They are located at what used to be the main square of the Upper Town; today, they are included in the main attractions forcurious visitors who take pleasure in learning by observation. A close look at the architectural styles will reveal the coexistence of two different construction layers at the very same site. The complex consists of two previously separate wings, that were later joined together into an angle-shaped structure defining the square in the north-east. Due to its formality of location and austerity of shape, that nook soon became an ideal place for formal public gatherings; during the Ottoman rule, however, its use as a common marketplace wiped off any past traces of glory.
The imposing buildings of the north wing, more reminiscent of a fortress than any other building in the castle city, were erected during the Frankish rule. This spot is ideal for visitors seeking to bask in a uniquely mediaeval setting, admiring the gothic arches on the windows, as well as the adjacent building, built just after 1350 and used as the residence of each Despot and also by members of the Kantakouzinos family. Close by, a large kitchen and a row of cisterns. The north-west side of the square is taken up by the impressive, two-storey main building an independent imperial residence and a typical example of secular architecture in the still prosperous parts of mediaeval Greece.
A double row of arches decorates the façade of the basement and the ground floor, consisting of eight separate rooms, though the structure of the second floor is what actually allows a glimpse of the true splendour that still breathed under the threat of the final blow. The Throne or Golden Chamber, a luxurious hall measuring 10 x 36 metres, with its plethora of arched windowpanes, no less than eight fireplaces and an overall glamorous decoration. As it happens with every expression of Byzantine power, the sheer combination of East and West produces an undeniably charming effect, a hybrid carrying all the material and spiritual wealth of the once vast territories of the Roman Empire together with the seeds of pathology and decline.