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Monasteries to Visit in Mystras, Greece

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Mystras, Greece is located near Sparta in the Peloponnese. Mystras is a castle town that was strong during the Byzantine times and during the last decades of the Byzantine period was the second most important town. Mystras is well-known for the many monasteries and churches. The architecture and frescoes are fascinating to see. Here are some of the monasteries and churches you should explore when in Mystras, Greece.

Pantanassa Monastery

Pantanassa Monastery was founded by the chief minister of the late byzantine Despotate of the Morea, John Frankopoulos. It is unknown the exact year that the monastery was founded, but it was dedicated in September of 1428. Pantanassa donated an icon of the Virgin Mary to the monastery. Pantanassa Monastery is the only inhabited monastery in Mystras today.

The nuns who run it happily provide the visitors with information, water, and benedictions. The interior of Pantanassa Monastery is something to see. You will immediately notice the variety and beauty of the colors. Colorful marble makes up the women’s gallery, the domes, the pillars, the floors, and the arch of the sanctuary. The frescoes of the monastery are painted beautifully, many dating to the 17th century.

Church of Agioi Theodoroi

The Church of Agioi Theodoroi is the largest and the oldest church in Mystras. It is located in the lower part of Mystras Old Town known as Kato Hora. The Church of Agioi Theodoroi was built between 1290 – 1295. The church was first the katholikon of a monastery and then it was a cemetery church. The architecture of the church resembles the Monastery of Osios Loukas in Distomo Beotia.

The dome of the church is quite impressive and as is the interior of the church with its wonderful frescoes. These frescoes date to the 13th century and portray images of Emperor Manuel Paleologos. The Church of Agioi Theodoroi is where the tomb of the Despot of Peloponnese Theodore I is located.

Monastery of Panagia Perivleptos

The Monastery of Panagia Perivleptos was likely built during the 14th century by the first Despot of the Morea, Manuel Kantakouzenos. It was considered one of the most celebrated monasteries of Byzantine Constantinople. The frescoes of the main church date between 1348 and 1380. These frescoes are rare surviving late Byzantine style. The Monastery of Panagia Perivleptos is built into the side of a cliff.

The cave supports the structure of the monastery. The monastery is done in an architectural style known as Mystras style which is common of the monasteries and churches of Mystras. Mystras style is known for being similar to that of a castle. The Monastery of Panagia Perivleptos was built with square stones and inlaid tiles. The frescoes of the interior of the monastery were painted from 1350 – 1375 and are connected to the Cretan and Macedonian art schools.

Visit these monasteries when in Mystras, Greece. You can’t go wrong with any of them!

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