Sparta, the capital of the prefecture of Laconia, is built on the eastern foothills of Taygetos, in the wider area of the Evrotas valley and at an altitude of 210.
It is located in the same position as the ancient city. Its beginnings are placed on October 20, 1834, when King Otto signed the decree for the construction of the new Sparta.
Although the plans of the Othonic period were not faithfully followed, Sparta remains today a well-maintained city, with tree-lined wide streets, parks and large squares, while many of its old buildings are preserved in excellent condition.
The population evolution of Sparta was rapid. The first settlers of the new city came down from Mystras and there were only 130 in 1840.
In 1861 the city had 2,699 inhabitants, in 1880 3,600 and at the beginning of the 20th century it had reached 6,000. Today it has 18,025 inhabitants (as of 2001).
During the 1930s, with the paving of the central roads and the construction of the water supply network, it was transformed into a modern urban center.
Today it has all the characteristics of a provincial town whose main economy is based on agricultural production, the processing of this production and tourism.
It is the economic, administrative and cultural center of the prefecture of Laconia and remains a warm and human city.
The construction of the modern city on the site of ancient Sparta, the natural disasters (mainly the earthquakes of the 5th and 4th centuries BC) and the raids (mainly the Goths in 394 AD), did not leave many traces that to remind the ancient city.
So today, the archaeological findings of Sparta are disproportionately small in relation to the glory and power that the city had during antiquity and late Roman times. In the center of the modern city, the visitor is impressed by the large square, dominated by Sparta's most imposing neoclassical building, the Town Hall. The building was inaugurated in 1909 and bears the signature of the architect G. Katsaros.
Around the square there are cafes, ouzo bars, patisseries and bars, while the characteristic arches of the streets that surround it house several shops.
The plan for the construction of these shops was approved in 1860 and was characterized by the gabled roofs of the shops and the archway with the semicircular arches, which formed the arcades around the perimeter of the square.
The traveler of the 2nd c. A.D. Pausanias, in the opening chapters of his "Laconics", lists the genealogy of the ancient Spartans. So according to her, the first king was Lelex, from whom the first inhabitants of the place, the Leleges, took their name. He had two sons, Mylis and Polykaon. He will be succeeded by Mylis and him by Eurotas, who channeled the water that pooled in the plain of Lacedaemon into the sea. The river that was left flowing in the middle of the valley, after driving out the waters, got his name. Eurotas was succeeded by Lacedaemon, who had a mother Taygetes and a father Zeus and married Sparta, daughter of Eurotas, by whom he had a son, Amyklas, founder of the Amyklas.
NAME: There are two versions of the origin of the name ASOPOS. The first, that it comes from the name of a hero who came down to the area with the Heraklides and the second from the river that crossed the plain. The second is more likely, since the name Asopos is found on many rivers in Corinth, Attica and Boeotia and elsewhere. The etymology of the word (according to Professor Pantazidis' Homeric dictionary) comes from Asis = Ilys and Obsis, which explains why the ancient Greeks deified Asopus as an assistant to Asclepius, since the mud of many rivers is still believed today to have healing properties .
Mani (Western Inner Mani) gathers a rich history with traces left by all eras. The finds in "Alepotrypa" and "Vlyhada" (Pyrgos Dirou) and in "Apidima" in "Kalamakia" (Areopolis) show that this place was inhabited for the first time in the Paleolithic era. Almost the entire peninsula was covered at that time by tallows and sparse forests, where elephants, rhinoceroses, goats, deer and other wild animals lived. People were hunter-gatherers, lived nomadically and lived in caves and rock roofs. Since then the human presence has continued uninterrupted until today.
In later times (and according to Pausanias) it is primarily distinguished that it was inhabited by the Leleges.
1150 BC Mani and its cities belong (when the Trojan War took place) to the Kingdom of Menelaus. The cities of Oitylo, Messi and Laas are also mentioned.
1100-195 BC the Dorians conquering Mani from the Achaeans, is the era of Sparta's History.
195-21 BC the "Community of the Lacedaemonians" is founded.
21 BC-300 AD "Community of the Freelancers". It was named so because the tyrant of Sparta, Navis, forced them (Royal, Political and Religious Leaders) to move to the Tainarus Peninsula.
Thus, historically, Mani is identified with Sparta and its separation takes place at the time when the "Community of the Eleftherolakons" is founded in Kainipolis (near the current central settlement of Alika which is still the Cultural and Religious center of the Eleftherolakons) and is maintained until the middle of the 3rd century AD With the conquest of the Peloponnese by the Franks, many refugees gathered in the area of Mani. During the time of the Turkish rule, Mani also received fugitives from Crete when it was conquered (1669).
The barren terrain together with the large stream of refugees creates survival problems. Thus begins a struggle for living space, between soybean families and entire villages. Real local wars broke out and the vendettas that disturbed Mani for centuries. The only thing that united them was when there was a Turkish invasion. Many leave and become mercenaries of the Doge. But always with patriotic motives (so we have frenzied firecrackers destroying part of the Ottoman fleet in Chania).
In the middle of the 17th century the Turks leave Mani undisturbed under the rule of the Bey with a nominal annual tax of 4000 grosci. Bey Lymberakis Gerakaris, powerfully ambitious but also ruthless, sometimes fights with the Turks and sometimes on behalf of the Venetians and forces the Turks to suspend the application of the institution for about a hundred years. The institution returns after the Orlovic period from 1776 to 1821. Mani was successively ruled by eight beys.
The most important of the beys were Janetbeis Grigorakis and Petrobeis Mavromichalis. The name of the first one is connected with the annihilation of the Turkish garrison of Passavas, the expansion of northeastern Mani, the rebirth of the city of Gytheio, the meetings with the Greek chieftains and Lambros Katsonis as well as with the agreements, initially with the Russians and then with Napoleon for the liberation of Greece.
Petrobeis Mavromichalis is connected with the leadership and the start of the liberation struggle of 1821.
Source: OITILO MUNICIPALITY