Photo article: Mistras is amazing - military power

Tom Winnifrith Friday 1 July 2016


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The road to Mistras was an "interesting" drive but it was worth it as we headed round a corner and suddenly saw this great fortress on a hill. This truly is a place you must visit, yet, as we entered the site, there were just six cars in the car park. It is a hidden gem

The site was originally built by the Frankish prince William II of Villehardouin and lies on a spur of Mount Taygetos a few miles from the town of Sparta. Its claim to fame is that it was a Byzantine outpost long after Byzantium itself was in decline and falling. The Despotate of Morea controlled the whole of the Peloponnese between 1348 and 1460 with the Turks over-ran the area.

In part one of this article I climb up to the top of the castle. Given that she was six months pregnant at the time the Mrs only walked about a third of the way up but now that I am a non smoker of four months and counting I raced on ahead.

The second part of this article shows murals from inside the churches within Mistra's outer walls. The Despotate was a flower of the early renaissance as you will be able to see.

But to protect that it needed a strong military footing. Enjoy the climb, the castle and the views to the churches below and out over the plain to Sparta.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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