Mystras, also referred to as the ‘Wonder of the Morea’ was an amphitheater built around a fortress that was erected by Prince of Achaia, William of Villehardouin in 1249. As fate would have it, the fortress was conquered by Byzantines and then by Turks and again by Venetians. It was abandoned in 1832 and in its wake; the beautiful medieval ruins were left standing in a beautiful landscape.

Archaeological Site of Mystras you gotta go here
Archaeological Site of Mystras you gotta go here

Mystras, also referred to as the ‘Wonder of the Morea’ was an amphitheater built around a fortress that was erected by Prince of Achaia, William of Villehardouin in 1249. As fate would have it, the fortress was conquered by Byzantines and then by Turks and again by Venetians. It was abandoned in 1832 and in its wake; the beautiful medieval ruins were left standing in a beautiful landscape.

History

  • 1248 to 1249 – The Prince of Achaia erected to build a castle on a 520 meters hill that overlooked Sparta. The castle was able to withstand the Byzantine attacks, contain the Esclavons as well as the Slavic tribes of Melinges and Lezerites. Note that the city was largely abandoned until the Ottoman King Otto I founded the city of Sparta. For about 600 years, the residents of Mystras lived in the ruins and their existence was a troubled one.
  • 1261 to 1262 – Prince of Achaia was defeated by Michael VIII at the battle of Pelagonia. He was made prisoner and forced to cede the strongholds of Mystras, Mania and Monemvasia.
  • 1265 – The prince of Achaia, Villehardouin, was to rise again only to find that the Sparta inhabitants had taken refuge in the castle of Mystras.
  • 1262 to 1348 – After many years of war, Mystras became the seat of Byzantine military governor
  • 1348 to 1460 - Mystras became the capital of the Despotate of Morea
  • 1350 and 1428 - zenith of Mystras, when the Peribleptos and the Pantanassa were built around 1350 and 1428 respectively
  • 1402 - Theodore I Paleologus sold Mystras to the Knights of Rhodes; only the hostile reaction of the population forced him to cancel the transaction. After paying a tribute to Murad II at the time of his victorious expedition in 1446, Mystras fell to Mohammed II on 30 May 1460. The event was seen in the West and in the East as being almost equal in importance to the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

Mystras has had a checkered history than most cities and in that checkered history, the global history was made. The extent of the influence of the city can be seen in every facet of Europe history. That the Wonder of the Morea has an outstanding value to the world is not in doubt. Make sure you get to visit this destination during your tour of Greece


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