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The city of Mystras (or Mistras) in southern Greece was the provincial capital of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea from the 13th through the 15th centuries CE. It was founded in 1249 CE by William II of Villehardouin, and it served as a center of intellectualism in the late Byzantine world. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the city surrendered to the Ottomans in 1460 CE and remained in Ottoman hands, with brief interruptions, until 19th century CE. The city was abandoned in 1832 CE, but its spectacular Byzantine ruins continue to attract visitors and are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

More about: Mystras


  • 1249
    William II of Villehardouin founds Mystras.
  • 1259
    Battle of Pelagonia: Manfred of Sicily and William II of Villehardouin are defeated by the Empire of Nicaea. William is forced to cede the castles of Mystras, Maina, and Monemvasia.
  • 1262
    Mystras is retaken by the Byzantines.
  • c. 1289
    The Byzantines move the provincial capital of the Morea from Monemvasia to Mystras.
  • 1349 - 1460
    Mystras is the capital of the semi-autonomous Byzantine Despotate of the Morea.
  • 1361
    Matthew Kantakouzenos moves to Mystras.
  • 1380 - 1383
    Matthew Kantakouzenos rules as despot of the Morea.
  • 1383 - c. 1384
    Rebellion of Demetrios Kantakouzenos against the Palaiologos Dynasty in the Morea.
  • 1383 - 1407
    Theodore I Palaiologos reigns as despot of the Morea.
  • 1407 - 1443
    Rule of Theodore II Palaiologos, despot of the Morea.
  • c. 1407 - 1452
    George Gemistos Plethon lives at Mystras.
  • 1408
    Visit of Manuel II Palaiologos, Byzantine emperor, to Mystras.
  • 1415
    Visit of Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos to Mystras.
  • 1449
    Constantine XI Palaiologos is crowned as the last Byzantine emperor in Mystras.
  • 1460 - 1461
    The Ottomans conquer the Despotate of the Morea.