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Corinth

GREECE | Friday, 27 July 2012 | Views [942]

Acrocorinth from afar

Acrocorinth from afar

 

Corinth, home of the ancient city state of the same name. There's actually 2 Corinths. Ancient Corinth, the original site was destroyed in the earthquake of 1858 and New Corinth was built after this, in and around the ancient Corinth.

 

Most people will come to Corinth to go see the interesting stuff in the old part of Corinth. I arrived by train from Athens. I have to say, the train staff in Athens are surly and utterly unhelpful. Trains from Larissis station in Athens do not go direct to Corinth, there's a change at the next stop, with a 10 minute walk to Proastiako and from there, to Corinth. Something the staff at the train station could not be bothered to tell me. Only my usual inquiries of fellow passengers got me to the right interchange station.

 

Old Corinth is about 40 minutes by bus from the new part, there's a bus stop where hourly buses pick up passengers for the ride to the archaeological site. There's little English either at the bus stop or the buses, but the bus stop display something like "Κόρινθος" for Corinth and the buses have "ARXAIA", displayed. Then you'll know when you get there because only obviously tourists will still be on the bus, and the bus drivers shouts something in Greek.

 

The best preserved building is the Temple of Apollo, almost dominating the other ruins in it's splendour:

 

The Peirene Fountain is also well preserved:

The ruins of the basilica, is ruins only:

 

The site is mostly ruins. I mean really just ruins, mostly standing stone blocks. Some of which are nicely laid out, making it easy to visualise the streets. Restoration is obviously ongoing with quite a few archaeologists working on site. It was also quite disappointing not to be able to see the theatre, which was only partially excavated and off limits. Most of the ruins will mean nothing to the untrained eye with the exception of the Temple of Apollo. I thought it would take hours to go around the site, but it only took 2 hours to see both the ruins and the museum. Although the museum is very good with a huge collection of Greek and Roman statues and artifacts.

Next up is Acrocorinth, the acropolis of ancient Corinth. A mountain citadel like Machu Picchu, but obviously not as high up. It's reachable by foot, a 2.5 km walk to the top, on a hill 575 meters up. Though most of it is paved roads up, frustratingly winding it's way round and round the hill to the citadel. The Acrocorinth from afar:

There's no public transport to Acrocorinth and only taxis will go up. I decided to walk up, a combination of lack of nearby taxis and bravado. As I finish off my second and last of the 250ml bottle of water on the way up, it occurs to me that this is insanity and start to seriously think about hitching a ride up from passing cars. Unfortunately, the few cars that do pass were all being driven by women and my pride gets the better of me. 

 

At last, 40 minutes later, the entrance is in sight:

 

 

This is only the first of many gates, each guarding the multi-layered wall system. In the past, this citadel had been besieged by fellow Greeks, Byzantines, Ottomans, Franks etc. As each wall fell, the defenders could retreat to the next inner wall. With a secure water supply, the citadel could hold out indefinitely, so long as enough brave men held out, standing as the citadel's strongest tower of defence.

 

The site is in a early state of early restoration, so it does take a bit of imagination even with the help of a book guide. The views are specular, with panoramic views of the surrounding areas. 

 

 

A couple of hours here and I decided to head back down. Some of the archaeologist working on the site kindly offer me a ride down, an offer I gratefully accept. At this time, entrance into Acrocorinth is free as the archaeologists are currently working on it to bring it up to a tourism standard.

New Corinth itself is a pretty small town by any standard, and very new by Greek standards. It's also devoid of character, so I only stay overnight and head to Olympia the next morning.

The bus to Olympia is from the Isthmus bus station, which is also next to Corinth Canal. Clever planning, no?

The canal failed to serve it's intended purpose of shortening the route for cargo ships and is now mostly used for tourists, including a bridge used for bungee jumps.

 

Tags: acrocorinth, corinth, greece, walk

 

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