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CORINTHIA

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General Information

Corinthia has always been the gateway of the Peloponnese to the rest of the Greek mainland. It occupies the northeastern part of the Peloponnese, including a small territory around the isthmus. Its capital city, the historical city of Corinth, is built near the canal which crosses through the isthmus, allowing passage to ships which once had to go all the way around the Peloponnese to journey to the west. Its borders are defined by Achaia to the west, Argolida and Arcadia to the south, and Attica to the northeast, while the north is wet by the waters of the Corinthian gulf. The prefecture is ideal for archaeological tours, sightseeing, swimming, thermal baths, and numerous pleasant escapades from the daily routine for the people who live in the hectic rush of metropolitan Athens. The beaches of the Corinthian and the Saronic gulfs are well organized, and especially the one in Loutraki. There are many important archaeological sites, such as ancient Corinth, the massive castle of Akrokorinthos, the ancient cities of Nemea, Sikyon, Isthmia, Iraeo, and many more. The prefecture is also rich in natural beauty, both along the coastline and within the mountainous interior. Its population numbers about 140.000 residents, while its extent covers 2.280 sq.km. 

 

History - Culture

Corinthia is an ancient land, whose name and borders have remained more or less the same for three millennia. The region has been inhabited since Neolithic times, and flourished steadily well into the Bronze Age, to the first golden age of Greece. Its history was always heavily dependant on the city of Corinth itself, which had been one of the most important cities in the Mediterranean for more than a thousand years, and which has sent colonists all across it. Settlers from Corinth have made their way to the shores of Italy and France, where the founded numerous cities and advanced local civilizations. Other significant cities of antiquity were Tenea, Leraia, Kleones, Sikyon, Nemea, Isthmos, as well as the ports of Lechaio, Kechries and Schoinounda. During the 8th century BC, Corinthia flourished significantly and founded many of its important colonies, including Kerkyra (Corfu) and Syracuse. Under Tyrant Cypselus and his renowned son Periander, the mercantile prosperity of Corinth peaked, reaching remarkable levels of wealth. This was greatly enhanced by the construction of an inland passage for ships across the isthmus, and the toll collected for this unique service. This prosperity was natural to draw Rome"s attention, which led to their invasion of Corinthia in 146 BC. In 51-52 AD, St. Paul preached there and later on he wrote his Epistles to the Corinthians. In the same period Nero attempted to cut a canal across the Corinthian Isthmus, a bold plan which was not to be realized until modern times. In the centuries following Roman demise Corinthia successively came under the rule of Goths, Normans, Franks, Byzantines, Crusaders, Venetians and Turks. It was finally liberated in 1825, after the Greek War for Independence. The modern city of Corinth lies at a distance of 8km from the ruins of the ancient city, and was built in 1858, when most of old Corinth was destroyed by an earthquake. In 1928 another devastating earthquake destroyed the city, which was then rebuilt on exemplary standards, its layout being among the best in Greece.

 

Sights

Corinthia is so rich in sights worth seeing, that it would take months to visit them all. The site of the ancient city of Corinth lies 8km to the south of the modern capital, and visitors here can see the ruins of many structures. Excavations have revealed baths, temples, the Dorian Temple of Apollo (6th century BC), a theatre dating from the 4th century BC and rebuilt in the 1st century AD, a Roman odeon of the 1st century AD, an impressive market with shops and corridors, the sanctuary of Asclepios, and many more. The castle atop the rock of Acrocorinth has always been Corinth"s citadel. It is situated on an imposing rock -575m high- overlooking the city. The medieval castle, built upon the ancient acropolis, is the oldest and most impressive castle of the Peloponnese. Near Isthmia there is the temple of Poseidon and the remnants of the ancient port of Kechries. The Corinthian Canal is a sight in itself and has a long history. A Roman construction followed the ancient stone-paved passage for ships, which was finally completed in the shape of today"s channel in 1893. In Kiato, there is the extensive site of ancient Sikyon. The remnants of a basilica (5th century AD) can be seen in Lechaio. It is considered to be the biggest structure of its kind in Greece, alas the church was destroyed in the earthquake of 551 AD. Only 10km west of Loutraki, the Archaeological Museum of Perachora houses findings originating from the Temple of Hera and the prehistoric settlement of Lake Vouliagmeni. The ruins of the temple are close to the sea, situated in a lovely small bay, just under the hill with the exquisite lighthouse. Nowadays, the lake is connected with the sea. The ruins of the noted ancient city of Nemea, as well as those of Isthmia, should definitely be visited. The most important structure of the site of Nemea is the Temple of Zeus. In ancient times, Nemea hosted celebrated athletic games, second in importance only to those held in Olympia. The ancient city of Stymphalia was built on the northern side of the Lake Stymphalia, where Hercules completed one of his 12 great feats, and which is situated within a natural environment of striking beauty. Apart from the ruins of the ancient wall, the most significant remnant of the past is the deserted Frankish church of the 13th century. The mountainous villages of Ziria captivate visitors with their charm and natural beauty, just as the coastal towns of Corinthia seduce them with their comely beaches.

 

Entertainment-Sports-Shopping

Having been a consistent favorite tourist destination, the prefecture of Corinthia has a remarkable tourist infrastructure, a fact that becomes evident even in remote towns and villages. Quality accommodations and entertainment facilities are available in Corinth, Loutraki, Xylokastro and Kiato. Loutraki also hosts a modern, luxurious casino. The market and the shopping places in these areas are more than adequate. Local specialties such as sweets from Loutraki, traditional pasta, raisins along with folk art works are considered to be best buys. Besides, every town and village turns into a holiday resort during the summer while recently many mountainous villages have developed into excellent winter resorts. Visitors can enjoy all kinds of sports. In Corinth, there are facilities for basketball, volleyball, football, tennis, swimming, mini golf, while there is also a yachting club. Water sports facilities are available within the premises of most large hotel units and on the beaches of Korfos, Vrachati, and Loutraki. As for more specialized sporting activities, Mount Ziria is ideal for climbing and getting acquainted with the natural beauty of the region. Finally, the red wines of Nemea are among the best in the world, often used to enrich the flavor of other wines. A selection of the best qualities will have to find its place within the luggage of any visitor.   

 

Access

Buses depart from Athens to Corinth, Loutraki, Kiato, Derveni, Nemea. There is also a frequent bus service from Thessaloniki all year round.

 

Connections

There is bus and train connection with every town and village of the Peloponnese. There is a daily bus connection with Thessaloniki.

 

Museums

There are Archaeological Museums in Corinth, Isthmia, Kiato and Nemea, all of which hold impressive collections of pottery, weapons, and other objects of antiquity.

 

Alternative Tourism

Archaeology, gastronomy, ecotourism, therapeutic, educational, cultural, sporting (water sports, sailing, scuba diving, mountain climbing, trekking).

 

Useful Telephone Numbers:

KORINTHOS AREA CODE:  27410-

POLICE STATION: 27410-81100

TOURIST POLICE: 27410-23282

MUNICIPALITY: 27410-23287

PORT POLICE: 27410-28888

BUS STATION: 27410-75424

HOSPITAL: 27410-25711

PHARMACIES: 27410-22515, 24510, 28477

TELECOMMUNICATIONS ORG.: 27410-83333

POST OFFICE: 27410-24122

TAXI STATION: 27410-73000

 

 

 

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