Argolis – Nauplio

Argolis – Nauplio

No visit to Greece is complete without a trip to Myceneae, Epidavros, Nafplio and the Corinth Canal in the land that has been known since the dawn of history as The Argolis, a mountainous peninsula just an hour south of Athens.

The ancient city of Corinth, known at least by name from the Apostle Paul’s talks to the Corinthians in the Bible, is now famous for the Corinth Canal, one of the more impressive feats of 19th century engineering. Acrocorinth is the Acropolis of Corinth, which rises up from the ancient city. It is the largest and oldest fortress in the Peloponessos.

There are a number of shrines and temples including the Temple of Aphrodite. You can’t go to Corinth without stopping to see the site of Ancient Corinth or head southeast to the ancient site of Isthmia. Just a few miles from Corinth is the town of Loutraki which is famous for its bottled spring water which you will undoubtedly come across during one of your meals in Greece. Just beyond Corinth on the E65 which goes to Tripolis is the town of Nemea with the ancient site dedicated to the games that were held in the honor of Zeus, whose 4th Century BC temple still has three remaining columns and several more on the way to being reconstructed.

Though the city of Argos, the regional capital, is a low key, agricultural town with little to offer tourists except the lack of tourists which is an attraction in itself, it still makes a good base for seeing the area though most people will prefer Nafplio or Tolo because they are on the sea. There are interesting ruins in the area like the Roman ruins with it’s giant ampitheatre, baths and indoor theatre.

The Argolis Peninsula was the center of Greek culture from 1600 to 1100 BC under the Myceneans until the city was destroyed. The enormous stone walls of the ancient city make one wonder how anything short of a nuclear blast could harm it. Because the stones were so massive, the Greeks believed the giant Cyclops must have lifted them, thus the term ‘Cyclopean walls’. Mycenae is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece and there are several hotels and restaurants in the town of Myceneae. But most people will be happier staying in Nafplio and visiting here on the way there or back.

One of the most beautiful port towns in all of Greece, Nafplio is a collection of Venetian houses and classical mansions and the three fortresses of Palamidi, Akronafplia and the Bourtzi, which is on a small island in the bay, sort of the symbol of Nafplio. The walls of Tiryns are four kilometers north-west of Nafplio and are even more impressive than the massive walls of Mycenae. Tolon was at one time a beach paradise but has now been built up to the point where it looks like a part of Athens was plopped down on the sea.

But even so, if you need a place to stay where Nafplio and the other sites in the Argolis are within reasonable driving distance, that has a beach, good tavernas and some nightlife, Tolon may seem paradise enough despite the lack of architectural taste. Near the village of Asini, northwest of  Tolon, are the remains of Ancient Asine, including the massive walls of the acropolis, and remains of other buildings. This is one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in all of Greece and should not be missed. The theater is perhaps the most acoustically perfect in all of Greece.

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