Sparta is a city in Greece and the capital of the prefecture of Laconia in the Peloponnese. The municipality’s population in 2011 was 35.259, of whom 17.408 lived in the city itself. The city has been built upon the site of ancient Sparta, near the banks of river Eurotas and it is surrounded by the mountains Taygetos and Parnon.
Sparta was one of the most famous city-states of ancient Greece, known in world history for its military strength, discipline and heroism.
Rising to power in the late 7th Century BC, Sparta produced the most powerful army of the ancient world. Spartans led the Greek coalition during the Greco-Persian War, becoming legendary in their heroic last stand at Thermopylae.
The origins of modern Sparta date back to October 20, 1834, when King Otto issued a decree on the construction of the new city. The modern city of Sparta is distinguished by its excellent street plan, with large squares, wide streets and beautiful neoclassical buildings.
A number of monuments survive from the different ages of the ancient city of Sparta with most important being the Acropolis & the Roman Theatre, the Temple of Athena Chalkioikos, the Tomb of Leonidas, the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, the Menelaion and the Amyklaion.
The history and culture of Sparta is presented in a series of museums, such as the Archaeological Museum of Sparta, the Museum of the Olive & Greek Olive Oil, the Koumantaros Art Gallery, the Manousakeion Museum of urban and folk life, the Museum of Modern Sparta, the Museum of Ecclesiastical Art and the Camera Museum being the most highlighted.
Near the city of Sparta, is the Castle -Town of Mystras, a major Byzantine settlement with a number of Byzantine churches, monasteries, palaces and mansions. In 1989 Mystras, was named an UNESCO World Heritage Site.