Nafplio is located 35 km from Ancient Epidavros. Whatever the name or how you say it Nafplion is the historical Jewel of the Peloponnese.
A history full of myth, occupancy and revolutions. The name is in honour of Poseidons son Nauplis and the Palamidi Fortress is named after Palamis the local hero of the Trojan War. Palamis was also known for supposedly inventing weights and measures and the Greek Alphabet.
The actual area of Nafplion has been inhabited since ancient times, but not much is know from then although Palaeolithic and Neolithic objects have been found near by. Nafplion during the Greek Classical era again seems not to have played a part of any significance and even Pausinas the famous traveller didn’t have anything to say about the town. It does though come into it’s own during medieval times and played a major part in the history and making of today’s Greece.
During these times different occupying forces have left marks of culture and architecture in Nafplion giving it a cosmopolitan atmosphere. In 1377 the Venetians arrived and during this time, in the mid 1400’s the Bourtzi Castle was built.The Turks captured the town from the Venetians in 1542 AD and turned Nafplion into a major port for the Greek mainland in the import and export industry. Nafplion was retaken by the Venetians once again and during this time the Palamidi Castle was built and the Acronafplia fortress reconstructed. Their hold over Nafplion though only lasted for a few decades and was then put back into the hands of the Turks.
Over the next few hundred years Nafplion flourished under Turkish rule until the Greek War of Independence in 1821. Nafplion was liberated a year later and due to its strong participation during the revolution was named as the first capital of the newly liberated free Greece in 1823. Kapodistrias was the newly appointed Prime Minister until his assassination in 1831. King Otto arrived in Nafplion and decided to move the capital to Athens in 1834.Over the next century Nafplion begins a calm and unobtrusive era until the next major event which was the arrival of tourism in the 1960’s.
The ancient citadel of Mycenae is located in the North-East part of Peloponnese in Argolis, about 1.5 hours away from Athens, and it is an imposing site on top of a rocky hill.
Mycenae was the center of power in the Late Bronze age (1600-1100 BCE), and the excavated ruins that sculpt the top of the rocky hill protected the royal families inside the famous Cyclopean walls. Legend has it that Mycenae was founded by Perseus, and the entire culture of mainlad Greece during the Bronze age was named Mycenaean during the late Helladic period. With its legents, art, and ideas, Mycenean culture reached its zenith from 1300 BCE until 1100 BCE.
Mycenaean culture is the source of ancient epics and legends such as the dynasty of Atreids, the labours of Hercules, the Trojan war, the Thyestian Feast, and Agamemnon’s tragic life and death. The surrounding area of Argolis was dominated by many different citadels similar to Myceneae, and during the Bronze Age they took advantage of the geopoliticaly important location to accumulate considerable wealth and poser.
The ruins of the Mycenaean Acropolis themselves are a delight. The awe inspiring “Lion Gates” (the earliest known piece of monumental sculpture in the European continent) take you to the interior of the acropolis, and a steep path leads your climb through several ancient buildings and pathways, towards the palace where Agamemnon was murdered by his wife Klytemenestra and her lover after he returned victorious from the Trojan war.
One of the most impressive features of the citadel is the Grave Circle, which contains six royal shaft graves. It is located just inside the Lion Gates to the right, and it contrasts beautifully with the angular designs of all the other adjasent structures. A great number of Kterismata (objects buried alongside the dead) and gold death masks were unearthed from this grave site and they are now exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. All that remains today of the acropolis are the building foundations, and the immense wall that crowns the top of the hill.
Nothing around the site remains today to speak of the human dramas that have taken place three thousand years ago on this bold hill. The ruinous walls remain silent about how an entire civilization managed to dominate from such desolate rock, and how events twisted and escalated to the point where a mighty coalition of city-states set sail for Troy and fought for years before they were able to call themselves victorious. There is an eerie silence about the place that fails to speak of the tragedy that unfolded in the heart of the palace and found Agamemnon – the mighty leader of the Greeks against the Trojans – murdered by his wife and her lover.
Once in Mycenae, you must visit the “Treasury of Atreus” which is a site on another hill opposite the palace just beyond the general parking lot. It is easily accessible from the road and many people opt to walk from one place to the other.
The Treasury of Atreus is a beautiful Tholos Tomb, and is also known as the “Tomb of Agamemnon”. It was built around 1250 BC, and it is an impressive monument worth visiting. You can enter by showing the ticket you bought at Mycenae. The size of the tomb and the masonry work is awe inspiring. Despite its name, no treasures were found in the tomb as it has been pillaged in ancient times, but there is one item that could not be stolen: the tomb’s aesthetic awe inspiring appearance.
Agistri is only 55 minutes from Piraeus and at a stone’s throw from the island of Aegina.
It is a small heaven on earth situated at the Saronic Gulf, smothered in plants and trees, with pine trees “touching” its crystal blue waters. The island’s four communities (Megalochori – Skala – Limenaria – Metochi) are ideal for wonderful summer holidays and for relaxing, calm weekends.
Agistri along with Aegina and the neighboring islands consisted of the Kingdom of Aegina of the mythical King Aeakos. According to Homer, Agistri was called Kekrifalia, which means “adorned head” and appears as an ally of Aegina during the Trojan War. Other historians who mention the island are Thucydides and Diodorus. Kadoudi, Megaritsa and Kodari are of archaeological interest. Throughout the whole of the island’s west coast there are antiquities situated just below the sea surface.
There are various archaeological findings in Megalochori at the Cultural Center.These findings indicate that the island was first inhibited at least starting from the 5th century B.C. by Peloponnesians who came to the island. In general, concerning the island’s history not much has been recorded by historians. At times, in its more recent history, roughly in the 14th century, Agistri received many settlers from the coasts of Peloponnese, situated right across it. Later on, Agistri became a part of the Ottoman Empire. At the end of the 17th century, the inhabitants left the island, due to frequent raiding by pirates.
Poros is the island of peace, romance and jauntiness.
It is overgrown with pine trees which reach the rugged shores or the sandy beaches. The residents of Poros are like all islands, spontaneous, decent and hospitable.At the center of town you can find the archaeological museum, the library, reception rooms, and on the beach there’s an open air cinema. The houses by the sea are big
and neoclassical in contrast to the simple two – floored houses in Brinia, Mylos, Pounta and Kasteli.
Poros by boat its Historic Clock is imposing from the distance on the highest top of the hill, among prickly pears and pine trees.
According to the ancient travel – writer Pausania Poros is comprised of two islands Sphairia and Kalavria (the name Kalavria means “gentle Breeze”). Kalavria at first was offered to the god Apollo and he made it over to the god Poseidon in return for Delphi. Kalavria is quite larger than Sphairia and is planted all over. Sphairia is a volcanic rock. In mythology times Aithra founded in Sphairia the temple of Athena Apatoria in honor of her encounter with the god Poseidon. In the north part of the island there are the ruins of Poseidon’s Temple, which was built in 520BC. The main Temple was built in Doric style, though some of its columns were Ionian.
Nearly the Temple there was the built up area of Kalavria. Such was the place’s importance that it functioned as the center for the Amphictyonic League, a voluntary “cooperative” of city-states in both civil and religious matters, which included Hermione, Epidauros, Aigina, Prassies, Athens and Orhomenos.
The town which is the centre of the whole island, is built amphitheatrically around the port.
It looks glamorous like an art-paint, with grey, white and blue colours above the blue of the sea, an exemplar of architectonics and aesthetics. Right and left from the entrance of the port, there are the Parapets with the Canons, which protected the town. At the left side of the port, after the statue of A. Miaoulis, we can find the Harbour Authorities of Hydra, which are accommodated in the old, stonebuilt powder magazine. Next to the Harbour Authorities is the marble Archive Building of Hydra and further we find the house of Tsamados family, which accommodates the famous Sea Captain Academy.
In the interior of the Island have been found traces of ancient living quarters, according to chaeological excavations that took place in the location of “Episkopi”. The first residents of the island where called Dryopes. Hydra was used as a service station for the Greek navy, and as a result, it starred in the sea commerce with neighbouring countries and in communications.
Towards the end of the 18th century, Hydra was bloomming in export trade and commerce. It was that time which people of Hydra took advantage of the English-French war and earned for themselves great profits, by controling the sea commerce. Important was the help of Hydra to the liberation of Greece in 1821. During the war, Hydra was in full alert and ready for battle with the turkish troop.
It had got 130 battleships of 30.000 ton each, 5.400 soldiers and 2.400 cannons. The Captain of turks Hibraim called Hydra “Little England”. The Hydrian fleet dominated the sea during the seven year war with the turks, contributing this way to the liberation of Greece, sacrificing many human lifes, battleships and money. Hydra contributed to the Nation by giving to Greece one President, five Prime Ministers and Ministers. George Koundouriotis, who served as President of the Executive council during the Greek revolution. He was also council member during the Presidency of Kapodistrias and Othonas and also served as Prime Minister and Minister of Navy. Antonios Kriezis, Prime Minister of Greece. Dimitrios Voulgaris, seven times Prime Minister. Athanasios Miaoulis, three times Prime Minister. Petros Voulgaris, Prime Minister.
Archaeological findings indicate that Spetses has been inhabited since the Early Bronze Age (also called first Hellenic Era, about 2500 BC).
During the 15th century, the island’s population increased with people coming from the coast of the Peloponnese but could not form settlements because of the frequent pirate attacks. The first settlements took place only around the 17th century. The very first medieval settlement was Kastelli, built on the north-west side of the island and surrounded by thick walls. Once the island was settled, it began to develop a great marine power and tradition which is still the trademark of Spetses.
The 18th century was the beginning of the golden era for Spetses which saw its shipbuilding activity rise and its fleet becoming very powerful. The impressive merchant fleet of Spetses was converted into warships that played a crucial role during the Greek Revolution against the Turkish yoke. Spetses played an important role during the revolution of the Peloponnese, in 1769, by taking part in the revolt, known as the Orlov’s revolt, with numerous fully equipped warships. To punish the inhabitants of the island for helping the revolutionary revolt of the Peloponnese, the Turks organised a punitive expedition and completely destroyed the fortified town of Kastelli.
That didn’t stop the Spetsiots to help the revolutionary Lambros Katsionis in 1790 and to suffer again from Ottoman punishment. The patriotism and courage of the Spetsiots was unbeatable and immortal, therefore they were the first to respond to the revolutionary call in 1821. Spetses, as one of the three important naval islands (along with Hydra and Psara), dedicated its powerful fleet and its soul to the fight against the Ottoman. The Spetsiot ships participated to the liberation of Nafplio, of Monemvassia, of Mani and Messolongi as well as in the siege and conquest of Tripolitsa, and went in Crete to fight the Egyptian fleet, which was allied with the Turks.
These powerful ships were also used to transport weapons, munitions and supplies to other islands that joined the Revolution. Those ships were the main cause of the success during the decisive battle against the Ottoman fleet in the Argolic Gulf. This historical event is still commemorated today in Spetses, where a reconstitution of the battle is organised in the main harbour of the town every 8th of September. One of the most famous heroes of the Greek Revolution was the Spetsiote female captain Lascarina Bouboulina who took the command of her husband’s fleet when he died, and became an active member of the “Filiki Etairia”, an underground revolutionary organisation organising the revolt. She fought in many important battles and spent most of her fortune to finance the war. Other Spetsiote ship owners and wealthy merchant participated and helped financing the Revolution.
The most famous of them are Hatzigiannis-Mexis, Cosmas Barbatsis, captain Tsoupas, captain Panou, captain Koutsis and captain Lambrou. Spetses maintained its prosperity and power for several years after the Greek Revolution but started to decline at the beginning of the 20th century, when Piraeus which its place in merchant development, activity and trading. The two World Wars brought great poverty and misery on the island and forced a part of the population to move abroad. The island of Spetses recovered from its decline by quickly developing again thanks to the growth of tourism which started in the early 1900s. This is the moment when the island gained the role of a popular resort for the middle classes, attracted by the education and wealth of the prominent families. The classy and cosmopolitan image of the island was increased by Sotiris Anargyros, a repatriated Spetsiote who became very rich in America, and who used part of his money to build a road and a reservoir, the first luxurious hotel of the island (Posidonio Hotel), a prestigious private boarding school, the Anargyrios and Korgialeneios School, and financed the reforestation and conservation programme of the thick pine forest of Spetses. Today, tourism is one of the main resources of the island. It is nevertheless leaving the local traditions and habits intact, since they are strongly and proudly maintained by the inhabitants.