Peloponnese (4): More Sparta, Mystras

The Temple of Artemis Orthia is in a different part of Sparta, and waiting until the next morning to visit gave us a moment of sun at the site. This temple goes back to the 9th century BC and was in use for over 1000 years. It is where people went to make offerings to Artemis, where they left many of the votives we saw in the museum.

After lunch of grilled lamb, we moved on from Sparta to Mystras, a nearby site that is much later in time, occupied during the 14th and 15th centuries when the Byzantine Empire ruled the region, and continuing through Ottoman rule. Abandoned in the early 1800s when the city moved to the current location of modern day Sparta (Sparti), Mystras is unusually well preserved. We aren’t particularly interested in Byzantine and Ottoman sites, having seen some wonderful ones elsewhere.

If you have never visited a well-preserved archaeological site, Mystras is a marvel, with many structures still standing. Churches, a monastery, and a variety of houses. It’s a huge ghost town.

It was misty and drippy at Mystras, quite atmospheric, and we enjoyed our walk, though we did not hike as much as is possible. The hike is steep. From there we drove to Kalamata. Along the way, we stopped to see the theater at Megalopolis. Yes, there is a place with that name that is far older than any megalopolis.

We arrived in Kalamata around 5 pm, and I found time to get out to the beach in front of our hotel for some beach combing. I found some beach glass, but it was starting to rain, so we cut our search short. Kalamata doesn’t really have a beach, it’s a gravelly shingle rather than sand. Usually, this kind of shore is good for finding beach glass, but I didn’t find much and decided not to get soaked.

We had a good dinner in the hotel, warm and dry.

Lunch: Sparta

Dinner/Overnight: Grand Hotel Kalamata


Published by winifredcreamer

I am a retired archaeologist and I like to travel, especially to places where you can walk along the shore or watch birds. My husband Jonathan and I travel for more than half the year every year, seeing all the places that we haven't gotten to yet.

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