The Palace of the Despots dominates the Upper Town of Mystra. It is a great complex of buildings belonging to different times of construction. They started to be built by the Franks, possibly by Guillaume de Villehardouin, and were completed by the Byzantines (the Despot was usually a son or brother of the Emperor).
These palace constitutes a great example of the Byzantine architecture. The whole building complex is L-shaped and has been well-preserved until our days. The palace has four constructions. Some of them have 4 storeys, while others are two-storey mansions. The first building was the residence of the noblemen and the second one was the throne hall.
The Despot used to live in the fourth building, a four-storey construction dating from 1350-1400. The fifth building, built in the 15th century, was the palace of the Paleologos family. All buildings have numerous arches, chambers, attics and cellars. The exterior area is quite austere.References:
The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is situated in a strategic area on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years' War when it was abandoned. From 1900 to 1908 it was rebuilt at the behest of the German kaiser Wilhelm II. Today it is a major tourist site, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year.
The first records of a castle built by the Hohenstaufens date back to 1147. The fortress changed its name to Koenigsburg (royal castle) around 1157. The castle was handed over to the Tiersteins by the Habsburgs following its destruction in 1462. They rebuilt and enlarged it, installing a defensive system designed to withstand artillery fire.
The fortification work accomplished over the 15th century did not suffice to keep the Swedish artillery at bay during the Thirty Years War, and the defences were overrun.