Mystra & Sparta
Mystra (Mistra) - Mystra is a beautifully-preserved medieval ghost town, with a Frankish castle on the hill, palace ruins, Byzantine churches decorated with frescoes, crumbly mansions and stone paths winding around the hillside. In 1249, a Frankish prince built his castle on a strategically situated promontory, with a bird's eye view of the wide valley below. Twenty years later, the Byzantines captured Mystra, and made it their cultural and artistic capital for the next two hundred years.
There are three main sections of Mystra, spreading down the hillside - the castle, the upper town, and the lower town. A nice way to explore is to start the top with the upper town (which also has a path that leads up to the castle). In the upper town, highlights are the impressive ruins of the Palace of the Despots (Princes) and the Ag. Sophia church.
You can walk all the way down to the lower town, through the Monemvasia Gate (or you can drive to a separate entrance for the lower town). In the lower town, stop into Mitropolos, the oldest church in Mystra, decorated with glowing frescoes.
Allow plenty of time to explore Mystra - it's a spot to truly step back in time (and if you're there in summer, go early in the morning or later in the day).
Sparta (Sparti) - Sparta, home of King Menelaus and his lovely wife Helen in the epic poem, The Iliad. Sparta was one of the powerful Greek city-states, noted for its well-trained warriors and skills in the arts of war. But unlike their rivals, the Athenians, the Spartans didn't put up great stone buildings. As a result, today Sparta is a pleasant town with light colored buildings and olive trees in the backyards, but with few ancient monuments to mark its long history. Sparta makes a great lunch break, just to soak up the setting - the town nestles on the Eurotas plain, at the base of the dramatic Taiyetos Mountains.
follow us on facebook
follow us on twitter
follow us on instagram
vimeo travelforkids
follow us on pinterest