Legends of Laconia
SPARTA – MYSTRAS
Departure from Ano Kardara and arrival at the castlecity of Mystras. A tall, steep hill, like a rock if it were not so green, and that seems to be built to support the castles, palaces and churches that are perched on its slopes.
These buildings, remarkably preserved Byzantine churches in the majority, and palaces, houses, bridges and the castle tell the story of a city that has experienced great prosperity as the capital of the Byzantine Despotate of Morea, got rich by trade with East and West and crowned the last emperor, Constantine Palaeologus as a king. Here you will have the opportunity to visit the Cathedral, where Constantine Palaeologus was crowned an emperor on 12th March 1449, the temple of Hodeghetria, whose frescoes date back to 1312, the monastery of Pantanassa, whose decoration was inspired by gothic art, and the Perivlepto, with impressive frescoes. An important Byzantine Museum with exhibits has been organized and operates north of the Minster of St. Demetrios. The collection includes sculptures, manuscripts, jewelery, beauty accessories, clothing and footwear, as well as the considerable rare pieces of silk fabric and a princess braid from the grave of the north portico of Aghia Sophia.
The tour will continue to the city of Sparta. From here marched the 300 soldiers of Leonidas to confront the Persians at the battle of Thermopylae. The modern city was refounded after the country’s liberation in 1834, following a decision of King Othon and was the first city in Greece which was mapped. Around it lies a fertile plain green with olive trees, orange trees and lemon trees. Southwest rises Taygetos with towering peaks and wild beauty. The city is the financial and commercial center of Laconia. It has got a great archaeological museum where visitors can admire the most important findings from prehistoric sites in Laconia and sculptures from the Archaic period to the Roman period. Departure from Sparta to Ano Kardara.