Menelaion

Sights of Interest / Antiquity & Byzantium

Details

On the hill of Prophet Elias, just a few kilometers east of Sparta, opposite the Evrotas River, we encounter one of the most significant sanctuaries of Sparta. It is an area with precious Mycenaean relics. After Amykles, Therapnes is the second prehistoric site inhabited since the early Bronze Age. Its name was taken from Therapne, the daughter of King Lelex.

A short distance west of the Mycenaean site in Therapnes, an impressive sanctuary constructed in historical times has been discovered. Here, Menelaos and Helen were worshipped as gods. Excavations conducted by the British School have brought to light a truly odd structure. It is a large pyramidal foundation that rises to the top of the hill and forms a kind of base for the temple. It was built with large, well-carved stones and it has been well-preserved, although we still do not recognize its significance.

This sanctuary succeeded a much older one. At the time of Pausanias, it is believed that Menelaos and Helen were buried there. They were considered gods and sacrifices were made in Therapnes in their honor.

Source: ‘Idiomorfi’ Publications