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Laconia
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Laconia

Laconia (Λακωνία), also known as Lacedaemonia, was in ancient Greece the portion of the Peloponnesus of which the most important city was Sparta. In modern times, Laconia has the legal status as a prefecture of Greece with Sparta being its administrative capital.

Eurotas is the longest river in the prefecture. Its main towns and cities are Amyclae, Areopolis, Gytheion, Mani Peninsula, Molaoi, Monemvasia, Mystras, Neapoli and Sellasia. The valley of Eurotas 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 all of Greece.

Taygetus, known as Pentedaktylos (five-fingers) throughout the middle ages, is west of Sparta and the Eurotas valley. It is the tallest mountain in Laconia and the Peloponnese. The only road connecting the adjoining prefectures of Messinia and Laconia passes through the mountain.

A cave in the southwest of the prefecture is located south of Areopolis. This prestigious cave is called Dirou and is large tourist attraction.


The English 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.

Laconia is also a city in New Hampshire, United States of America: see Laconia, New Hampshire.

Laconia was the Cunard liner involved in the Laconia incident during World War II. The ship was torpedoed on September 12, 1941 by a U-boat which rescued the survivors but was itself attacked by an American aircraft four days later whilst towing lifeboats filled with people and prominently displaying a Red Cross flag. The German admiralty subsequently issued the "Laconia order" which forbade U-boats from helping the survivors of ships which they had sunk, and for which Admiral Karl Dönitz was controversially prosecuted at the end of the war.