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PELOPONNESE

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The Peloponnese is divided into 7 prefectures, which are Corinthia, Achaia, Argolida, Arcadia, Ilia, Messinia and Laconia. It is the southern peninsula of Greece and it is known for its fascinating scenery and great history. Packed into its northeastern corner are the ancient sites of Epidavros, Corinth and Mycenae, all easily reached from Nafplio. The ghostly, capacious Byzantine city of Mystras clambers up the slopes of Mt. Taygetos, its winding paths and stairways leading to deserted palaces and frescoes-adorned churches. Further south, you can explore Mani, a region of bleak mountains and bleak landscapes broken only by austere and imposing stone towers, mostly abandoned but still standing sentinel over the region. Other attractions in the region include ancient Olympia, the beautiful medieval town of Monemvasia and the thrilling Diakofto-Kalavryta rack-and-pinion railway, which rollercoasts its way through the deep Vouraikos Gorge. The Peloponnese is one of the largest geographical areas in the country, joined to the mainland by the Corinthian canal and bound by the Aegean and Ionian sea in the east and west respectively, and by the gulfs of Patras and Corinth on its northern coast. This is another place in Greece where one can ideally combine business and pleasure thanks to the innumerable sights and high quality services offered throughout the peninsula.

 

Corinth

Corinth is an important, modern, commercial and transportation center, rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in the late 1920s. Ancient Corinth, about 10km away, is one of the most important ancient cities in Greece. Ancient Corinth features the ruins of the Agora (Forum) as it used to be during Roman times, developed mainly during the 1st century AD. A stately avenue led up to the Forum from Lechaion, the city"s port on the Gulf of Corinth. The city included arcades, shops, places of worship, small temples and administrative buildings along with three ancient fountains, lera Krini, Kato Pirini and Glafki.

 

Mycenae

Mycenae features the historical discoveries of the renowned German archaeologist Schilemann, which shed a great deal of light on the Mycenaean civilization, one of the most important in the history of mankind. This includes the site of a prehistoric citadel, fortified by Cyclopean walls. The first walls were built around 1350 BC, but inside these, the most important sights include the Granary, which was actually the garrison"s quarters, the town sanctuaries, Grave Circle A -containing six royal tombs- (16th century BC), and the living quarters of the dignitaries and priests, in the lower citadel (house of the warrior vase, ramp house, south house and Tsounda house.

 

Epidavros

Epidavros has an ancient outdoor theater, which is still used for summertime ancient drama performances. Its acoustics are so fine that, while standing at the top step of the theater, you can hear a pin drop on the stage far below. The nearby museum features Roman portrait statues, inscriptions (medical prescriptions and cures), surgical instruments and a history of medicinal texts from the 3rd and  4th centuries BC.

 

 

Patra

The capital of Achaia and Greece"s third largest city and port, Patra is Known as the gateway to the west, due to its regular ferry-boat routes to Italy. This beautiful city features many neo-classical buildings, the grand church of St. Andrew, built where the Saint was executed by the Romans, a vast number of hotels and sea-side resorts, and an array of interesting sights, including the Venetian Castle - offering a spectacular view of the city below, the Roman Odeon, the Municipal Theater, many flower-filled squares, the Byzantine Church of the Pantokrator, the Monastery of Girokomio, & interesting Museums. Patras is also very famous for its annual carnival celebrations, which lends a particular folklore atmosphere to the city & attracts enthusiasts from every part of the world.

 

Olympia

Olympia was the place where ancient Greeks selected to host the Olympics. It is here that archaeologists discovered the Great Temple of Zeus, the ancient Stadium, the Villa of Nero, the temple and buildings dedicated to the goddess Hera with the statue of Hermes, nowadays on display in the museum. The Stadium is one of the largest of its kind, with a capacity of 4000, and used to host the games every four years between 776 and 393 BC.

 

Kalavryta

Kalavryta is the site of two major events in Greek history. The first event occurred at the Aghia Lavra monastery on a mountain just outside the town. It was there in 1821, that Greek noblemen met to begin a rebellion against the Turks, who had been ruling Greece with a strong arm for 400 years. The small church where they took the oath to fight is still there, and it contains some impressive icons. Next door is the Mega Spileo monastery, built in the 4th century following a vision of the Virgin. It had to be rebuilt after a store of gunpowder -left over from the War of Independence- blew up in 1834. The once - wealthy monastery contains gold-filigree crosses, icons and relics of Saints

 

Historical Moment

The second major event occurred at 2:34 p.m. on 13 December 1943, when German occupation troops executed all of the town"s males over the age of 14. (The clock in the church tower in the town"s central square is stopped at 2:34). Women and male and female children under age of 14 were taken to the public school, which was set afire. An Italian soldier managed to save them from the blaze. Nowadays, the visitor who wish to learn more about that period can visit the very school which now serves as a museum with interesting material on display.

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