27 February 2015

Restorations at Mistra: Questions

Palace, August 1994

Palace 2001.

Palace 1978 to help explain reconstruction below.

Palace, October 2014

So I took my grandchildren to see Mistra last October. Readers of this blog know that Mistra is my passion and the focus of my scholarship. No one can be blamed for the rain: it had already rained in Nauplion for a week, and it continued raining in Monemvasia.

But once again the palace was behind barricades. It has been closed to visitors for more than 20 years. A whole generation of scholars has written about Mistra without ever being inside its single most important secular building. A whole generation of tourists has been turned away from the most comprehensible structure on the site. It is all well and good to publicize that Mistra is a World Heritage Site (and that produced a great deal of funding), but despite the interminable restoration, stabilization, and reconstruction projects, there is less to see than when I was a regular visitor in the late 70s.

A great many houses are being rebuilt, but they were well along in the rebuilding process according to The Monuments of Mystras, edited and mostly written by Stephanos Sinos, published in 2009, and very expensive and very heavy. These house are still not completed and open to visitors.  I will not get into the disappearance of the rest room from the Pantanassa, or the majority of the walkways that are extremely dangerous to those of us who are no longer young.

So this entry is an inquiry: What is going on at Mistra? I hope readers will tell me what they know, either in the Comment section below, or privately at nauplion@gmail.com.


  1. The on-going Greek financial crisis is almost certainly responsible for these delays. I visited M. in 2009 and the palace looked much as it does in your photo of 2014. Thanks for your valuable blog.

  2. The palace of Mistra was open to visitors in the early 2000's, certainly in 2001-2002 for the big exhibition titled Ώρες Βυζαντίου. I was fortunate enough to pay a visit there. I only hope things improve in the future.

    Thank you for your blog, Diana, and wish you good health.

    Mimis Amimitos

  3. I was there last week and the palace was closed to the visitors.


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