The awakening of legends  

The capital of Laconia, a metropolis with the legendary name: Sparta. Built by the Dorian descendants of Hercules who settled in the area in 1100 BC, it reached its zenith of glory in 480 BC with the awe-inspiring battle in Thermopiles and the heroic sacrifice of king Leonidas and his “300” men. Their deed has been extolled to perpetuity the world over. Even before the Dorian’s foray, in his Iliad and his Odyssey, Homer makes a mention to the all-mighty mycenaic kingdom of Sparta with king Menelaus during the Trojan War.
The oldest historical account to the city’s naming is linked to the daughter of Evrotas, Sparta. After the Romans conquered the city, in 146 BC, it started to lose its splendor, whereas during the Byzantine and the following Ottoman Empire, the scepter is taken by Mystras, a city only 5km from Sparta. The city of Sparta as we know it today comes into being on October 20, 1834, when Othon, king of Greece, signed a decree for its re-building in its former ancient location. What resulted from the work of Bavarian city planners is a modern city, constructed, with faultless zoning, on the right banks of Evrotas river, under the sight of mount Taygetos on the south-west, while the mountain range of Parnon is casting its shadow on over it on the east.
Tree-lined highways, parks, neoclassical buildings, museums, night life, youthful crowds and a positive ambience are only a few of the pleasant first impressions the city makes to the visitor. With good reason is Sparta considered one of the prettiest cities in Greece as well as a symbol the whole world associates with history.
Among the many findings of ancient Sparta, two sights stand out: the temple of Halkioikos Athena, whose worship was ceased in the 4th c A D, and the temple of Orthia Artemis, which was a place of worship of the mycenaic deity Orthia initially [whose temple is dated back to the 8th or 7th c BC] and then of goddess Venus. On the south side of the citadel it is worth visiting the ruins of a big theatre and nearby it the ruins of trading shops dating from the Roman Times, as well as the ruins of the big basilica of mid-Byzantine Times. The Menelaeio, 5km south-east, where deified Helen and Menelaos were worshiped, as well as the temple of Apollo in Amikles are well worth your attention.
In the city you will see the statue of king Leonidas, the statue of Lycurgus the city’s legislator and also Leonideon, a temple-like erection of ancient times, where according to the local tradition the bones of the legendary king were transferred and buried. 



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Menelaion Hotel
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