchThe church architecture and decoration is influenced by the western Gothic styleFlowers at the monastery yardKumquat (golden orange) between the monastery flowersFlower tree next to the monastery doorThe path to the palace, Agia Sofia church, Metropolis and The MuseumView down to the Main Gate, Metropolis and house ruinsView to the steep hill and the Pantanassa monasterySigns at a path crossroadView through the building ruins towards Agios Nikolaos church in the backgroundThe Despotate Palace undergoes restorationOld building and ruins near the palaceThe entrance of Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos) churchSurviving frescoes inside the Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) churchThe dome and the central area of the Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos) churchChurch paintings with biblical scenes in Agios Nikolaso (Saint Nicholas) churchWalking inside Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) churchMagnificant view of the inside of Agios Niokolaos (Saint Nicholas) churchView to the Despotate palace from the Saint Nicholas churchAgia Sofia (Saint Sofia) churchMedieval building with cistern usually filled with rain waterAgia Sofia church was the main palace churchTourists taking photos inside the Agia (Saint) Sofia churchTourists at Agia (Saint) Sofia churchAgia (Saint) Sofia church refectory - the dining roomAgia Sofia churchTourist girl reading the information board of Agia Sofia churchBuilding ruins next to the Agia Sofia refectoryThe path reaches the citadel walls and turns rightThe Mystras citadel (fortress) main gateThe castle wall is wide enough for soldiers to patrol on themThe acropolis outer wall, garrison headquarters and auxiliary buildingsThe garrison headquarters inside the inner castle perimeterThe fortress layout behind the entranceThe tower room over the main castle gateView from the main gate tower to The Upper city, The Palace, Agia Sofia and Brontochion MonasteryMurder-hole over the main castle gate - for throwing hot oils, rocks and arrowsThe west castle watchtowerView to the inner castle areaThe main castle gate as seen from the wallsRuined buildings in the upper cityThe stairs to Agia Sofia - The Palace churchView to the palace complexThe narrow path was once flanked by tall magnificent housesView to the ruins of The Middle cityAgios (Saint) Demetrios church and bell towerThe main entrance door of the MetropolisA man walking inside the MetropolisThe passage through the church buildings that connects the Metropolis inner yardsChurch fountain with marble slabs, column bases and old Greek inscriptionsHodegetria Aphentiko church is the Brontochion Monastery catholiconThe fortified main gate and the stone stairs of Metropolis seen from insideMuseum exhibition of rings with monograms and glass braceletsElaborately decorated earrings was a must for Mystras noble womenStone carved image of Christ exhibited in the Metropolis museumManuscript paper codex of the Holly Metropolis of Monemvasia and SpartaView to Middle and Upper city, The Palace and the Acropolis of Mystras from MetropolisEach visitor can record his impressions in the Metropolis notebookThe cobbled path from Metropolis up the hill to the Palace and the CitadelView to Pantanassa monastery, house ruins and the Fortress on the top of Mystras hillPainting of Mystras showing the main monuments and architectural features
Address and contacts
Address: Laconia Region, Peloponnese, Greece
Location: view on map
Contact form
No email contact available

Mystras photo gallery