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Corinth

Corinth and Acrocorinth

Corinth

Corinth is on the narrow isthmus between the Saronic and Corinthian gulfs connecting the Peleponnese to the rest of Greece, although now it is split by the Corinth Canal. The modern town of corinth isn't really worth visiting, but to the south of the town is ancient Corinth a huge well preserved archeological site. Looming over ancient Corinth is Acrocorinth. a huge fortress citadel that towers over the town and nearby countryside.

Ancient Corinth

About 7km south-west of the modern town is the huge archeological site of Ancient Corinth. Corinth was one of the most powerful city states of ancient Greece, founders of or great cities such as Syracuse in Sicily and Kerkera in Corfu. It gained its power from its location transporting goods across the isthmus. They even had a slipway were by they could unload ships and pull them across the isthmus between the Saronic and Corinthian gulfs instead of sailing around the Peleponnese.

Corinth, mosaics from the museum

Corinth was destroyed by the Romans in 146BC but re-built a century later becoming the largest and most important Roman town in Greece with a population of 750,000. Corinth was a lot more extensive than the archeological site you see today.

Corinth was visited by St Paul in AD52 and attacked the licentious life style of the Corinthians with two letters.

Corinth, Temple of Octavia

There are plenty of things to see at the archeological site, the main ones are.

The Temple of Octavia dedicated to the sister of the then Emperor Augustus, nephew of Julius Caesar.

The Theatre was quite large and used for Gladiatorial contests among other things. In the 3rd century AD the theatre was modified so that water could be piped in to the arena and mock sea battles could take place! Just up from the theatre is the Odeion, this much smaller theatre was funded by the wealthy Athenian Herodes Atticus.

Corinth, Temple of Apollo

The Temple of Apollo is one of the very few monuments from the Ancient Greek city that survived the Roman destruction in 146BC as it was preserved when the town was re-built in 44AD.

The Lechaion way is a marble road that ran from the port of Lechaion to the Propylaion (gate way) and staircase in the city - the stair case and propylaion still stand.

The Glauke Fountain was originally built in the 6th century BC and isn't really built but carved out of the rock, it contains four pools inside. The fountain is named after Glauke, the daughter of King Kreon of Corinth. According to the myths she was poisoned by Medea, wife of Jason (Argonauts), who was jealous of her and Jason. Glauke started to burn up from the poison and so threw herself into the fountain.

Corinth, Fountains

Other parts of ancient Corinth are the Bema (platform) - it was here where St Paul was accused of sacrilege by the Jews, north and south stoas, public latrines, fountains, basilica, shops, houses and a Bouleuterion.

The museum is south of the Odeon and contains thousands of finds from the site including some amazing mosaics.

Acrocorinth

Acrocorinth is about 4km from ancient Corinth perched on the summit of a mountain, since Roman times Acrocorinth has been occupied re-fortified by every occupying army.

Corinth, Acrocorinth

The entrance to Acrocorinth is at the west through three different gates where the natural defences are weakest. The lowest gate is from the Turks, the middle one is from the Franks and the highest is Byzantine.

From Acrocorinth you can see up to 60km (37 miles) over the surrounding countryside, and made Acrocorinth vital for defending the Peleponnese. The walls of Acrocorinth enclose roughly 60 acres of land, inside you can see signs of all its occupants; Turkish minarets and mosques, Frankish chapels, Byzantine and Venetian terraces. In the north-west of the summit there are even the foundations of a temple dedicated to Aphrodite from ancient Greece.

The Corinth Canal

The Corinth Canal was built between 1882 and 1893 and is 23m (75ft) wide, it cuts through the isthmus joining the Saronic gulf to the Corinthian gulf to cut out sailing around the Peleponnese. Now in the modern age many of the super tankers couldn't fit through the canal and find no problem sailing around the peleponnese.

Corinth, Corinth Canal

The idea of cutting a canal across the isthmus isn't a new thing, it was first thought of by the ancient Greeks but never actually done. The Romans had a go with the Emperor Nero having the first dig with a golden pic, once a gain this was never completed. There is a road bridge across the canal and you can get some great views of it from here.