04.07.2015 - 04.08.2015 36 °C
Mystra is apparently one of the most dramatic historic sites that the Peloponnese can offer –a glorious, airy place, hugging a very steep, 280m foothill of Taïyetos. Winding up the lushly vegetated hillside is a remarkably intact Byzantine town that once sheltered a population of some twenty thousand, and through which you can now wander. Snaking alleys lead through monumental gates, past medieval houses and 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.
Looked at the guidebook and maps the night before and thought (possibly foolishly) that I could walk it. The site of the Byzantine city comprises three main parts: the Káto Hóra (lower town), with the city’s most important churches; the Áno Hóra (upper town), grouped around the vast shell of a royal palace; and the kástro (castle). There are two entrances to the site, at the base of the lower town and up near the kástro; once inside, the site is well signposted.
It took me two hours to get to the top using the road, entered to view the Kastro first and then meandered back through each level taking my time (3 hours). Some incredibly well preserved buildings and the feeling of being in a complete town.
Left Mystra, knackered but quite smug after walking all the way up and down again. On now to Nafplio which I had chosen because it is well positioned to visit Epidaurus and Mycenae.