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Laconia Initiative

The Greek region of Laconia holds special significance for the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) as the ancestral homeland of our founder, Stavros S. Niarchos, and we are supporting a suite of major projects to bring new strengths and vitality to the area.
A centerpiece of these efforts is the project to revival of Vamvakou, a village on the western slopes of Mount Parnon that was the birthplace of SNF’s founder but whose population had until recently dwindled to just a handful of people. The Vamvakou Revival team is breathing new life into the village as a place to live and work and a destination for visitors.

Elsewhere in the region, in collaboration with the Holy Metropolis of Monemvasia and Sparta and Metropolitan Efstathios, SNF is supporting the construction and outfitting of a new School of Byzantine Music and Hagiography, which is expected to be completed in 2025. 

SNF is also deeply involved in two projects to highlight Sparta’s archeological wealth and create new spaces for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. First, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Foundation is supporting major upgrades to the Archaeological Museum of Sparta. Renovations by renowned architect Renzo Piano and Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) to restore and expand the museum will allow it to shine as a cultural destination and host local community events. The museum’s gardens will also be renovated to create quality, public space in the center of the city for all to enjoy.

Second, the nearby House of the Mosaics, opened to the public in May 2021, preserves and displays two stunning Roman mosaics—The Abduction of Europa and Orpheus with the Animals—in a new educational pavilion. The project to showcase the mosaics, as part of a broader effort to promote appreciation of Sparta’s rich past, was spearheaded by former Greek minister Ioannis Varvitsiotis, president of the nonprofit Friends of the Mosaics of Sparta.

As part of SNF’s Global Health Initiative (GHI), implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and local stakeholders, a new RPBW-designed public hospital is being built in Sparta to serve people across the Peloponnese, replacing a building in use since 1953. The design prioritizes sustainability and immersion in nature and includes a dedicated adult mental health unit among facilities for a wide range of medical specialties, from a mammography unit to a catheterization lab.