Travel guide

Sparta


General info

Welcome to Sparta ...

 

Sparta is located in the Peloponnese and is the capital of Laconia. Today Sparta, which is situated on the south of the ancient homonymous city and near the right bank of the river “Evrotas”, is verdurous, full of olive groves, orange, lemon, mulberry and other trees. On the left side of the city, there lies the mountain range of Parnon, mostly overgrown with fir trees, while on the southwest side towers up the Mount “Taygetos”, tall and imposing with its wild beauty. Sparta is the first city of Greece which laid out according to fixed plans. So, it is full of tree lined boulevards, parks and well preserved public buildings. The city was reestablished with the liberation of the country following a decision by King Otto in 1834. Its glorious past of both the ancient and the modern history as well as its short distance from famous “Mystra”, attract the attention of many visitors. Homer in his epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, refers to Sparta as one of the most powerful Mycenaean kingdoms and as seat of King Menelaus, during the era of the Trojan War. The battle of Thermopylae, the famous king of Sparta Leonidas and his 300 Spartan warriors, leads the visitor to visit Thermopylae and admire the statue of Leonidas.

 

In the past…

Dorians were those who created Sparta and established a highly authoritarian and autocratic regime. It was the rival of Athens, which is why there were permanent conflicts among them, a fact that led to the Peloponnesian War, in which Sparta prevailed. Shortly before the Roman period (146 BC), Sparta joined the Achaean Confederacy and spent a period of peace and prosperity until the 3rd century AD. Then, the barbarian invasions followed. In 397 the Visigoths destroyed Sparta. In 1204, Sparta, which was known as “Lakedemonia” during the Byzantine period, came under the Frankish domination and became the seat of the barony and a universal bishop. In 1266, the residents of Sparta fled and Sparta was deserted after the fortress of Mystras had been built and the Franks had surrendered to the Byzantines. There are only few remains found in the once mighty Sparta. There are little remains of the temple of Athena of Chalkiikos-who was worshiped until the fourth century AD- of the theater, of the Roman wall and of the Roman arcade. Besides, on the east part of the temple, the foundations of the Church of Jesus Christ, to which Saint Nicon (10th century) was connected, were excavated. Within short distance from there, there are ruins of the Leonideon, to which the bones of Leonidas, the temple of Artemis Orthia and Menelaion had been brought. In the village of Amycles, which was the homonymous ancient city of the Achaeans in Laconia, there were found least traces, while a vaulted tomb of the Mycenaean era was discovered over the hill of Vafios. The National Archaeological Museum of Athens features precious finds from the graves.

 

Nowadays…

Sparta, which is renowned for its glorious historical past, can demonstrate excellent pieces of culture, concerning all periods of its long history. But even as a modern urban center, the city is an emerging cultural force which expresses itself in a complex way by organizing a series of local events. Due to its special climate and soil fertility, the economy is based largely on production. The agricultural and livestock products in the region are collected and processed in industrial units in the city. On the outskirts of Sparta, visitors can visit the picturesque villages of “Anavriti,” where there is the monastery of “Faneromeni”, “Loganikos”, “Georgitsi” and “Chrisafia”, where there are the Byzantine churches of “Chrysafiotissa” (1290), of All Saints (1367) and the church of St. Dimitrius. Small but picturesque sandy beaches spread along the Laconia, on both of the large gulfs of the county, the Laconian and Messenian Gulf. The major beaches in Neapoli, in the beautiful island of Elafonisos and in Gythio are the exception to the rule.

Sight seeing

If you happen to come by or stay in this beautiful city, then
you can visit:

 


• the “Leonideon”, which is also known as Cenotaph Temple of Leonidas, is the only monument of the Ancient Agora which survives till day. According to Pausanias, this is the church to which the bones of Leonidas of Thermopylae were brought


• the temple of “Athena Chalkiikos”. The church was located in the southwest of the citadel. According to Pausanias, the temple took this name because of the copper decoration and the bronze statue of Athena, which adorned the interior of the temple


• the ancient theater of Sparta. It is located on the south of the citadel’s hill, under the ruins of the Temple of “Athena Chalkiikos”


• the Remnants of the Roman Gallery (“Stoa”). These are a series of small apartments that are now called ovens


• the ruins of “Menelaos”, located approximately 5 km away from Sparta, at the top of the hill of Prophet Elias


• the Archaeological Museum of Sparta (tel.:0030-27310 28575), which hosts thousands of findings from the province of Lacedaemon and from other areas of the prefecture of Laconia


• the Olive Museum of Sparta (tel.: 0030-27310 89315) which aims to highlight the culture of olives and the olive oil extraction technology, which is inextricably linked to the Greek identity. Besides, it is unique in Greece


• “Amyclae” which is located 5 kilometers south of Sparta


• the folklore villages “Anavriti”, around Sparta, where there is the monastery of “Faneromeni”, “Loganikos”, “Georgitsi” and “Chrysafa” and where there are Byzantine churches of “Chrysafiotissa” (1290), of All Saints (1367), and the church of St. Dimitrius


• the small but picturesque sandy beaches that stretch along Laconia, as well as the two large gulfs of the county, the Laconian and Messenian Gulf

How to go

By Car:

Sparta is located 224 km away from Athens. After you have entered the Attica Road, continue your journey on the national road of Athens-Corinth (for about 80 km, approx. 40-50 minutes journey). After you have left behind Corinth, continue your journey to Tripoli (attention should be paid to the road signs so as not to miss the exit (approx. 81 km, 40 min. journey). When you reach at the height of Tripoli, take the exit to Sparta (there are road signs) and continue your journey until you reach your destination.

 

Total travel time : 170 - 190 minutes

 

By Bus:

There are daily itineraries from Athens to Sparta. The departure point is at the main bus station of Athens. (KTEL Busses Kifisos - Kifissou 100, on the national road of Athens).

 

For more information please call:

KTEL Busses Athens : ☎  (+30) 210 5124913

KTEL Busses Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 26441

 

By Train:

For more information and itineraries, please visit the following websites:

www.proastiakos.net  and  www.ose.gr

Useful telephones

Police Station Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 89580


Taxi Station Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 - 24100, 83450


Hospital/Health Center Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 28671


Drugstores Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 - 81271, 24060, 23219


Post office Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 24911


Agrotiki Bank Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 24410


National Bank Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 26520


Emporiki Bank Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 87010


Piraeus Bank Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 89730


Eurobank Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 25820


Alpha Bank Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 21167


Citizen Service Centre (KEP) Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 89295


Fire Department Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 20606


Olive Museum of Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 89315


Archaeological Museum of Sparta : ☎  (+30) 27310 28575

Distances

From the city of Sparta to:

Athens

213 km

Thessaloniki   

704 km

Piraeus

209 km

Larisa

555 km 

Volos

528 km 

Ioannina

274 km 

Zakynthos

270 km 

Pylos

110 km 

Kalamata

62 km

Nafplio

120 km 

Patras

229 km 

Sparti

0 km 

Corinth

134 km 

Igoumenitsa

534 km

Pyrgos

192 km