Sparta Tourist Attractions

SpartaSparta
Sparta, chief town of Laconia, lies in the fertile Evrótas plain, which is enclosed between the Taygetos range (2,404m/7,888ft) and Mt Párnon (1,937m/6,355ft) and bounded on the south by the sea.

Sparta Archeological Museum

The Archeological Museum of Sparta is housed in a neoclassical building in the center of town, on Dionysiou Dafnis Street. The museum contains finds from the digs at Sparta and other sites in the vicinity.
Address: Dionysiou Dafnis Street, 23100 Spárti, Greece

Leonidaion

Just off Leonidas Street, on the north side of the town, is the so-called Leonidaion, a building of unknown function: the tomb of Leonidas was elsewhere, to the west of the acropolis.

Acropolis

500m/550yd north of the Leonidaion in Sparta is the low acropolis hill, on the south side of which is the Hellenistic theater, rebuilt in Roman times, which had a movable stage building. On the summit of the hill are the foundations of a temple of Athena built by Gitiadas in the sixth century B.C. This was a timber-framed mud-brick building on a stone base, known as the Chalkioikos from its facing of bronze plates. To the east is the 10th century three-aisled basilica of Áyios Nikon, in which St Nikon was buried.
The Agora, which lay to the south of the acropolis, has not been excavated, and most of the buildings mentioned by Pausanias cannot be identified.

Sanctuary of Artemis Orthía (Closed for Restoration)

Between the road to Trípoli and the Evrótas, just outside Sparta on right, is the sanctuary of Artemis Orthía, so named because the cult image was found standing upright. According to Pausanias the image was brought from Tauris by Iphigeneia and Orestes. In this sanctuary Spartan boys were flogged as part of their initiation into manhood. There was a sixth century temple (foundations preserved) built over an earlier eighth century structure, with altars for burnt offerings. During the Roman period tiers of seats were built round the sanctuary to accommodate spectators of the ritual flogging.

Surroundings

MistraMistra

Mistra, Greece

The old village of Mistra, standing on a hill high above the modern village, is an excellent and comprehensive example of a late Byzantine period town.

Menelaion

To reach the Menelaion, leave Sparta on the Geráki road, which crosses the Evrótas; then in 4.5km/3mi turn into a footpath which runs past a chapel of the Profítis Ilías and up Mt Therapne (500m/1,640ft). On top of the hill are the remains of the Menelaion, a heroon built in honor of Menelaos in the fifth century B.C. It stands on the site of a complex of Mycenaean buildings, excavated in 1973, which it has been suggested was the palace of Menelaos.
The temple contained votive offerings to Helen, which are on display in the Archeological Museum in Sparta.

Geraki, Greece

Geráki, a quiet little town occupying the site of ancient Geronthrai, lies in an impressive setting in a high valley in the Párnon range, 41km/ 25mi southeast of Sparta. From its heyday in Byzantine times, under the rule of the Despots of Mistra, Geráki preserves many churches and chapels, the most notable of which is Áyios Ioánnis. On the way up to the Frankish castle (an hour's walk, first southeast, then to the left beyond the cemetery) are a number of other churches, including the 12th century Ayía Paraskeví.

Geráki Castle

Geráki Castle, one of the numerous Crusader castles in the Peloponnese, was built by Guy de Nivellet in 1234 on a commanding hill (500m/1,640ft). A vaulted passage leads through the battlemented walls into the castle. The chapel, a three-aisled basilica, is excellently preserved. The altar bears Guy de Nivellet's coat of arms. On the iconostasis is an icon of the church's patron, St George, on whose feast-day a service is still celebrated here.
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