Corinth & Peloponnese 1/03

Home Up Athens & Sounion 1/03 Delphi & Osiou Louka 1/03 Corinth & Peloponnese 1/03

Argolis region of the Peloponnesian peninsula, west of Athens...

15th century Bourtzi Fortress in Nafplion Harbor

The eastern part of the peninsula of Peloponnese has some of the great treasures of Greece. I took a full day tour with George the famous taxi driver and covered almost four millenniums of history making the circle of Corinth, Mycenae, Nafplion and Epidaurus. The weather was cool, but pleasant, with rain threatening most of the day but never arriving. A couple of the stops involved some real climbs, most notably Acrocorinth, which is a fortress built in four levels on a 1885 ft. high sheer cliff over Corinth with the pathways all covered in slippery marble.

Ancient Corinth

Leaving Athens heading west, we crossed over the Corinth Canal, which was blasted out from solid rock in the late 19th century (first picture below). The Ancient Corinth site starts with a small, but competent museum that contains three rooms of the site's artifacts (second picture below). The Temple of Apollo (large picture at right with my new local guide) and Roman Agora (yes there are places with the same names in Delphi and Athens) make up a small city with a wide marble street and the remains of homes, shops (third and fourth pictures below) and a well preserved temple.

6th century BC Temple of Apollo in Ancient Corinth

Acrocorinth

Acrocorinth is a massive fortress perched on a cliff above Ancient Corinth (first picture below at the top of the mountain on the left). You drive about two thirds of the way up and then you need to pull out your hiking shoes. The gate (second picture below) is the beginning of a long steep climb on slippery marble covered paths that goes up four levels approaching the summit. From the first level you can see only the next two (third picture below). I stopped climbing at the third level which is at the top right of the third picture below. It looked like another hour or more to the summit and the view was already great. Driving back down the mountain, we were stopped by a group of wild sheep crossing the road in a flock (fourth picture below). I'll bet they made it all the way to the top.

Mycenae

Driving past countless orange groves we came to the ancient Citadel of Mycenae. This was the oldest of the ancient sites I visited, dating back to 1500 BC. The highlights were the Lion's Gate (first picture below) and the famous, but unimaginatively named, Grave Circle A, where in 1874 Heinrich Schliemann excavated what he thought was the death mask of Agamemnon (second picture below). Climbing up the steep hill, I passed the ruins of houses and a small city (third picture below) heading for the palace at the top. The views looking over the valley were great, and I could see why this location was easy to defend. The Mycenaeans fell victim to some unknown disaster around 1100 BC and virtually disappeared by the time the rest of ancient Greece was rising. The fourth picture below shows the marble steps and walkways leading up to the palace.

Epidaurus

Heading down the hill from the Citadel, we stopped to visit the Treasury of Atreus (entrance shown in first picture below), which is a dark honeycomb shaped burial area called a tholos tomb. After a quick stop to pick up souvenirs in Nafplion (large picture top of page left) we drove north about 20 miles to visit the Theatre of Epidaurus (second picture below), which is an acoustic wonder. They have a competent museum attached, like many of the ancient sites, with a sample of excavated treasures from the nearby Sanctuary of Asklepios (third picture below). A short walk up the hill takes you to the remarkably well preserved 4th century theatre which is still used, seating 14,000. When you stand anywhere on the stage you can whisper and be heard all the way up in the cheap seats (fourth picture below).

Home Up Athens & Sounion 1/03 Delphi & Osiou Louka 1/03 Corinth & Peloponnese 1/03

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