An imposing Castle Town from the Byzantine Times and an UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated close to Sparta. The Franks began building the town in the mid 13th century but it quickly passed into the Byzantine rule. During the next two centuries, it evolved into a powerful political, military and cultural centre. In 1443, Constantine Palaiologos, who in 1448 was appointed Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, became the ruler of Mystras. He was the last Emperor, the man who in 1453 decided to die like a common soldier on the wall of Constantinople. In 1460, Mystras was captured by the Turks and began its decline. In 1821 it revolved against the Turks and in 1825 it was plundered by Ibrahim’s army. From then on, it remains a ghost town. At Mystras, there is a very interesting museum.

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Since 1974 and up until today, Nicosia has been divided in two by barbed wire and fortification works. It is the only European Union capital that has been forcibly divided by foreign occupying troops. The free part of Nicosia has changed and is evolving with leaps but the images in the Buffer (Dead) Zone haven’t changed in almost half a century. The young soldiers of the Cypriot National Guard keep watch in the narrow streets of the dividing zone defending the ideal of freedom. Their fathers did the same. But for the powerful of the world, pacts and maintaining the balance with the intruder seem to be more important than these ideals.

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It was a city with a lot of mines where thousands of workers slaved under almost barbaric conditions. The total lack of environmental measures wounded it deeply and the “scars” can be seen up until today. After Lavrio was de-industrialized, the factories were left abandoned and ramshackled. However, this picture of destruction, created over time, is unexpectedly attractive. The area looks like an endless outdoor studio, where the color of rust prevails. Next to the piles of forgotten metals there are old buildings that have been renovated and have acquired significant visual value. The natural habitat is also amazing. And all of this, close to Athens. Photographers will definitely be impressed!

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