Houses of Mystras

The houses at Mystras are among the best-preserved examples from Byzantine Era. The great houses resemble the palace, with large halls on the upper floor and storerooms at street level. Many of them have balconies looking out over the plain. 
In the first period, that is from the foundation of the city up until around the middle of the fourteenth century, a time when the Frankish presence still created a sense of insecurity, the houses had a closed form, with small windows and defensive towers. They commonly had a large space, the triclinium, within which all the activities of the household took place.
After Manuel Kantakouzenos took control in the mid-fourteenth century, the climate of hostilities with the Franks changed to one of peace and security. The houses of this period, frequently with two or even three stories, changed form, acquiring large windows, balconies, and sun terraces. The triclinium always occupied the upper floor. The ground floor was used as a space for workshop activities and possibly also for transactions. The secondary functions of the household were also found there, while the basement, when present, mainly in mansions, was turned into a stable or cistern. The walls were now articulated, both inside and out, with blind arches. Western forms were also adopted, mainly in the openings, which acquired pointed arches and porous stone frames. These elements are found not only in the residences of aristocrats but also in more modest houses. Among the most important surviving residences in Kato Chora are the House of Phrangopoulos and the House of Laskaris, which has recently been restored.


Oxford Byzantine Dictionary

Mistra, A Fortified Late Byzantine Settlement by Sophia Kalopissi-Verti

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The Byzantine Legacy
Created by David Hendrix Copyright 2016