Sparta in Greece
Sparta is a small town (15,000) surrounded by olive and citrus groves, lying at the banks of River Evrotas beneath the sleepless eye of the imposing Mt Taygetos, 220km away from Athens in Southern Greece.
Sparta is a modern, easy-going and hospitable town able to receive and cater for its visitors since its ideal location and long history make it one of the most popular towns in Greece. Sparta is one of the Greek towns with a proper town planning and full facilities for the accommodation and service of its visitors.
The eccentric and idiomorphic way of life in ancient Sparta and its military eminence have created a myth around this town and its residents.
The history of Sparta – Ancient Sparta
Ancient Sparta was one of the two most powerful city-states in Classical Greece, Sparta. Unlike most of the other Greek city-states, Sparta was not fortified and did not have huge and imposing religious and civic buildings. Sparta consisted of groups of smaller villages that were spaced over a large rural area.
Sparta was founded towards the middle of the 10th century B.C. by the Dorian Greeks. By the 7th century the warlike Spartans had conquered all of the surrounding Laconia and Messenia, and by the next century much of the remaining Peloponnese was under Spartan control.
In the 5th century Sparta decided to set the rivalry aside and allied itself with Athens and other major Hellenic city-states in order to repulse the Persian invaders.
Sparta is mostly known in history for the famous battle of the Thermopiles, where 300 Spartans leaded by King Leonidas of Sparta fought for the freedom of their city and Greece against hundreds of thousands of Persians. This is one of the most heroic moments in Greek and in Spartan history and Leonidas is still the most important local hero.
Soon after the Persian menace was fought back, the two major Ancient Greek city-states, Athens and Sparta, embarked on a century long struggle for dominance and supremacy over Greece. The famous Peloponnesian War ended with Spartan victory in 405 B.C. However, by the 4th century B.C. Spartan power declined with its defeat by Thebes in 371 B.C., and by 193 B.C. had entirely lost her territorial possessions.
The Culture of Sparta
Sparta was a war-centric city state known for the hard way of life and harsh mentality of its people. From the moment a Spartan girl or a boy came into the world, the military and the city state were the center of every Spartan citizen’s life. Both male and female babies were judged by the city council whether they were strong enough to be Spartan citizens.
Spartans detested and rejected any form of art, especially the ones that would soften the hearts of the people, because Spartans were supposed to be strong, ferocious and lethal.
The Ancient Theater of Sparta and the Archaeological Museum of Sparta
Visitors of Sparta can pay a visit to the archaeological remains of ancient Sparta, including the impressive 2nd century BC ancient theater of Sparta.
Unfortunately almost nothing remains today from ancient Sparta, except for the theatre and the ruins of the Temple of Athena Chalkoikos.
However the Archaeological Museum of Sparta is an excellent source of information about the culture and habits of ancient Spartans. Visitors can see some remains of the late Roman fortifications: several brick buildings and mosaic pavements.
Sparta is also the gateway to the Byzantine castle-city of Mystras.