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The Naval Port of Ancient Sparta

The naval port of Ancient Sparta was built by Spartans during their days of prosperity. The port is situated in a location currently called Trinisa (7km from Skala). Three small islands, in close proximity to each other and the coast, had been artificially connected thus creating the most significant port of Ancient Sparta. This had been mainly used for the purposes of war.

According to mythology, this was the exact place where Paris’s fleet had anchored. Paris while being a guest of king Menelaos met his wife the Fair Helen and later on kidnapped her. The Spartan fleet set sail for Troy from the same port. During the Peloponnesian war (431-404BC) various war operations started at this very spot.

Apart from its use during the war this naval port also functioned as a trading point. According to Pausanias, the locals would fish those waters looking for the precious murex (porphyra). This was a type of shellfish used as red pigment for fabrics, much in request in the ancient world. The cultivation of the murex (porphyra) during the Byzantine era can be proved by the remains of underwater stone tanks in which shellfish, called “porphyria”, were collected. This particular occupation was an important source of income for the locals.

Several ruins of this historic naval port can still be found today thus proving it once existed. These are present not only along the coast but undersea as well. Additionally, fragments of “porphyria” can be found underwater only a few metres to the west of the naval port.