Sparta is the administrative capital of Laconia (Lacedaemonia) Prefecture, which belongs to Peloponnese Region, with a population of 16,473 inhabitants. The city of Sparta is situated at the southern end of the central Laconian plain, on the right bank of the river Evrotas. The site was strategically located; guarded from three sides by mountains and controlling the routes by which invading armies could penetrate Laconia and the southern Peloponnese via the Langhda Pass over Mt Taygetus. At the same time, its distance from the sea Sparta is 27 miles from its seaport, Gythium made it difficult to blockade.
As a city-state devoted to military training, Sparta acquired the most formidable army in the Greek world, and after achieving notable victories over the Athenian and Persian Empires, regarded itself as the natural protector of Greece. The later Sparta did not produce art or philosophy, neither left us any written work, but its people were admired for their valor and for keeping alive the Greek values. Laconia or Lacedaimona was the name of the wider city-state centered at the city of Sparta, though the name "Sparta" is now used for both. The Kings of Sparta were believed to be the direct descendants of Hercules.
In a notably accurate prediction, the 5th-century B.C. Athenian historian Thucydides predicted that if Sparta were ever "to become desolate, and the temples and the foundations of the public buildings were left, no one in future times would believe that this had been one of the preeminent cities of Greece." The city had no great temples or public buildings and throughout its period of greatness it remained unfortified: Lycurgus, architect of the Spartan constitution, declared that "it is men not walls that make a city". Consequently, modern Sparta, described grid-style in 1834, has few ancient ruins, and is today the pleasant organizational centre of a vast agricultural plain. Sparta s appeal is its familiarity - its pedestrian side streets, caf -lined squares, orange trees and evening volta. The reason for coming here is basically to see Mystra, the Byzantine town, 5km to the west, which once controlled great swaths of the medieval world.