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Evrotas River | Mani Lakonia | The Creator of the Valley of the Ancient Sparta

Updated: Mar 13


George Papadellis | SG Head

The Evrotas river or Eurotas river, 82 Km long, is the main river of the Mani Lakonia area and one of the major rivers of the region of Peloponnese. Evrotas is fed by Eurotas Springs and by smaller rivers coming from the Mountain Taygetos and the Mountain Parnonas, and it empties into the Laconian Gulf.

The Evrotas River

Condition and Use

The water of Evrotas is used extensively for irrigation, a main reason for its drought during the summer and its flooding during the winter. Irrigation is taking place especially for citrus, the famous fruit of Laconia, however fertilizers are still polluting the water. The plain of Elos at the mouth of the river, is a large fertile land.

River Current State

Today, Eurotas is dramatically changed in comparison with its primary state, mainly due to the many wells that people have constructed through the decades. In this condition, the river has parts actually dry of surface water.

View of Sparti in the Valley of Eurotas River close to Taygetos and Parnonas Mountains

History of Evrotas Valley

The valley of Eurotas was firstly inhabited by the Leleges, the inhabitants of the eastern Aegean. The son of Lelex (the King of the Leleges) was called Eurotas, whose daughter was named Sparta. Sparta married Lacedaemon, and he named the place Sparta. The presence of the Leleges tribe has been proved in the late 20th century when signs of an underwater town between Punta and Elafonisos island were found (pottery, tombs, walls). The findings showed links with the Cyclades and the north Aegean, where Leleges lived.

For the Mycenaean period, proof is better. In the area of Sparta, Evrotas hosts a temple, the Menelaon, and remains of a Mycenaean city of the late Bronze Age. And then, excavations found a principal settlement site of the late 15th century BC, which has been identified as Homeric Sparta of the ruling couple Menelaos and Helen (i.e. the Beautiful Helen of the Trojan War).

Later, the classical Sparta was built on the west bank of Eurotas river.

Painting of the Eurotas River in 1847

Photo by: in the public domain

Evrotas Valley Today

The capital of Lakonia, the city of Sparta is built in the valley’s center today. The rest of the valley, this fertile farmland, is a place of intense agriculture, arboriculture and viticulture.

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