Ancient Corinth, Epidavros and Mycenae, Peloponnese Peninsula 26 to 27 June 2013
After leaving Athens (Athena) at about 3.30pm after our fridge was working well, we headed for Korinthos which is the start of the Peloponnese Peninsula which boasts a wealth of ancient and medieval ruins, from the Bronze Age Mycenae to the Bazantine town of Mystras. The next few days was going to be spent seeing were many, many people “have walked before”.
stop was Ancient Corinth, however the gates were closed at 3.00pm and it was 4.30. Even though it’s summer here and the archaeological sites are said to be open to 6.00 or 7.00pm, we have found they are all closed by 3.00pm. Is this the effects of the GFC? We have seen evidence of abandoned unfinished buildings, camping sites with very few people, and some business owners have told us things are very tough. The only part of Greece that didn’t seem to complain was Santorini.
So while we were at Ancient Corinth we decided to look all around the fenced perimeter and got a feel of the old city which was built in 146 BC by the Romans. We saw the
old Theatre, Temple of Apollo, the remains of that Basilica and the Agora which was the city central area. The site showed signs of Byzantine, Turkish, Frankish and Venetian occupation.
We then drove down Highway 7, through Nafplio to our camp site at Lefka Beach, Dreponon. What a fantastic beach. The areas for parking caravans or tents was all terraced. We hooked up the power and then went down and had a swim in the Argolikos Kolpos. The temperature of the water was beautiful…even for me!! And floating was incredibly easy. We actually sat in the water with our shoulders and head out as the water was so salty.
After dinner, we went into the bar and had a drink and did some computer work. WiFi was working well. We met some people from Manchester (retired teachers) and chatted to them for a while. They were on their 4th
trip to Greece. With the beautiful weather Greece has we could understand why the English came to Greece so frequently!!
We watched another beautiful sunset as we were facing west out over the water.
Next morning another swim was on the agenda – wonderful. Fresh bread was
available at the restaurant/reception.
We got away by 9.30am and headed east to Epidavros. This site goes back to prehistoric times as there was plenty of water from healing springs so the sanctuary of Asklepios was established. After 1000 BC, Apollo displaced the prehistoric group, so it became known as Apollo Maleatas. This major sanctuary continued and from the 6th
C BC was a prosperous healing sanctuary. Temples, an amazingly preserved Theatre which is used today, a Stadium, gymnasium, baths, and priest’s residence were all built from this period to AD 551.
The most notable building was the Stoa which was where all the sick people went to be healed. We learned that a Stoa was always a long rectangular building with multiple columns. They usually have statues decorating the building and in some situations they have Caryatids (figures of women) instead of columns.
Through that period, there were eras when battles followed by plundering of all buildings occurred as well as 2 major earth quakes before the site was abandoned. Excavation in 1879-1928 uncovered what we saw today.
When we visited the theatre there was a metal disk in the centre of the stage and
we dropped a coin on it. The sound was heard from everywhere. I then walked up to the top and Tom spoke to me in a normal, quiet voice from below and I could hear him clearly. The acoustics were incredible. We keep thinking how all these massive stone buildings were constructed without the technology and machinery we have today.
Each of these archaeological sites often has a museum built on site to house the best and most valuable ‘finds’. This gives you an idea of what the buildings actually looked like. The finest of carvings are also protected indoors. Epidavros was no exception. It housed many of the fine statues, freezes and jewelry, storage and cooking pots etc, but the extra find at this site was all the medical/health instruments. Interesting.
We then drove north through Mikines to an ancient site of Mycenae. There were mainly foundations of buildings but there was a Treasury of Atreus which is a 14th
Century tomb that was conical in shape and with a high, narrow entrance. Many valuable artifacts and gifts were found in this tomb. Inside the archeological site we saw where the city’s nobles were entombed in shaft
graves, in grave circles. WE also saw the remains of the Royal Place and the Secret Stairway which used to lead under the Citadel and the 13th
C Lion Gate, the grand entrance to Mycenae.
It was another hot day so walking around in the middle of the day we certainly needed the sunburn cream and hat. Tom & I have got quite a bit of colour up though.
We were now off further south down the Peninsula to see Mystras which was near Sparti.
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