Laconia

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For other uses of Laconia and Lakonia, see Laconia (disambiguation).
Laconia
Περιφερειακή ενότητα
Λακωνίας
Regional unit
Municipalities of Laconia
Municipalities of Laconia
Laconia within Greece
Laconia within Greece
Coordinates: 36°55′N 22°40′E / 36.917°N 22.667°E / 36.917; 22.667Coordinates: 36°55′N 22°40′E / 36.917°N 22.667°E / 36.917; 22.667
Country Greece
Region Peloponnese
Capital Sparta
Area
 • Total 3,636 km2 (1,404 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 89,138
 • Density 25/km2 (63/sq mi)
Postal codes 23x xx
Area codes 273x0
ISO 3166 code GR-16
Car plates ΑΚ

Laconia (Greek: Λακωνία), also known as Lacedaemonia, is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the southeastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. Its administrative capital is Sparta. The word "laconic" is derived from the name of the region by analogy—to speak in a concise way, as the Spartans were reputed by the Athenians to do.

Geography[edit]

Eurotas (river) outside the city of Sparti.

Laconia borders Messenia to the west and Arcadia to the north and is surrounded by the Myrtoan Sea to the east and by the Laconian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It encompasses Cape Malea and Cape Tainaron and a large part of the Mani Peninsula. The islands of Kythira and Antikythera lie to the south, but they administratively belong to the Attica regional unit of islands. The island, Elafonisos, situated between the Laconian mainland and Kythira, is part of Laconia.

The Evrotas is the longest river in the prefecture. The valley of the Evrotas is predominantly an agricultural region that contains many citrus groves, olive groves, and pasture lands. It is the location of the largest orange production in the Peloponnese and probably in all of Greece. Lakonia, a brand of orange juice, is based in Amykles.

The main mountain ranges are the Taygetus (2,407 m) in the west and the Parnon (1,961 m) in the northeast. Taygetus, known as Pentadaktylos (five-fingers) throughout the Middle Ages, is west of Sparta and the Evrotas valley. It is the highest mountain in Laconia and the Peloponnese, and mostly covered with pine trees. Two roads connect the adjoining prefectures of Messenia and Laconia: one is a tortuous mountain pass through Taygetus and the other bypasses the mountain via the Mani district to the south.

The stalactite cave Dirou, a major tourist attraction, is located south of Areopolis in the southwest of Laconia.

Climate[edit]

Laconia has a Mediterranean climate with warm winters and hot summers. Snow is rare on the coast throughout the winter, but very common in the mountains.

Climate data for Laconia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 15.7
(60.3)
16.6
(61.9)
18.1
(64.6)
20.2
(68.4)
26.0
(78.8)
31.1
(88)
33.5
(92.3)
33.2
(91.8)
29.2
(84.6)
23.3
(73.9)
18.1
(64.6)
16.1
(61)
22.5
(72.5)
Average low °C (°F) 6.2
(43.2)
6.5
(43.7)
7.6
(45.7)
9.6
(49.3)
13.9
(57)
18.2
(64.8)
20.8
(69.4)
20.7
(69.3)
17.3
(63.1)
13.4
(56.1)
9.8
(49.6)
6.8
(44.2)
12.3
(54.1)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 130.2 139.2 182.9 231.0 291.4 336.0 362.7 341.0 276.0 207.7 153.0 127.1 2,778.2
[citation needed]

Municipalities of Laconia[edit]

The rock of Monemvasia
The port of Gytheio, Mani peninsula.

The regional unit Laconia is subdivided into 5 municipalities. These are (number as in the map in the infobox):[1]

Prefecture[edit]

As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the regional unit Laconia was created out of the former prefecture Laconia (Greek: Νομός Λακωνίας). The prefecture had the same territory as the present regional unit. At the same time, the municipalities were reorganised, according to the table below.[1]

New municipality Old municipalities Seat
East Mani
(Anatoliki Mani)
East Mani Gytheio
Gytheio
Oitylo
Smynos
Elafonisos Elafonisos Elafonisos
Evrotas Skala Skala
Geronthres
Elos
Krokees
Niata
Monemvasia Monemvasia Molaoi
Asopos
Voies
Zarakas
Molaoi
Sparti Sparti Sparti
Therapnes
Karyes
Mystras
Oinountas
Pellana
Faris

Provinces[edit]

Note: Provinces no longer hold any legal status in Greece.

Population[edit]

  • 1907: 87,106
  • 1991: 95,696
  • 2001: 94,918
  • 2011: 89,138

The main cities and towns of Laconia are (ranked by 2011 census population):

History[edit]

Ancient history[edit]

Main articles: Sparta and Laconia (ancient region)
The theater of ancient Sparta with modern Sparti and Taygetus in the background.

In ancient Greece this was the principal region of the Spartan state. Throughout classical antiquity the Spartan sphere of influence expanded to Messenia, whose inhabitants (the helots) were permanently enslaved. Significant archaeological recovery exists at the Vaphio tomb site in Laconia. Advanced Bronze Age art is found here, and evidence of cultural associations with the co-temperaneous Minoan culture on Crete.[2] Laconia was at war with the Kingdom of Macedonia and saw several battles; at the end of the Mycenean period population of Laconia declined sharply.[3] From the early-2nd century BC until 395 it became a part of the Roman Empire.

Medieval history[edit]

Palace of Mystras

In the medieval period it formed part of the Byzantine Empire. Following the Fourth Crusade, it was gradually conquered by the Frankish Principality of Achaea. In the 1260s, however, the Byzantines recovered Mystras and other fortresses in the region, and managed to evict the Franks from Laconia, which became the nucleus of a new Byzantine province. By the mid-14th century, this evolved into the Despotate of Morea, held by the last Greek ruling dynasty, the Palaiologoi. With the fall of the Despotate to the Ottomans in 1460, Laconia was conquered as well except for but the Mani peninsula, which remained mostly unsubdued.

Modern history[edit]

With the exception of a 30-year interval of Venetian rule, Laconia remained under Ottoman control until the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence of 1821. After Independence, Sparta was selected capital of the modern prefecture; its economy and agriculture expanded. With the incorporation of the British-ruled Ionian Islands into Greece in 1864, Elafonissos became part of the prefecture. After World War II and the Greek Civil War, its population began to decline somewhat, as people moved from the villages toward the larger cities of Greece and abroad.

In 1992, a devastating fire ruined the finest olive crops in the northern part of the prefecture, and affected the area of Sellasia along with Oinountas and its surrounding areas. Firefighters, helicopters and planes battled for days to put out the horrific fire.

The Mani portion along with Gytheio became famous in Greece for filming episodes of Vendetta, broadcast on Mega Channel throughout Greece and abroad on Mega Cosmos.

Flooding ruined olive and citrus crops along the Evrotas river, as well as properties and villages there in early 2006. In the summer of 2006, a terrible fire devastated a part of the Mani Peninsula, ruining tens of its villages and crops, along with its forests.

Transport[edit]

Communications[edit]

Radio[edit]

Television[edit]

Newspapers[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kallikratis reform law text PDF
  2. ^ C. Michael Hogan, Knossos fieldnotes, Modern Antiquarian (2007)
  3. ^ Sarah B. Pomeroy, Stanley M. Burstein and Walter Donlan (1998) Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History, 512 pages, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-509742-4