Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday, May 5th, Sparta, Greece


The first capital of Greece (First Helenic Republic) was the port city of Napfplio in the province of Peloponesse.  With an island sporting chains extending outward parallel to the waterfront, and a fortress on the hilltop behind it, the town was pretty defendable.  Kudos to our guide, Katarina, for introducing us to the architecture and ambiance of a city which was influenced so much by the northern Italians (Venetians).

Mistras was the last Byzantine holdout to the accension of the Ottoman Empire, and the castle on the hill down to the churches near the bottom reflects the blending of the Eastern Roman to Orthodox Christian architecture.  It fell in 1715 to the Ottoman empire, after being fought over by the Byzantines, Franks, Venetians, and Turks. The structures, church icons, and public designs demonstrate a blend of eastern and western Byzantine styles, and introduced us to one of the best single sites to understand the 14th to 17th centuries.

We're so glad we started at the top, that it wasn't too warm, and that we took our time getting down the hill.  Our guide, Natalia, was wonderful.  We descended 867 steps over 800 meters in elevation, and she packed every one of them with the history and importance of what we were seeing.

To see the photos taken today, click on Friday, May 5th, Sparta, Greece.

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