Culture

Sights of Interest
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The Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil in Sparta showcases the culture and technology surrounding the olive and olive oil production, a field which is inextricably linked to Greek, and in general, Mediterranean identity. Unique in Greece, the Museum is located in the heart of Lakonia, one of the leading olive producing regions in our country.

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The Archaeological Museum of Sparta is home to thousands of discoveries found in the province of Sparta and the prefecture of Lakonia, including areas which are not covered by the Archaeological Collections of Gytheio and Neapoli Voion. The halls of the museum exhibit an array of artifacts spanning the period between the Neolithic and late Roman era. The most significant exhibits are those with findings from the major sanctuaries of Sparta. Visitors to the museum have the opportunity to admire important finds from prehistoric sites in Lakonia, sculptures from the Archaic through the Roman periods unearthed at various locations within the prefecture, and findings from rescue excavations, including sections of mosaic floors dating back to the Roman era in Sparta. Finally, exhibits of the museum also include inscriptions which shed light on several aspects of Spartan history.

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The Koumantareios Art Gallery of Sparta is housed in a neoclassical, early 20th century mansion, which was donated by Dolly Goulandris and her brother, George Koumantaros in honor of their father, John Koumantaros, an art lover. The Koumantareios Art Gallery opened its doors to the public in 1982 and now operates as a subsidiary of the National Gallery of Greece.

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The Museum of the Holy Metropolis of Monemvasia and Sparta was founded in 1992, following the initiative of His Eminence, Metropolitan Efstathios. It is housed on the second floor of the Metropolitan Building. The rich collection attests to the high level of religious art produced over the last five centuries. The collection consists of remarkable portable icons, samples of gold embroidery and silversmithing, liturgical garments and sacerdotal vestments, as well as a series of illustrated manuscript codes.

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The first, informal museum, located in the eastern wing of the Metropolis complex, was founded by the French byzantinologist, Gabriel Millet in the late 19th century. Architectural sculptures from the churches of Mystras were placed here. In the early 20th century, the collection was enriched with a contribution made by His Grace, Metropolitan of Sparta Theoklitos Minopoulos.

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A brand new museum, the Museum of Modern Sparta was established by the Municipality of Sparta and the Cultural Centre of Sparta. It is housed in the neoclassical building of the Cultural Center, at the intersection of Lycurgus Avenue and Hamaretou Street. The Museum of Modern Sparta serves as a ‘guardian’ of cultural goods, and examines the past in order to shed light on the present and to anticipate the city’s future. The museum’s main purpose is to collect and safeguard everything associated with the city and to offer invaluable information to each new generation of Spartans, including facts about how this Lakonian capital city was established in antiquity and ultimately developed into a modern urban center of the Peloponnese.

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The Development Company ‘Parnonas-Taygetos’ and the Municipality of Sparta set up this small museum in the village of Anavriti, located on the border of the future National Forest. The museum is housed in the halls of the old primary school of the village and showcases both the botanical and geological wealth of the region. The exhibits are rather simple, yet they offer a wealth of information for those who want to discover this natural area.

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The Sainopouleio Amphitheatre is situated within a park of the same name at the 5th km of the National Road Sparta-Kalamata. Every summer, the “Cultural Summer” festival takes place here, featuring a series of cultural events including theatrical performances, concerts and the like. Among many others, Nikiforos Vrettakos and Anna Synodinou have appeared here, as well as major acting troupes such as those from the National Theatre, the Municipal Theatre of Kalamata and Thessaly. Musical performances, to name a few, include the Camerata Friends of Music Orchestra and Manos Hatzidakis, who expressed great admiration for the physical beauty and acoustics of the Amphitheatre. The Sainopouleio Amphitheatre boasts an orchestra with a diameter of 16m and a seating capacity of at least 1500. Auxiliary facilities such as dressing rooms and toilets are available and maintained to meet modern quality standards. The Amphitheatre is blessed with Mount Taygetos as a natural backdrop, and during night events, the illuminated castle city of Mystras gives its own performance. Access by car is easy as there is a 15-acre parking lot available; in addition, an organized network offers free transportation to spectators from all over Lakonia.

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The Amphitheatre of Xirokambi is situated at the edge of the village on the way to Mount Taygetos, next to the ‘Hellenic’ Bridge. The Amphitheatre was constructed from 2000-2002 with local stone. A conscious – and rather successful – effort was made to smoothly integrate the structure with the surrounding natural environment.

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The Public Library of Sparta was founded in 1972 with donations from P. Poulitsa and a grant of library books from the Municipality of Sparta. In 1989 the library moved into its present home, a building which offers better planning and complete organization of the library’s departments.

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The Camera Museum – Takis Aivalis was inaugurated in March 2013. It is the dream of a lifetime and the culmination of efforts by Takis and Anastasia Aivalis. It is the world’s largest private collection of cameras.

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The Manousakeio Museum of urban and folk life is a donation by the late Leonidas Manousakis, who in 1996 donated his house along with household items, clothing, photographic archives, an Ottoman banner etc.

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In a green area, donated by Nikolaos Goudes, very close to the city of Sparta and on the way to Mystras, stands out this high quality exemplary recreational park, which follows European standards.