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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The Archaeological Museum of Tegea houses ancient Greek treasures of immense beauty, which are presented in a masterful way. Amongst the exhibits, the head of Asclepius, a marble relief of Pan, thrones of the Kings and carved marble plates with scenes depicting heroes and demigods. In Tegea stood a temple dedicated to Athena Alea, built by the sculptor and architect Scopas from the Island of Paros. Many of his important works are on display at the museum. Tegea had a population of 40,000, a parliament of 300 men and its own currency. The founder of Paphos, King Agapenor was born there, as was the mythical Pan. Next to the museum there is an imposing outdoor archaeological site. Photographs capture very little of the magical vibes this museum emits.

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Winter is harsh in the villages of Arcadian Mount Mainalon. The dense forests of firs sigh by the weight of the snow and the sceneries are alpic. These villages during almost all winter are covered by deep clouds. (In order of appearance: 1. Davies, 2. Piana, 3. Chrysovitsi, 4. Stemnitsa, 5. Dimitsana, 6. Alonistena, 7. Arkoudorema, 8. Kardaras, 9. Mainalon Mountain, 10. Arkoudorema)

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A historical village of Gortynia with traditional houses made of stone, surrounded by the fir forest of Mount Maenalus, in Arcadia. Gortynia is where the 1821 Revolution against the Turks began. The village has an amazing folklore museum, one of the best in Greece. Villagers produce local, homemade dairy products, pasta and jams. It is an ideal location for winter and summer vacation.

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The ski resort Ostrakina is located on a plateau of the highest peak of Mount Mainalon, which has an altitude of 1,981 meters. There is a mountain lodge and four ski runs, starting ranging from an altitude of 1,650 to 1,850 meters. Mainalon has over 50 peaks and has been praised by Goethe for its unequaled beauty. It was also was the cradle of the 1821 Revolution against the Ottoman Turks. According to ancient Greek mythology there lived the goat-footed god Pan.

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