LACONIA INITIATIVE

The grantmaking activity of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) extends all across Greece and around the world. But the Greek region of Laconia holds a special connection with SNF as the ancestral homeland of SNF’s Founder, Stavros Niarchos.

In this context, the Foundation supports—through encouragement, collaboration, and grants—a suite of initiatives to further strengthen the region. A centerpiece of these efforts is the new project for the revival of Vamvakou, a village on the western slopes of Mount Parnon that was the birthplace of SNF’s Founder but now has very few permanent residents.

Furthermore, following the visit of SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos and representatives of the Foundation to Laconia in early April 2019, SNF has embarked on a collaboration with the Holy Metropolis of Monemvasia and Sparta and its head, Metropolitan Efstathios, for the construction and outfitting of the School of Byzantine Music and Hagiography in the area.

At the same time, the SNF in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Sports, supports the upgrading of the Archaeological Museum of Sparta. The Archaeological Museum of Sparta is the first peripheral archaeological museum that was established in Greece and holds an outstanding collection of archaeological treasures. The renovation of its spaces is aimed to empower the role of the Museum as a cultural attraction in the center of the city. The new designs of the museum proposed by renowned architect Renzo Piano envision an open public space for residents and visitors of Sparta, based on the once unified space between the museum’s garden and the main square of Sparta’s City Hall. The grant includes an underground expansion of the building and the renovation of its historic garden.

Already underway is also a grant for the conservation of and outreach for the site commonly referred to as the “House of Europa,” where two Roman mosaics are preserved: “The Abduction of Europa” and “Orpheus with the Animals.” Former Minister Ioannis Varvitsiotis, president of the nonprofit organization “Friends of the Mosaics of Sparta,” has spearheaded an effort to highlight and promote the city’s incredible mosaics, which will lead to further appreciation of the city’s archaeological wealth, in all its forms.

Lastly, as part of SNF’s initiative to support the health sector in Greece, implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Foundation is moving forward with a grant for the creation of a new Hospital in Sparta. Design of the hospital will be carried out by architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop.