A quick look into the Byzantine Greek history found in Mystras complete with videos, interactive maps and a chronological timeline.
If you want a quick lesson, why not take a video tour of the Mystras Archaeological Site. In just a few minutes, you can easily learn to appreciate the full value, of this precious piece of Byzantine Greek history.
If you want to learn more about Mystras, one of the best ways is to orientate yourself about where and what is available in town. From archaeological sites to fine dining and 5-stars hotels, you’ll find everything you need in our interactive maps.
History of Mystras
In essence, this is how the town of Mystras came to be. It’s glorified history has deep Byzantine and religious roots that help shape it into the UNESCO heritage site it is today.
In 1204 the Western participants of the Fourth Crusade captured Constantinople, the seat of the Byzantine Empire, and founded the Latin Empire of Romania.
The most important state founded by the Franks was the Principality of Morea. In 1248 William II de Villehardouin, with the capture of the Fortress of Monemvasia, conquered Laconia. In 1249 he built a castle on the summit of Myzethra hill, a very steep foothill situated on the northern slopes of Mt. Taygetos.
In the Chronicle of the Morea, the following passage is found: ” After searching through these parts, He found a strange hill, as though cut off from the mountain, about 5 km. away, above Lacedaemonia (Sparta).
Wishing to fortify this hill, he ordered a castle built on its summit. and he named it Myzethra”. The name Mystra is thought to be derived from Myzethra, a popular Greek cheese.
Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus in 1259, at the battle of Palegonia, captured William II de Villehardouin and held him prisoner for three years. Meanwhile, the Byzantines had recaptured Constantinople from the Franks. At this time the Byzantine Emperor asked Paleologus for ransom for his freedom.
In 1262 Paleologus purchased the freedom of his Barons and his own with the cession of the castles that the Byzantine Emperor wanted. From the Chronicles of Morea: To give to the Emperor in exchange for their liberty, the castles of Monembassia and le Grand-Maigne. And last of all, the most beautiful, that of Myzethra”.