Places to Visit in the Peloponnese
The Ancient Acropolis of Asini is found on top of a hill jutting out into the sea, roughly one km before Tolo, 7 km from Nafplio. Discoveries during excavations show that the area was populated during the Bronze Age and reached as far as Myceanae during the Pre-Geometric and Geomatric Ages. Today are traces of a pre-historic settlement, parts of the imposing polygonal structure of the acropolis as well as Hellenic towers constructed in the Middle Ages.SEE MORE
The name of the town in Greek is Ναύπλιο or, and in Ancient Greek Ναύπλιον (thus the transliteration Nafplion). As is the case with many Greek names, there is more than one possible Latin transliteration. Currently, the most commonly used English spelling is Nafplion (or sometimes Nafplio like the Modern Greek way of saying it). Many sources, especially those dealing with the ancient city, refer to it by its Latin name of Nauplion. In other languages it is known variously as Nauplia, Navplion, Nauplio, Nafplion and Anapli. These names would have been current in English during the periods of Venetian and Ottoman domination.SEE MORE
Ancient Tiryns, a city that belongs to the Mycenaean era, the area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. A lesser neolithic settlement was followed, in the middle of the 3rd millennium BC, by a flourishing early pre-Hellenic settlement located about 15 km southeast of Mycenae, and famous for its inormous walls, said to be built by Cyclops hence the name Cyclopian Walls also praised by Homer. These walls are also protected as a part of the World Heritage Site of UNESCO.
Argos Ancient Theatre
Originally the largest theatre of ancient Greece seating 20,000 spectators, Argos Theatre is unique having been carved into the stone of teh mountain rather than being placed there. Well worth a visit, a place where you can feel the history even if it has not been fully excavated. See also the ancient agora, the nearby Roman baths and the remains of the santuary of Aphrodite.
Greek Pyramid of Hellinikon
The Ellinikon Pyramid also known as the Kehrion Pyramid is located in Ellinikon, just a few kilometres from Nafplio. It is the most important and best preserved pyramid in Greece. The structure resembles a pyramid with the decorations of Argolic shields, showing the military connection. Another pyramid that Pausanias saw on his journeys was at Kenchreai. Unfortunately neither of these structures remain fully intact today to test how closely they resembled the pyramids of Egypt nor is there any proof that they even resembled an Egyptian pyramid at all.The Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus was the most celebrated healing center of the ancient world.
Epidavros Ancient Theatre
The Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus was the most celebrated healing center of the ancient world. A mortal physician deified by Zeus after his death for retrieving a patient from the underworld, Asklepios was typically depicted clutching a staff and flanked by a dog and a serpent - common symbols of wisdom. The authority and radiance of Asklepios as the most important healer god of antiquity brought to the sanctuary great financial prosperity, which in the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE, enabled the implementation of an ambitious building program for the construction of monumental buildings for worship and later, of buildings mainly secular in character such as its magnificent theater. This sanctuary was active from the 6th century BCE.
At the site of Ancient Nemea in the Greek province of Corinthia, where mythology records Hercules’ first labor with the ferocious Nemean lion, life goes on much as it has for the last two millennia. Here, in the foothills of the Korinthia Mountains, the land is studded with olive trees and grape fields and is home to a small village of farmers. The Temple of Nemean Zeus, although mostly in ruins, still dominates the valley as it has for more than 2,300 years. The Stadium a few kms from the Ancient site is in excellent repair and well worth visiting. In ancient times, it included a clay running track, a channel carrying fresh water to athletes and a starting line complete with a 'hysplex', a starting mechanism using the same concept as a catapult to ensure a fair start to races. Today Nemea has become world reknowned and respected in the wine industry and a number of the vineyards are open to the public for tastings.
The fortified palace complex of Mycenae, uncovered by the archeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1874, is one of the earliest examples of sophisticated citadel architecture. The site was inhabited since Neolithic times (about 4000 BCE) but reached its height as the center of Aegean Civilization in about 1400 BCE, dominated before that time by the Minoans from Crete. The term "Mycenaean" applies to an entire civilization spanning the years 1700-1100 BCE which spread throughout the Greek world. Mycenae is situated upon a small hill-top on the lower slopes of Euboea Mountain, between two of its peaks. In 1100 BC Mycenae was destroyed by fire. About 100 years later the Dorians invaded from the north, replacing the Mycenaean civilization, and the city never regained its former splendor.
The ruins of Ancient Corinth are spread out at the foot of the huge rock of Acrocorinth. Ancient Corinth derived its prosperity from its position on the narrow isthmus between the Saronic and Corinthian gulfs. Transporting goods across the isthmus, even before the canal was built, provided the shortest route from the eastern Mediterranean to the Adriatic and Italy. Founded in Neolithic times (5000-3000 BCE), its history is obscure until the early 8th century BCE, when the city-state of Corinth began to develop as a commercial center. Until it was eclipsed by Athens in the 5th century BCE, Corinth was the biggest and wealthiest classical Greek city-state. The town was prosperous until it was razed in 146 BCE by the Roman general, Lucius Mummius. In 44 BCE, Julius Caesar rebuilt Corinth as a Roman colony. Consequently, the remaining monuments are mainly Roman; only a few are Greek.
The Corinth Canal links the Gulf of Corinth in the northwest with the Saronic Gulf in the southeast. The canal is 3.9 miles (6.3 km) long and has a water depth of 26 feet (8 m). Its width varies from a minimum of 69 feet (21 m) at the bottom to 82 feet (25 m) maximum at the water's surface. Before it was built, ships sailing between the Aegean and Adriatic had to circumnavigate the Peloponnese adding about 185 nautical miles to their journey. The first to decide to dig the Corinth Canal was Periander, the tyrant of Corinth (602 BCE). Such a giant project was above the technical capabilities of ancient times so Periander carried out another great project, the diolkσs, a stone road, on which the ships were transferred on wheeled platforms from one sea to the other. The first who thought seriously to carry out the project was Capodistrias (c. 1830), first governor of Greece after the liberation from the Ottoman Turks. Work began on Mar 29, 1882, but the capital of 30 million francs proved to be insufficient. The work was restarted in 1890, by a new Greek company (Andreas Syggros), with a capital of 5 million francs. The job was finally completed and regular use of the Canal started on Oct 28, 1893.
The capital city of Greece, Athens it dominates the region of Attica and is one of the worlds oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years, and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennia BC. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that was developed simultaneously with the seagoing development of the Piraeus port, which had been a distinct city prior to its 5th century BC embodiment with Athens.
The site of Olympia, in a Peloponnese valley, has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BCE. In the 10th century BCE, Olympia became a center of worship to Zeus, after whose abode on Mount Olympus the site was named. The valley amongst the two rivers was in ancient times full of wild olive trees, poplars, oaks, pines and plane trees and it was these trees that gave the center of the sanctuary the name Altis, the sacred grove (from alsos, meaning grove). The sports structures designed for the events of the Olympic Games honoring Zeus as well as dwellings for the priests, baths, guest houses, etc. were outside of the Altis. Although the first Olympiad is thought to have been in 776 BCE, bronze votive figures of the Geometric period (10th - 8th centuries BCE) reveal that the sanctuary was in use before that date. The festival took place every four years over a five day period in the late summer during a sacred truce observed by all Greek cities. Victors in the games were crowned with a branch of the "beautiful crowned wild olive tree" that stood near the temple of Zeus. This crown bestowed the greatest honor on the athlete, his family and his native city. The sanctuary flourished
Mystra rises above the verdant valley of Eurotas. In about the Mid 13th century mail-coated Frankish knights built watch-towers on this 'strange hill', from which they could defend fertile Lacedaemon and control the unruly mountain dwellers of Taygetos. But they were unable to retain their hold on 'beautiful Mystra' for long. A Byzantine " Basileus and Emperor of the Romans" regained his throne at Constantinople in 1261 and henceforth Mystra became a center of culture and civilization destined to illuminate the art and spirit of the Byzantine age for the last time. Mystra's achievement is a very important one; but it is the sphere of art in particular that the modern traveler will be most impressed. Some of the most important works at the 14th century will be found at the Aphendiko. In the Peribleptos a synthesis of rare aesthetic quality and deep theological significance will be observed, whereas at the Pantanassa the visitor is struck by the lengths to which the Byzantine painting can go in respect of color range. Here also will be found every type of Byzantine church as well as specific examples of decorative architecture pertaining to palaces, mansions and ordinary houses.
Monemvasia is also known as the Greek Gibraltar or The Rock, the town is located on a small island off the east coast of the Peloponnese. The island is linked to the mainland by a short causeway 200m in length. A powerful medieval fortress that as the name in Greek states was only accessible by one point.
Delphi also known as the Centre of the World in ancient Greek mythology. The area grew rich as the seat of the oracle that was consulted on important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. It occupies an impressive site on the south-west slope of Mountain Parnassus overlooking the coastal plain to the south and the valley of Phocis. It is now an extensive archaeological site and the modern town is nearby. It is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Museum of Natural History
The Kotsiomiti Museum of Natural History in Lygourio is close to the ancient theatre of Epidavros and as such a great stop to make on the road. It is a private museum that houses collections of fossils, crystals, rock formations, shells, tools and many other artifacts. Their ammonites collection is considered to be the most complete worldwide.