The worldwide known medieval castle-town of Mistras rises on a steep hill on the foothills of the magnificent mountain range of Taygetos, dominating the valley of Sparta. It was founded in 1249 by the Franks, but soon after it was conquered by the Byzantines who made it the center of trade and culture of the south Balkans and their military base to make a comeback. Mystras was desired and later captured by the Venetians and the Turks, because of its strategic and economic importance, in combination with the port of Monemvasia. It still stands perpetually majestic, calling for us to explore its ruined cobbled paths, the churches and the palaces of the despots. The ruined houses of the people who used to live there still keep their essence and give us the feeling of their existence. Mystras is a monument protected by UNESCO since 1989 and it contrasts vividly with Monemvasia. The main visit lasts about 2-2,5 hours. For a visit of the citadel or more churches, more time is needed. It is not suitable for people with mobility problems and walking shoes are necessary since it has many steps. There is an alternative way to cut down the distance and the steps making it accessible to everyone, but of course there are less monuments to visit. Entrance fees 12 euros (reduced 6 euros).
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