Mystras

Mystras

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Mystras'
Start a new discussion about 'Mystras'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Mystras is a fortified town and a former municipality
Communities and Municipalities of Greece
For the new municipalities of Greece see the Kallikratis ProgrammeThe municipalities and communities of Greece are one of several levels of government within the organizational structure of that country. Thirteen regions called peripheries form the largest unit of government beneath the State. ...

 in Laconia
Laconia
Laconia , also known as Lacedaemonia, is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the southeastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. Its administrative capital is Sparti...

, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Sparti
Sparti (municipality)
Sparti is a municipality of Laconia, Greece. It lies at the site of ancient Sparta. The population in 2001 was 38,079, of whom 15,828 lived in the town itself.-History:...

, of which it is a municipal unit. Situated on Mt. Taygetos, near ancient Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

, it served as the capital of the Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 Despotate of the Morea in the 14th and 15th centuries, experiencing a period of prosperity and cultural flowering. The site remained inhabited throughout the Ottoman period
Ottoman Greece
Most of Greece gradually became part of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th century until its declaration of independence in 1821, a historical period also known as Tourkokratia ....

, when it was mistaken by Western travellers for ancient Sparta. In the 1830s, it was abandoned and the new town of Sparti
Sparti (municipality)
Sparti is a municipality of Laconia, Greece. It lies at the site of ancient Sparta. The population in 2001 was 38,079, of whom 15,828 lived in the town itself.-History:...

 was built, approximately eight kilometres to the east.

History


In 1249, Mystras became the seat of the Latin Principality of Achaea
Principality of Achaea
The Principality of Achaea or of the Morea was one of the three vassal states of the Latin Empire which replaced the Byzantine Empire after the capture of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. It became a vassal of the Kingdom of Thessalonica, along with the Duchy of Athens, until Thessalonica...

, established in 1205 after the conquest of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 during the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

, and Prince William II Villehardouin, a grand-nephew of the Fourth Crusade historian Geoffrey of Villehardouin
Geoffrey of Villehardouin
Geoffrey of Villehardouin was a knight and historian who participated in and chronicled the Fourth Crusade...

, built a palace there.

In 1261, the Latins ceded Mystras and other forts in the southeastern Peloponnese as ransom for William II, who had been captured in Pelagonia
Battle of Pelagonia
The Battle of Pelagonia took place in September of 1259, between the Empire of Nicaea and the Despotate of Epirus, Sicily and the Principality of Achaea...

, and Michael VIII Palaeologus made the city the seat of the new Despotate of the Morea. It remained the capital of the despotate, ruled by relatives of the Byzantine emperor, although the Venetians
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 still controlled the coast and the islands. Mystras and the rest of Morea became relatively prosperous after 1261, compared to the rest of the empire. Under the despot Theodore
Theodore I Palaiologos, Lord of Morea
Theodore I Palaiologos was despot in the Morea from 1383 until his death on June 24, 1407. He was the youngest surviving son of the Byzantine Emperor John V Palaiologos and his wife Helena Kantakouzene. His maternal grandfather was former Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos...

 it became the second most important city in the empire after Constantinople, and William II's palace became the second residence of the emperors.

The fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

s in the Peribleptos Church, dating between 1348 and 1380, are a very rare surviving late Byzantine cycle, crucial for the understanding of Byzantine art.

Mystras was also the last centre of Byzantine scholarship; the Neoplatonist
Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism , is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists, with its earliest contributor believed to be Plotinus, and his teacher Ammonius Saccas...

 philosopher George Gemistos Plethon lived there until his death in 1452. He and other scholars based in Mystras influenced the Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

, especially after he accompanied the emperor John VIII Palaiologos
John VIII Palaiologos
John VIII Palaiologos or Palaeologus , was the penultimate reigning Byzantine Emperor, ruling from 1425 to 1448.-Life:John VIII Palaiologos was the eldest son of Manuel II Palaiologos and Helena Dragaš, the daughter of the Serbian prince Constantine Dragaš...

 to Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 in 1439.

The last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI Palaiologos, was despot at Mystras before he came to the throne. Demetrius Palaeologus the last despot of Morea, surrendered the city to the Ottoman emperor
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Mehmed II
Mehmed II
Mehmed II , was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from...

 in 1460. As Mezistre, it was the seat of a Turkish sanjak. The Venetians
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 occupied it from 1687 to 1715, but otherwise the Ottomans held it until 1821 and the beginning of the Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...

. It was abandoned by King Otto
Otto of Greece
Otto, Prince of Bavaria, then Othon, King of Greece was made the first modern King of Greece in 1832 under the Convention of London, whereby Greece became a new independent kingdom under the protection of the Great Powers .The second son of the philhellene King Ludwig I of Bavaria, Otto ascended...

 for the newly rebuilt Sparti
Sparti (municipality)
Sparti is a municipality of Laconia, Greece. It lies at the site of ancient Sparta. The population in 2001 was 38,079, of whom 15,828 lived in the town itself.-History:...

.

In 1989 the ruins, including the fortress, palace, churches, and monasteries, were named a UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

.

Subdivisions


The municipal unit Mystras is subdivided into the following communities:
  • Agia Eirini
  • Agios Ioannis Lakedaimonas
  • Anavryti
    Anavryti, Laconia
    Anavryti is a small village in Laconia, Greece, located at 850m on Taygetus mountain. Overseeing Evrotas' valley, Anavryti is run through by the European walking route E4...

  • Longastra
  • Magoula
    Magoula
    Magoula is a district of modern Sparta city in Laconia, Greece. It is the former seat of the Mystras municipality. It is basically the evolution of a small village that has been attached to the growing Sparta city...

  • Mystras
  • Paroreio
  • Soustianoi
  • Trypi


The municipality seat of Mystras is in Magoula.

Historical population

Year Municipal district Municipality
1981 920 -
1991 525 4,592
2001 807 4,608

People from Mystras

  • Gemistus Pletho
    Gemistus Pletho
    Georgius Gemistus — later called Plethon or Pletho — was a Greek scholar of Neoplatonic philosophy. He was one of the chief pioneers of the revival of Greek learning in Western Europe...

     (usually called Plethon) (1355-1452), philosopher and scholar

Burials

  • John VI Kantakouzenos
    John VI Kantakouzenos
    John VI Kantakouzenos or Cantacuzenus was the Byzantine emperor from 1347 to 1354.-Early life:Born in Constantinople, John Kantakouzenos was the son of a Michael Kantakouzenos, governor of the Morea. Through his mother Theodora Palaiologina Angelina, he was a descendant of the reigning house of...

  • Manuel Kantakouzenos
    Manuel Kantakouzenos
    Manuel Kantakouzenos , . Despotēs in the Despotate of Morea or the Peloponnese from October 25, 1349 to his death and a contender to the Principality of Achaia.Kantakouzenos was the second son of Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos and Irene Asanina...

  • Gemistus Pletho
    Gemistus Pletho
    Georgius Gemistus — later called Plethon or Pletho — was a Greek scholar of Neoplatonic philosophy. He was one of the chief pioneers of the revival of Greek learning in Western Europe...

  • Theodora Tocco
    Theodora Tocco
    Theodora Tocco was the first wife of Constantine Palaiologos while he was Despot of Morea. Her husband would become the last Emperor of the Byzantine Empire.-Family:...

  • Cleofe Malatesta

Plan


  • 1. Main entrance;
  • 2. Metropolis;
  • 3. Evangelistria;
  • 4. Saint-Theodores;
  • 5. Hodigitria-Afendiko;
  • 6. Monemvasia's Gate;
  • 7. Saint-Nicolas;
  • 8. The Despot's Palace and the square;
  • 9. Nauplia's Gate;
  • 10. Upper entrance to the citadel;
  • 11. Saint-Sophia;
  • 12. Small Palace;
  • 13. Citadel;
  • 14. Mavroporta;
  • 15. Pantanassa;
  • 16. Taxiarchs;
  • 17. Frangopoulos' House;
  • 18. Peribleptos;
  • 19. Saint-Georges;
  • 20. Krevata House;
  • 21. Marmara (entrance);
  • 22. Aï-Yannakids;
  • 23. Laskaris' House;
  • 24. Saint-Christopher;
  • 25. Ruins;
  • 26. Saint-Kyriaki.

Other sources

  • Runciman, Sir Steven
    Steven Runciman
    The Hon. Sir James Cochran Stevenson Runciman CH — known as Steven Runciman — was a British historian known for his work on the Middle Ages...

     (1980), Mistra: Byzantine Capital of the Peloponnese (2009 reprint: The Lost Capital of Byzantium: The History of Mistra and the Peloponnese; New foreword by John Freely
    John Freely
    John Freely is an American physicist, teacher, and author of popular travel and history books on Istanbul, Athens, Venice, Turkey, Greece and the Ottoman Empire. He is the father of writer Maureen Freely....

    .)

Films

  • Romer, John (1997), Byzantium: The Lost Empire; ABTV/Ibis Films/The Learning Channel; 4 episodes; 209 minutes. (In Episode 4 ["Forever and Ever"], presenter Romer devotes a section to strolling through Mistra evoking its glory in the days of Plethon.)

External links













North: Oinounta
West: Kalamata
Kalamata
Kalamata is the second-largest city of the Peloponnese in southern Greece. The capital and chief port of the Messenia prefecture, it lies along the Nedon River at the head of the Messenian Gulf...


in Messenia
Messenia
Messenia is a regional unit in the southwestern part of the Peloponnese region, one of 13 regions into which Greece has been divided by the Kallikratis plan, implemented 1 January 2011...

 
Mystras East: Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 

South: Faris
Faris
Faris is a former municipality in Laconia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Sparti, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 5,269 . The seat of the municipality was in Xirokampi....