Peloponnese is the largest peninsula in Greece, practically an island: the Corinthian isthmus, which connects it to the mainland, is “cut” through and through by the Corinth Canal. Here it is, nothing special: 6 km long, 8 m depth and up to 25 m width.
True, connecting the Ionian and Aegean seas, saves ships 400 kilometers. The wise Greeks understood this as early as the 7th century BC. and started building the canal. But the oracle Delphus (because of the greed of the priests, perhaps) did not give the go-ahead, and the building was “frozen”.
Caesar and Caligula only planned, and Nero continued the construction in the 1st century, but Rome rebelled, and Nero was not up to the channel …
For centuries, construction resumed and again threw. So the construction of this modest canal was the longest project in the history of mankind: it was put into operation only in 1893. But it is, by the way had to.
In general, about the Peloponnese, they say that it is possible to study the history of ancient Greece!
Here was the city of Mycenae, according to Homer – the richest city of antiquity. In 1876, conducting excavations in his Acropolis, Schliemann discovered the remnants of the Mycenaean civilization of the 16th century BC! Five tombs contained priceless treasures and the famous golden mask of Agamemnon, the conqueror of Troy. Only the tomb of Tutankhamen, discovered later, eclipsed the find in Mycenae.
The mask is on display in Athens, and other artifacts are in the Museum of Mycenae, where we honestly went. But it was on that day that grandiose protests were held in Athens against cuts in the cost of protecting monuments: thousands of demonstrators, hundreds of policemen, shouts, clashes and tear gas — serious passions seethed on the streets, frightening tourists. Obviously, there were also Mycenae: the reserve complex met us with an impressive castle ☺.
But another open-air museum turned out to be accessible: the ruins of ancient Corinth, rooted in the 10th century BC. When the Apostle Paul visited there in the year 51 with an enlightening mission, the city was already restored by Julius Caesar and surpassed Athens in area by five times. Even now, even the inhabitants of the metropolis, the scale of this Greek “Babylon” is impressive. Like 7 authentic columns (alas, out of 40!) Of the temple of Apollo, proudly towering over the dead city and the ever-living sea.
It was possible to climb the ancient fortification of Acrocorinth to see the ruins of the temple of Aphrodite and the gorgeous panorama of the city with the isthmus, but we preferred the archaeological museum. Many artifacts required some preparation, but the beauty of the ancient mosaics was available to everyone.
And finally, we visited the city of Nafplion, sweet and cozy, but with a rather formidable fortress Palamidi on the Acropolis. He is also from the Mycenaean civilization, with a rich and tragic history: from dominion on the coast to servitude under the French, Venetians and Turks.
When, in the 19th century, Nafplion was nevertheless returned to Greece, the presence of powerful fortifications, including Bourtzi Fort, allowed him to become the capital of an independent country. And stay in this status for 13 years, only then transferred it to Athens.
It was still in 1834, and today Nafplion is simple and moderate in its ambitions, attracting attention with the originality of the Old City, the sea, the sun and the well-groomed narrow streets.
Of course, my “sketches” convey only a part of what the Peloponnese is famous for. I did not even mention that he is considered the birthplace of Hercules and the Olympic Games (the city of Olympia). Sparta, whose 300 Spartans with King Leonid held back the army of Persians in the gorge of Thermopylae, is also the Peloponnese. Its nature is no less impressive than archaeological wonders; Peloponnese is a great place for any kind of holiday. And the wine Retsina, a unique product of Greece, the most delicious, they say, it is here …
Having been here, you will see, hear, open your “raisins”, I am sure! Because the real journey is always much brighter and more interesting than any story about it.