The Municipality of Sparta is the capital of the Laconia prefecture with a population of 18.025 inhabitants. With an excellent city plan Sparta stands on the site of the ancient city built by the decree of 1834 signed by King Otto and designed by Staufehrt. The plan followed the Ippodamean example of wide avenues and big squares.
The capital of the prefecture is the administration centre and has all the characteristics of a modern provincial city. The economy of Sparta is based on agricultural production and tourism. It is surrounded by ancient sites and the centre of the city is crowned with many neoclassical buildings and monuments.
In the Archaeological Museum there are important exhibits and in the Koumantareios Gallery there is a permanent collection of oil paintings by western European artists. The unique most interesting Museum of Olive is open to the public all year round.This is an alternate approach to the Byzantine castle settlement of Mystras, a pleasant walk beside Sparta, for both visitors and inhabitants of the town.
The path starts at the end of Lycourgos Ave., on the outskirts of the town towards Mystras or Kalamata and initially follows the bank of Magoulitsa and Skatias up to the first houses of Mystras (50 minutes walk). Stone-paved for the greater part, the path takes full advantage of the river-side vegetation, to lead the visitor under the shady plane trees. The whole route has been included in the European Long-distance Path E4.
On the way apart from the natural beauty and the breathtaking view of Mystras and Mt. Taygetos we will come across two natural springs with clear, drinkable water, the post-Byzantine chapel of St. Andreas, two old lime furnaces and a pottery-works, as well as the ruins of a water-mill.