We found this very interesting article about the Peloponnese in many different pages of VisitGreeceGr. We think that this will be a very interesting read for all the Greece Lovers and the people who love to explore, or would love to explore the Peloponnese.
A truly amazing area which has something for everyone! Amazing Beaches, Fantastic Culture, Ancient History, Mountains, Villages, Byzantine Villages, Truly everything one would like to do can be found in the Peloponnese. http://www.bestofgreece.co.uk/el/locations/best_of_peloponnese
Monuments from every period of the eventful Peloponnesian history, great archeological sites such as ancient Olympia, Epidaurus, Mycenae and Tirynth, Byzantine churches, unique settlements and amazing castles, natural beauties such as mountains, forests, rivers and caves surrounded by the sea, beautiful beaches, sandy and smooth coasts on the west – rocky and dentelated on the east, make this part of Greek land ideal for holidays, touring, sports and connecting to the history and culture. It is not accidental that especially during the summer season many tourists arrive in Peloponnese from all over the world to travel around it. Such trip is very popular and well known.
Peloponnese with its gulfs in Korinthos, Patrai, Saronic, Messinia, Argolida and Lakonia looks like a plane tree leaf and that is why it was formerly called "Morias". It has dry climate on the east, cold, snow and rich vegetation in its central and mountainous parts and rain and heat on the west.
People settled in Peloponnese from the middle Paleolithic era (circa 100.000 years B.C.). The Greek civilization began during the Copper era and after 2000 B.C. came in the area the First Greeks. Few centuries later, Mycenaeans are the center of Greek world. Excavations verify the legend of Homeric Mycenaean, while the ruins in Pylos match the references for the well known King Nestor's palace in west Peloponnese.
In 1200 B.C. Dorian and Aetoli arrive in Peloponnese and construct Korinthos, Argos and Sparta. The Olympic Games where athletes from all over Greece participate take place in Olympia every four years. After centuries Fillip the Macedonian arrives in Peloponnese and then the Romans. In 393 B.C. the Byzantines abolish the Olympic Games, in 1294 arrive the Franks and later the Turks. In 1827 after the sea battle in Navarino ends the Ottoman/Egyptian occupation and Peloponnese becomes the first part of new independent Greece.
Municipality of Korinthia
The Prefecture of Corinth is the first one that a visitor runs into, as he comes from Attica and is well-known for the great variety of choices it offers: charming massifs, beautiful coastal areas and significant archaeological sites for sightseeing. The beaches of Korinthiakos, Saronikos and Loutraki are quite developed from a tourist point of view. The arable land of Corinth is fertile and its inhabitants are also in, agriculture, cattle-breeding, poultry farming, light industry and tourism. The Corinthian raisin is famous in the region
Activities throughout the prefecture
Watching of the Akropolis Raly. Special routes pass from the mountainous regions of Ag.Theodoroi.
In Zeria, in the location “Oropedio”, there is the shelter “Zeria A” and in the location “Portes” the shelter “Zeria B”, which constitute stopovers for excursions in the beautiful mountain for every kind of activity:
Off road routes by jeep.
Excursions with Enduro bikes.
In coastal areas: swimming, aquatic sports, tennis, basket, volley ball.
The capital of the prefecture is a remarkable administrative, commercial, financial and cultural center of the region. The center of the town has wide streets, parks, squares and a picturesque harbor with fishing boats. Beautiful pedestrian walkways lure visitors for a stroll, to drink a cup of coffee and shop, whilst around the city there are monuments, museums and historical sites.
Corinth is inhabited since the Neolithic Ages, as it is evidenced by the settlement of 5000 B.C. that was discovered in the area of Korakou, while in Antiquity it was one of the biggest and greatest cities of Greece. It played a key role during the Peloponnesian War and after 200 B.C. it became the capital of the Achaean League (Achaiki Sympoliteia), whilst under Julius Ceasar’s rule it became the capital of the province of Achaia. Its medieval history is connected with its impressive fortress, the Acrocorinth (Akrokorinthos). In 1858 a strong earthquake destroyed the city, which was rebuilt with good antiseismic specifications and a good town planning plan, 9 km. north from the ancient town. In the place of Ancient Corinth there is a small, cute village, the Old Corinth. It is located 84 km W of Athens.
What to see in the city:
The pedestrian walkway of Pylarinou Zografou.
The Cathedral of St.Paul the Apostle.
The Ecclesiastical Museum.
The Historical-Folklore Museum which includes 3,500 costumes of the 18th and 19th century.
The building of Law Court.
The statue of the Archbishop Damaskinos (1890-1949).
Web site of the Prefecture of Corinth: www.korinthia.gr
"Halkyon (Alkyonides) Days of Discourse and Art”, in February.
"Pavlia”, 24-28 June.
Fairs of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, on 15 August, and of Agioi Anargyroi, on 1st July, in Ancient Corinth.
Remains of Nero's canal project in 1881
Several rulers in antiquity dreamed of cutting a canal through the Isthmus. The first to propose such an undertaking was the tyrant Periander in the 7th century BC. He abandoned the project due to technical difficulties, and instead constructed a simpler and less costly overland portage road, named Diolkos. According to another theory, Periander feared that a canal would have robbed Corinth of its dominating role as entrepôt for goods.Remnants of the Diolkos still exist next to the modern canal.
The Diadoch Demetrius (336–283 BC) planned to construct a canal as a means to improve his communication lines, but dropped the plan after his surveyors, miscalculating the levels of the adjacent seas, feared heavy floods.
The historian Suetonius tells us that the Roman Dictator Julius Caesar (r. 49-44 BC) projected, among other grandiose engineering schemes, a canal through the Isthmus. He was assassinated before he could bring the scheme to fruition.
The Roman Emperor Nero (r. 54–68 A.D.) launched an excavation, personally breaking the ground with a pickaxe and removing the first basket-load of soil, but the project was abandoned when he died shortly afterwards. The Roman workforce, consisting of 6000 Jewish prisoners of war, started digging 40–50 m (130–160 ft) wide trenches from both sides, while a third group at the ridge drilled deep shafts for probing the quality of the rock (which were reused in 1881 for the same purpose). As the modern canal follows the same course as Nero's, no remains have survived.
The modern attempt at construction began in the 1870s following the successful opening of the Suez Canal. A French company was hired to build it, but due to financial difficulties, the company ceased work after only the two ends had been dug. Finally, in 1881 the Hungarian architects István Türr and Béla Gerster, who had also been involved with early surveys for the Panama Canal, were hired to plan a new canal. A Greek company led by Andreas Syngros (the main contractor being Antonis Matsas) ultimately took over the project and completed it in 1893.
It is prominently featured in the 1967 spy film La Route de Corinthe where an antagonist, after being pushed over the high cliff of the canal cut, hits the wall several times during his fall before ultimately entering the water.
On April 7, 2010, Australian daredevil Robbie Maddison performed a motocross jump over the canal.
Municipality of Arcadia
The Prefecture of Arcadia is geographically located at the center of Peloponnesus, has large mountains (Maenalus, Parnon and many others) and is washed by the Argolikos bay and the Myrtoan Sea. It presents remarkably varied natural contours , landscapes of unparalleled beauty, areas of extreme archaeological interest and historic locations. It was first inhabited by the Arcadians, one of the most ancient tribes of Peloponnesus, who created great cities.
Activities throughout the prefecture
Ski at the top of Ostrakina, in Maenalus. It has 6 ski runs, 3 sliding lifts, chalet, ski and snowboard schools (information: 27960-22.227).
Climbing in the location “Plateau of Ostrakina”, where there is a shelter (information: 27960-22.227, Hellenic Climbing Society of Tripolis: 2710-232.243).
Mountain bike in very beautiful trips in Maenalus and Parnon.
Motocross. The region is known to all those who love the sport.
Rafting and kayak in the region of ancient Gortyna, in the bridge of Atsiholos and in the rivers Lousios and Ladonas.
Trecking in the 32 national path, which is a branch of the Ε4 European path. It starts from Vitina, passes through Zigovisti, Dimitsana, Paleochori, the monastery Philosophou, the “Secret School”(kryfo scholio), the Agios Ioannis Prodromos monastery and Karitena and ends up in Gythio.
Canyoning in the riverside areas of Lousios.
Swimming in the indented beaches with the deep blue waters.
Excursions with enduro bikes
Municipality of Laconia
Major tourist destination, which combines well-known sights, such as the medieval Mystra, the tower city of Monemvasia and the tower houses of Mani, with landscapes of exceptional natural beauty, such as the Diros caves, Mt.Taygetus and Cape Tenaro.
It was already inhabited from the Paleolithic and the Neolithic periods, whilst later the tribes of Leleges, Achaeans and Iones were settled. The Dorians arrive in 1100 B.C. and make Sparta as their capital, which for centuries, along with Athens, constitute one of the most powerful cities-states of Ancient Greece, until its conquest by the Romans and, later on, by the Francs and the Turks.
Be the knight or princess of your childhood fairytales in the Byzantine town of Mystrás!
Visit the mystical tower town of Mystrás, and let yourself be captivated by this destination’s medieval splendour.
Wander around the castle city and sense through the silence the city's sheer grandeur: the Palace of the Despots (Anáktora), the Houses of Laskaris and Frangopoulos, the beautiful Cathedral of Saint Dimitrios and the impressive Monasteries of Our Lady Pantánassa, and of Οur Lady Perivleptos.
Stroll leisurely through the Kástro (the Frankish Castle), the Upper Town and the Lower Town whose architecture creates a dreamy setting. With your mind’s eye visualise Frankish princes and princesses living in palatial mansions; foreign delegations arriving bearing gifts, and peasants, pilgrims or traders filling the bustling streets.
Mystrás’ historical importance is tremendous. In the 14th century Mystrás became the seat of the Despotate of Moreas, whereas in 1448 the last emperor of Byzantium, Constantine XI Palaeologos, was crowned here. A visit to the Archaeological Museum will help you get a deep insight into the rich history of the area. Come and live the dream!
Unveil a medieval mystery!
Monemvasiá, founded by the Byzantines in the sixth century, is a breathtaking medieval tower town located on the south-eastern coast of the Peloponnese.
Take the opportunity to explore this mystical stone-built settlement, nestled at the edge of a big rock by the sea, and immerse yourself in a unique medieval atmosphere!
Upon entering the castle, your journey through time begins.
Peer into the history of the fortress –the so-called “Gibraltar of the East”–, which was occupied by the Byzantines, the Crusaders, the Venetians, and the Turks in the past.
Wander around its narrow cobbled streets, and admire the beautifully restored stone buildings. Taste culinary delights at a fine restaurant on the roof of a tower house, and spend a romantic night at a stone-built tower. The “Kástro” (castle) is divided into two parts, the lower and upper town.
In the lower part of the town, explore the ruins of the historic buildings situated there – among which the Muslim Mosque, a preserved 16th century building housing the Archaeological Museum–, as well as the magnificent Byzantine churches.
In the (uninhabited) upper part of the town, you will come across the remains of old Byzantine buildings. A rocky twisty path leads you to the Fortress of Youlás offering an outstanding view of the city!
Studying the forces that in passed times built structures and forms, we awake in our modern self its most real world. Aris Konstantinidis: a prominent Greek architect of modernism
Architectural Heritage preserves the rich diversity of cultural changes through space and time. Through its monuments history is transformed into powerful, living images. Traditional settlements are not just residential complexes; they are “vessels of life”, according to the Greek architect Aris Konstantinidis. Featuring high quality architecture, these centuries-old residencies are also very important local tourism resources closely tied to the natural environment. In this way, Protection coexists with Development striking a sustainable balance between the two, teaching us that the relationship with tradition should be the one of Rebirth.
Traditional settlements in Greece form an integral part of the Greek culture and heritage. As dynamic creations of real life –and not as ruined monuments– they are beautifully restored and carefully arranged to shelter tourist accommodations (guest houses, museums, restaurants), or other public uses (community offices, handweaving workshops, etc.). Having assumed their former glory, these old residencies are part of Greece’s natural scenery: interventions in the static structure are limited to the minimum necessary; new equipments are harmonically adapted to the original architectural structure; modern interventions are “absorbed” by the strong traditional character of the buildings; heating systems are adjusted to local climatic conditions; fireplaces are used in mountain areas instead of electrical heating units; floors are paved by local stone or ceramic slates; and pin wood is selectively used in wooden interior fittings.
Váthia is located in the southern part of Laconian Máni; it belongs to the group of settlements called "Inner Villages" (Mésa Horiá). On the top of a 200m high hill, Váthia is a dense, stone-built settlement consisting of 144 buildings grouped into four distinct neighbourhoods. The architectural style of the buildings and the village's spatial organisation reflect the struggle between Máni families competing to settle on the hilltop, Váthia’s dominant strategic point during the medieval times.
The main buildings architecture reflects different time periods: (1) one and two-storey old Máni houses, constructed before 1840; (2) two, three and four-storey “tower-houses” built during the 1840-1870 period; and (3) one and two-storey “modern houses” built during the 1890-1915 period.
As you walk through the village’s cobbled paths, you realize that each neighbourhood is organised as a self-governing unit, encompassing a war tower, a church, fortified dwellings, private streets, and “dark” meeting points, called “roúyes”.
With the mind’s eye, visualise the armed clashes fighting to defend their territory and rise to power. Decipher the code: The densely structured neighbourhoods and the characteristically high, stonework buildings express this fierce desire for control.
As history meets architecture, the starkness of the rugged landscape pampers our senses: ancient olive trees and wild, endemic, flowers grow on the slopes of the hill; imposing rocky mountains dominate the area; rough midnight blue sea reaches the shores; unexplored bays and sharp curves form Máni's spectacular coastal scenery.
Short sightseeing excursions will take you to Areópolis, the capital of Máni, where stone buildings are also renovated; to the Diros caves, a spectacular –and still unexplored– natural site, one of the earliest inhabited places in Greece; or to Yeroliménas, the tourist port of Máni. Further to the southernmost point of mainland Greece, Cape Taínaron is located; your spiritual quest will lead you here, to the cave of Hades, the god of the dead, and the ancient temple of sea god Poseidon. This memorable trip concludes with a visit to Gýtheion, and the isle of Kranái: here, the Tzanetákis-Grigorákis restored tower, symbol of the Greek War of Independence, hosts the Historical and Ethnological Museum of Mani.
Municipality of Ilia
The Prefecture of Elia combines mountain and sea and it has notable holiday settlements, with thick sand, deep blue waters and pine trees that reach up to the sea, elements that make a unique landscape for holidays, sun and swimming, while the most important archaeological sites (Olympia, Ilida) attract tourists from all over the world.
The ancient city Elis had the oversight of the Olympic games and was once the center of the region during ancient times. After the siege by the Francs (1210), Elia became the center of the Principality of Moreos and enjoyed great prosperity.
In the western Peloponnese, in the "Valley of Gods", lies the most celebrated sanctuary of ancient Greece, and the birthplace of the most important athletic mega-event of all times; the Olympic Games. Olympia is one of the most well known tourist destinations in Greece, and one of the most powerful brand names worldwide.
Olympia is easily accessible from other areas of interest of Greece. It is less than 4 hours away from Athens and only 1 hour from Patras port, or Kalamata airport. There are numerous daily buses and trains that connect Athens to Olympia. Another option for getting to Olympia from Athens is to take one of the many sightseeing tours available out of Athens.
Experience living history through the priceless, but mainly free of charge offerings of the area
The visitor can walk though the impressive ruins of the area where athletes trained and run in the ancient stadium; just as the ancient Olympians did after their victory 3000 years ago. They can also visit the museum and get the chance to see some unbelievable sculptures such as the sculpted decoration of the temple of Zeus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the famous Hermis of Praxiteles and the statue of Nike of Paionios.
Visitors can also enjoy festivals such as the Ancient Olympia International Festival and the Alfios River Eco-festival, where they can explore the magnificent natural environment of the Alfios River, Kato Samiko’s unspoiled beach that is only 18km away or enjoy the natural Kaiafas Thermal Spa. They can also have the option of taking part in activities such as walking along the promenade, and sports such as biking, rafting, kayak, kite-surf, etc.
Olympia can also become your base for your ventures to the border region. It is only 33km from Katakolo port and village, 30km from the Temple of Apollo Epikourios, 30km from the Temple of Aphrodite, 57km from Ancient Ilida, 60km from Chlemoutsi Castle and many others.
Everyone can visit Olympia. Olympia Hoteliers offer quality rooms, for a comfortable stay in a peaceful area and at affordable rates. Do not miss the chance to win a free one-night stay in luxury accommodation by participating in the global campaign of Ancient Olympia. Visit www.BecomeOlympian.com and with a few clicks, the trip to Ancient Olympia can become even closer. The contest will have 7 winners each week, until the end of 2011.
Visiting the city of Olympia will become one of the most memorable experiences you can ever have in Greece.
Top 10 Museums and Sites
Olympia Archaeological Site
Archaeological Museum of Olympia
History of the (ancient) Olympic Games Museum
Museum of the Modern Olympic Games
Pier de Coubertin's Monument
Temple of Apollo Epikourios
Temple of Aphrodite
Chlemoutsi medieval Castle
Top 10 Culture and Festivals
Ancient Olympia Festival
Olympia International Film Festival for Children & Young People
Alfios river Eco-festival
Andritsena traditional village
Monastery of Sepetou
Ancient Ilida Festival
Chlemoutsi Castle Music Festival
The Andravida horse show
Local feasts ( panigiria)
Monastery of Kremasti
Top 10 Nature and Sports
Activities in Olympia valley
Kato Samiko Beach
Kaiafas Thermal Spa
Lagoon of Kotychi & Strofilia Forest
Katakolo port and village
Municipality of Achaia
The Prefecture of Achaia, one of the largest of the Peloponnesus region, in terms of its area and population, is full with remarkable mountainous and coastal landscapes. Here one can find the mountains Panachaikos, Helmos and Erymanthos as well as some of the most beautiful beaches of the Corinthian Bay. Achaia is one of the most historical regions of Peloponnesus and the coastal gateway of Greece towards Europe.
Activities throughout the prefecture
Climbing and hiking in Panachaikos, in the location “Psarthi”, where there is the shelter “S.Gerokostopoulos” (information: -Patras (the Peloponnese): In Helmos, in the location “Diaselo Avgou”, you will find the shelter “Leontopoulos” (information: The Kalavryta Climbing, Skiing and Mountaineering Society 26920-22.611). Several outings in mountainous regions are organized from here.
Ski and snowboard. In Helmos, in the location “Vathia Laka”, a ski resort is operating with 12 runs, 5 sliding and 2 overhead lifts, a skiing school, restaurant and coffee houses (information: 26920-24.451-2).
Paragliding, near Kalavryta, where there are fields for take offs.
Climbing, in the trailing fields of Alepochori, Spartia, Santomeri and Kalogria (information: -Patras (the Peloponnese):
Excursions with Enduro bikes, in the mountainous routes of Panachaikos
History and Tradition…
Visit the historic town of Kalavrita, the most exciting winter destination of Peloponnese built on the slopes of Mt. Helmos!
A dreamy setting with picturesque squares, stone-paved streets and cute little houses welcomes the romantic souls! The trademark of Kalavrita is its small train, the “Odontotos” (a rare example of a fully functional cog railway). Its 22 km journey from Kalavrita to Diakofto is one of the most spectacular rack & pinion rail trips! The narrow gauge tracks follow the Vouraikos River through tunnels, over water-falls, along cliffs and through forests of pine and oleander.
The tragic history of Kalavrita reminds us the darkest side of human nature; in 1943 German occupying troops murdered all male population over the age of 14 and burned the town…Visit the memorial built to honour the dead, a large white cross on the top of the hill where the villagers had been executed, as well as the Municipal Museum of the Holocaust of Kalavrita where you can see exhibits related to the history and the traditions of the town.
Kalavrita is associated with another glorious era of Greek History; nearby is situated the famous Monastery of Agia Lavra, where the Greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire was launched in 1821. It’s here that Germanos, archbishop of Patras, raised the standard of revolt.
Don’t miss the awe-inspiring Monastery of Mega Spileon (Monastery of the Great Cavern) built in a giant cave and admire its wonderful frescoes and mosaic floors; explore the Cave of the Lakes, a true wonder of nature whose walls are ornamented with colourful stalagmite and stalactite formations.
Winter sport enthusiasts should definitely go to the Kalavrita Ski Center, one of the most renowned in Greece thanks to its modern facilities: 7 lifts, 12 slaloms, a snowboard park, a special slalom mogul and a snow tubing park! On its premises there are fancy cafeterias and restaurants where occasionally fun parties take place!
Need more adrenaline rush? In the vicinity of Kalavrita you can follow hiking trails, hike down the Vouraikos gorge, go mountaineering, climbing, off-road driving, mountain biking and parachuting!
We hope you enjoyed reading this article!