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Sparta and Taygetus (Source)

Taygetus or Taygetos (Greek: Ταΰγετος), also Taigetos is a mountain range of the Peloponnesus, Southern Greece, extending about 65 mi (100 km) north from the southern end of Cape Matapan in the Mani Peninsula. It rises to about 7,900 ft (2,410 m) at Mt. Hagios Ilias (Mt. St. Elias). The mountain is named after Taygete. In the Byzantine times and up until the 19th century, the mountain was known as Pentedaktylos (Greek for five fingers). The mountain range includes the prefectures of Arcadia, Laconia and Messenia.

The valley of the Evrotas River lies to the east, while the Ionian Sea lies to the south and west along with the Gulf of Kalamata or the Messenian Gulf and Arcadia to the north.

Almost all of the Evrotas valley, the Parnon mountains and half of Laconia can be seen in the eastern part, the western part's panorama include Kalamata and the eastern half of Messenia and most of the southwestern part of Arcadia can also be seen.

The central part of the mountain range is commonly called Skoteini Plevra which means the dark side because the villages that are in the Taygetus don't receive as much sunshine especially in the morning and the pre-dusk hours. Much of the area are forested and in higher areas, deforested with grasslands, meadows and flowers. The area receives sunshine only during the afternoon hours. The length is about 4 to 5 km and the width is approx. 1 km.

Taygetus, Photos: Alexandros Daskalakis

Elevation: 2,410 m (7,900 ft) (Profitis Ilias)
Latitude: 36.954/36°57'15" N
Longitude: 23.352/23°21'5" E
Location: eastern Messenia
western Laconia
Length: approx. 50 km, north to south
approx. from 10 to 20 km from east to west
Easiest route: climb

Geographical features

  • Kouakiou river
  • Rintomo gorge [1]
  • Viros gorge

Places on the Taygetus

  • Artemissia (pop: 291)
  • Piges (pop: 103)

Nearby places

In order of ascent, example north to south in the west.


Taygetos, Part in the West


  • Neochori
  • Pellana



There are a few creeks in the range including two running within GR-82.

As an aside, but unconfirmed there is a naturally occurring pyramid on this mountain, perhaps one of the few naturally occurring pyraminds in the world. Taygetus also has a resort. Climate has cool summers in the central part with snowy winters. Most of the eastern half is grassy while the rest of the mountain is covered with Pine trees.

An ancient road linking Messene along with the rest of Messenia and Sparta ran in the southern part of the mountain in ancient and medieval times. The modern highway is Greece Interstate 82, the Kalamata to Sparti Highway running in the northcentral part with a pass of about 1,060 m. It is the only highway that runs through the Taygetus ranges.

A Trail is situated in the south central part of the range west of Mystras.

Further, this is the mountain on which the Spartans would leave their handicapped children to Die. Most likely, the children were thown off the mountain because of the Spartans way of life. They were a warrior city and physical weakness was not tolerated.

A documentary broadcasted by ERT is about the Taygetus and it begins by GR-82 and up to several villages and finally into the grasslands and up to the snowy mountain.

See also

Vyros Gorge

Mountains in Greece

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