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a medieval city in Greece, 5 km from Sparta; an important center of late Byzantine culture.
Mistra was founded by Crusaders in 1249. In the 14th and 15th centuries it was the capital of the Morea despotate. In 1460 it was taken by the Turks, who abandoned the city at the end of the 18th century. The ruins of Mistra, picturesquely situated on a hillside, include the remains of a fortress (13th century), a palace (13th to 15th centuries), and medieval dwellings (along the main street, which proceeds in a zigzag manner). There are also numerous monastery churches of the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries, including Mitropolis, Aphendiko, Pantanassa, St. Theodore, and Perivleptos. All but the last two churches combine basilica and cruciform domed plans.