Mystras (also known as Mistra, Mystra and Mistras) is a fortified archaeological site of the Byzantine period located in the southern Peloponnese on a hill of the Taygetos mountains. In 1249 after the conquest of Costantinople William II Villehardouin established a fortress on a hill near Sparta. Soon after in 1261 the fortress was ceded to the Byzantine empire and a city developed around it, populated by inhabitants of neighbouring Sparta who didn't want to live under Latin rule. In 1348 Mystras became the seat of the Despotate of the Morea. In the 15th century Mystras was one of the last important centres of Byzantine culture, before falling into the hands of the Turks in 1460. In the 18th century Mystras was destroyed by Albanian troups of the Ottoman empire. The archaeological site of Mystras, with its ruins, palace, fortress, churches and monasteries has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1989.
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