Winding up the lushly vegetated hillside, Mystras is a remarkably intact Byzantine town through which you can now wander. Winding alleys lead through monumental gates, past medieval houses, palaces and above all into the churches, several of which yield superb if faded frescoes. The overall effect is of straying into a massive unearthing of architecture, painting and sculpture – and into a different age with a dramatically different mentality.

In 1249, Guillaume II de Villehardouin, fourth Frankish prince of the Moreas, built a castle here – one of a trio of fortresses (the others at Monemvasiá and Máni) designed to garrison his domain. The Franks, however, were driven out of Mystras by the Byzantines in 1262, and by the mid-fourteenth century this isolated triangle of land in the southeastern Peloponnese, encompassing the old Spartan territories, became the Despotate of Mystras. This was the last province of the Greek Byzantine empire and, with Constantinople in terminal decay, its virtual capital.

Source: Rough guides

The Franks, Medieval castle ruins, elaborate Byzantine churches with outstanding frescoes, an imposing Citadel on top of a hill; what could be that conjoins all those? Definitely the eminent past of Byzantine Empire’s last stronghold – the Despotate of Mystras.

Stroll on an utmost green hill hosting astounding monuments and allow your Local Expert to introduce you to the atmospheric Greek Middle Ages. Listen to stories about all different Princes and Emperors that ruled the place, the church of Ayía Sofía and its polychrome marble floor, the Gothic-looking Despot’s Palace, the Pandánassa Convent with the exceptional religious murals.

Duration: approximately 2,5 hours

Cost: Prices upon request

What’s included: Private Local Licensed Historian, Entrance to Archaeological Site and Museum.


Sparta, Peloponnese

(Approximately one hour and forty-five minutes drive from Xiropigado)