Monday, April 10, 2006

Greece: Corinth, Mycenae, Palamidhi Fortress, Epidaurus

I am on a Full day tour with Paul, the Honest Greek Taxi Driver. I decided to do the circle tour starting with Corinth, since getting to these sites without a car is difficult. Paul picked me up at 8am and we headed out of Athens. First stop is the Canal between the Agean Sea and the Gulf of Corinth. I'll have to research this a bit more, but it is obviously a very strategic waterway. Ancient Corinth - €6. Lots of ruins here, a decent museum, and Temple of Apollo, whose pillars dominate the site. Acrocorinth is visible 565m above the ancient city. Paul drives up the mountain to the first gate, then I climb the steep and rocky roads through the three gates built by various occupiers of this strategic site. I can't face the 4 km climb to the top where the acropolis is located. Mycenae and the Treasure of Atreus - €8. Perhaps this is the most interesting site today, although it is less dramatic visually. This place (and others in the area) were inhabited by advanced civilizations hundreds of years before Christ (BC), proving that the tales told by Homer were based on fact. Palamidhi Fortress - €6 - there are 900 steps to climb up to this fortress from the pretty coastal town of Nafplio, however I opted to drive up. Palamidhi Fortress overlooks the town below, and the Bourtzi Fortress on Ayiou Theodhorou islet in Argos Bay. This is perhaps the most impressive fortress I've ever visited. It is perched on a steep hill, and the views are breathtaking. Like Acrocorinth, the amount of climbing involved is strenuous. Ancient Epidaurus, Theatre - €6 - This ancient outdoor theatre is still used today to stage performances in. It is not as large or as well decorated as the the theatre we saw in Libya at Sabratha and Leptis Magna, however it is an impressive theatre nonetheless. It dates to the 3rd and 4th centuries BC, and is part of a larger complex of buildings, including an ancient sanitorium.

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