The first Greek museum in the province was built 1874-1876 by the architect G. Katsaros and it was based on an initial collection of 288 exhibits, collected by the archeologist P.Stamatakis.
The 500 m2 museum houses thousands of findings, from ancient Lacedaemon and prehistoric findings from other regions of the prefecture. The most significant exhibits of the museum are the archaeological findings of the Classical Era from the three largest sanctuaries of the archaeological site at Sparta, the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia , the Sanctuary of Athena “of the Brazen House” and the Sanctuary of Apollo Amyclae. These sanctuaries are exhibited in two of the seven halls of the museum. The exhibition also includes sculptures of the Roman Times, as well as examples of mosaic floors of the Hellenistic and the Roman period.
The ceramic model of the penteconter of the Cape Maleas, findings from the Mycenaean tombs of Pellana, the stele of Damonon, and the statue of the Spartan warrior “Leonidas” that was found near the temple of Athena “of the Brazen House” constitute a prominent position in the museum.
The archaeological museum of Sparta was the first Greek museum built in the province whose construction began in 1874. Sparta’s first archaeological collection was established in 1833 by the German Archaeologist L. Ross and was housed in the church of Agios Panteleimonas that was later destroyed by fire. The museum’s main attraction is the 288 exhibits collected in 1872 by the curator of antiquities Stamatakis whose name was given to the museum. The building was designed by the architect G. Katsaros and its construction was completed in 1876. The buildings initial construction consisted of only two halls.
Today, the 500 m2 museum houses thousands of findings, from ancient Lacedaemon and prehistoric findings from other regions of the prefecture of Laconia. The seven halls of this neoclassical building house findings that date back to the Neolithic period until the later Roman Times. The most significant findings are the ones from the Classical Era that were found in the sanctuaries of the archaeological site of Sparta.
The foyer of the museum exhibits the votive steles from the temple of Artemis Orthia, with its incorporated sheaths for placing the scythes that were given rewards to the winners of the sporting events that took place at the sanctuary. The exhibition of these findings is completed in the museum’s second hall that displays the figurines that were offered to the goddess, as well as the masks that were used in the various ceremonial rituals. This same hall also has the findings discovered at the sanctuaries of Athena “of the Brazen House”, of Apollo Amyclae and at the Menelaus Sanctuary, as well as the large burial amphora that were found during excavations in Sparta.
The third hall contains sculptures that date back mainly to Roman Times, as well as portions of mosaic floors of the Hellenistic and the Roman period. Of paramount importance is the head of the statue of Luck of the city as well as the ceramic model of the pentconter of the Cape Maleas. In the small attic of the museum we can see prehistoric findings from various areas of Laconia and also findings from the Mycenaean tombs of Pellana.
The penultimate room of the museum contains mosaic floors that decorated luxurious mansions and the public buildings of Sparta during the Roman Times. In the same hall the architectural parts of the temple of Apollo Amyclae, Laconian reliefs, as well as the famous statue of the Spartan warrior, Leonidas, found near the Sanctuary of Athena “of the Brazen House” are exhibited. Additionally, the tomb inscriptions of dead warriors, the statue of Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth, and lastly the enormous head that was supposedly either given to Hera or Helen can be admired. Furthermore, one of the most significant exhibits constitutes the glorious stele of Damonon which lists on it victories from sporting events.
Lastly, the exhibition includes epigraphic texts that highlight Spartan history. The exhibit, however, constitute only a small portion of the findings already discovered in the area that continue to grow with the ongoing the excavation in the area.
Archaeological Museum of Sparta “Panagiotis Stamatakis”
71, Osiou Nikonos Str., Sparta (00302731028575)
Open every day except for Mondays from 08:30-15:00
From November until March free entrance