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Impressions of Korinthia and Argolis, Greece

The land between Korinthos and Nafplion, in the North Eastern corner of the Peloponnesos, can rightfully be considered the historical core of continental Greece. Location names like Mykines, Argos, Tiryns and Assini are mentioned by Homer in his Iliad and refer to a bronze age civilisation, much older than the Mycenaean King Agamemnon's legendary siege of Troy; Greek mythology would be told differently if Herakles had not been from Tiryns and if he had not slain a monstrous Lion in yet another Argolid city close-by, Nemea; classical Greek theatre would not have reached us with the same splendour if it had not been for the performances at early Hellenistic Epidavros; the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire and throughout Europe, would definitely have developed quite otherwise if Paul had not come to teach the Corinthians; the fortresses of Akrokorinthos and Nafpion's Palamidi hill are examples of the bridge between East and West, brought to Hellas by the crusaders of the 13th and 14th centuries and, later, the Venetians, even if they did so in a role of thoroughly disliked occupants. And, until Athens was liberated from Ottoman rule, the city of Nafplion served as the interim capital of the newly independent Greek State.

As we also take in the beautiful, irregular coast line of Korinthia and Argolis, and we cross the inner land wrapped in the colours of endless groves of orange and olive trees and covered with the scent of thyme and wild oregano, it comes to mind that this region is not just for its history the quintessence of Hellas.

Before visiting the place of your choice:

The Akropolis of Argos lies squeezed between the contemporary city and the slopes of the hill on which the Larissa Castle was built. The ancient remains range from the Archaic 6th century BC to the Byzantine 10th century AD. A monumental rock-hewn staircase of ceremony gives access to the sanctuary of Apollo Deiradiotes, where an oracle of priestesses was active, quite important for the effective influence it had on the political choices of the then powerful city-State of Argos. Structural repairs dated in post-classical and Roman times confirm that the Apollo sanctuary and its oracle were still in use in the 2nd century AD, when the Lonely-Planet-reporter-of-Antiquity Pausanias came by. Near the remains of the Apollo sanctuary, there are also the foundations and lower structures of a sanctuary for Athena Oxyderkes, or the clear-sighted Athena. Who knows, maybe her clear-sightedness suggested a healthy dose of scepticism regarding the oracle show exhibited by her half-brother Apollo. Next to Athena's sanctuary, the remains of a Byzantine basilica of the 5th century, rebuilt in the 10th century.

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