Frugal city, built in the middle of Eurotas`s valley, on the same position where the ancient city was built. Its houses have roofs of tiles. It is a modern, civic center with a good street plans, the capital of the prefecture, administrative and trading center. It has 15828 inhabitants. The first inhabitants of Sparta appeared in the Neolithic Age (BC 6,000-3,000). These prehellenic tribes of Pelasges were later joined (BC1900-BC 1600) by the Greeks of the civilization developed in the middle Greek land, who settled in Amyclae, near Sparta. The following civilizations, Hysterohellenic Mycenean, left clear proofs of their bloom as, the epic poet maker, Homer attributes great importance to the kingdom of Menelaos (kingdom of ancient Sparta). However,the main history of Sparta starts with the descent of the Dorians (whose leader was Aristodemus). The Dorians preserved their tribal unity and founded a militaristic state. This state showed relentless expansive policy by conquer Messene, after wars of long duration (Messenean Wars). At last, the Spartans inflicted their control on the two of five parts of the Peloponnesian land. Although, in order to preserve the control, they were compelled been continually in martial vigilance, which was even inflicted by the severe legislation of Lycourgus. In the 6th BC century, Sparta was already a great military force. It was the leader of the powerful Peloponnesian Alliance. The correct estimation of the Persian danger became the reason of Sparta`s fight against the Persians, which took Panhellenic dimensions when Leonidas died in Thermopylae`s battle. By the victory in Platees, consequence of the military discipline of the Spartans, Sparta withdrawed from the politics. It was occupied with the inner disputes between the trustees and the kings and the confronting of the revolts of the enslaved people. However, its isolation didn`t reduced its sharpest competition to Athens. The competition ended in the Peloponnesian War and the final victory of Sparta. Its sovereignty lasted 23 years and signified the triumph of the oligarchy of the conservative political powers. However, the concentration of authority and wealth on the hands of limited group of people undermined the apparent power of Sparta, and when the Thebeans attacted it, its sovereignty collapsed.
After BC 371, Sparta faced three invaders in its grounds. In BC 338, it was pillaged by Phillip, the king of Macedonians, and in BC 224 it was pillaged again by the tribe of Aetolians. However, its decline was caused by deepest social reasons. Genuine Spartans were only 700 and the economic adversity was such that the reformation, made by king Agis the fourth, was proved unable to save the city from the destruction. Agis was murdered by his opposers and his successor and adherent Kleomenis the third, was compelled to murder the trustees in order to inflict the reformations and grant the right of the Spartan citizen to the Laconians. Yet, his effort met the Macedonians` opposition, who didn`t wanted Spartan power to revive. A last reformative attempt was made by the tyrant Nabes (BC 206-BC 192). Nabes confiscated the properties of the wealthy men and set the "elots"(=slaves) free. However, his attempt was made too late. In BC 195, the Romans won the Spartans and regulated the inner matters of Sparta according to their benefits. Despite all these things happened, the city lived prosperous days till the third AD century. The invasions of several north tribes followed till the Slavs` invasion, in the 6th AD century, who gave the city the last blow. Sparta was an insignificant group of houses in the Byzantine Times and it was named "Lakedaimonia". In 1834, the Bavarian regency attempt old Sparta`s revival, by laying out the plans of the new city near ancient Sparta. The new city of Sparta, capital of Laconia, was quicly developed.
Leonidaio, north of the modern city. It looks like a temple and it is dated in the 5th BC century. According to the tradition, the bones of Leonidas were transferred and buried there.
The citadel (acropolis) of ancient Sparta. The excavations brought to light least remains of the temples, among which there is the temple of "Chalkeekos" Minerva, lying at the south-west slope. Minerva`s worship, according to the things found by the excavations of the English Archaeological Scool, was continued till the 4th AD century, when houses were built on its position. The temple of "Chalkeekos" Minerva constituted refuge for the persecuted. Legislator Lycourgos and general Pausanias, the winner of Platees battle, took refuge in it.
East of the temple, there are excavated the foundations of the church of "Sotiras"("Savior"), in which Saint Nickonas had lived in solitude. Below the temple of "Chalkeekos" Minerva, the excavations revealed remains of theater dated in the Roman Times, when the elder theater was renewed. One can also see ruins of Roman archade in the area of the acropolis. Near the modern city (bridge of Eurotas, Kastraki hill), there are foundations and remains of the wall that surrounded the city, built in the 4th BC century, with lot of posterior additions and interventions.
The temple of "Orthia" Diana. In a distance of 1km from the acropolis we met the foundations of Archaic temple, of the 6th BC century, mixed with remains of posterior temple, of the second century, in which "Orthia" Diana was worshiped. The temple was used till the third AD century, having recieved many repairs. Two altars and the foundations of Roman amfitheater in the shape of horseshoe, which framed the half temple as a scene, were revealed in front of the temple. Ceremony of whipping, which the Spartans turned into contest of endurance for young people, dances with masks dedicated to the deity and other eccentric divine services occured there, in honour of "Orthia" Diana.
The ruins of Menelaeo, approximately 5km south-east of Sparta, on the top of Prophet Elias`s hill. This temple was dedicated to the deified king Menelaos and queen Helen, as the excavations of the English Archaeological School proved. In this temple, of the 5th BC century, which belonged to a prehistorical group of houses, there were found offerings dedicated to Helen (among them, small pot of copper with the inscription "to Helen of Menelaos" on it), exposed in Sparta`s Museum.
The temple of "Amyclaeos" Apollo. Even southern, near the small village Amycles, there was the ancient city Amyclae, inhabited already since the Copper Age, base of the Achaians of Laconia a long time before the Dorians settlement in Sparta. Amyclae remained the base of a dynasty of Achaic origin, independent from Heraculedes of Sparta, till the first Messenean War, when it was conquered by the Dorians and became one of Sparta`s group of houses. The Acropolis of "Amyclaeos" Apollo was situated on the present hill of Agia Kyriaki. Only traces of the temple (in which there were rich offerings in the ancient times, as Pausanias reports in detail) and ruins of its enclosure are discerned. The colossal statue of Apollo, of the end of the 6th BC century, was dominating in the temple. It had height of 13-14m and it was an imposing work of art made by Bathycles who came from Magnessia of Asia Minor. Base of the statue was the tomb-altar of Hyacinth, in honour of whom "Hyacinthea" were celebrated, one of the most significant festivals of the religious life of the Spartans.
Even southern, on the low Bapheio hill, the excavations revealed a vaulted tomb of the Mycenaic period, with significant golden and silver offerings, some of which are in nowadays exposed in the Archaeologic Museum of Athens. Among these things, there are the two famous golden cups with the wrought in relief representations (hunting and gathering of bulls).
n the picturesque village of Chryssapha, 20km eastwards, there are the churches of Panagia the "Chryssaphian" (1290), decorated with wall paintings, Agioi Pantes (1367), with wall paintings of the "Metamorphosis", and Agios Demetrios (1641).
After passing the village of Trypi, one can see a steep rock which is said to be the famous rock of ancient Sparta named Keadas, where the Spartans threw their crippled children, who where useless for the military Spartan society.
The beautyful village of Georgitsi, 33km north-west, a real eyrie, and near it the village of Pellana, which occupies the position of the ancient city, where remains of fortress, tombs and Roman aqueduct have been revealed.
The village of Loganickos, on the foot of the mountain Chelmos, on a height of 1,200m. There are ruins of tower of the ancient city of Aegida as well as least remains of Chelmos castle, built by the Franks.