Friday, October 31, 2008


Acrocorinth, the fortress on top of the mountain overlooking ancient Corinth, is only actually a couple miles away from the city, but it's straight up. Just hiking from the entrance (see top photo) to the highest point (last photo) was exhausting.

The strategic importance of this site is unmistakable, and thus it comes as no surprise that it was continually occupied as a fortress from about 650 BC until the Greek War of Independence in 1821. In between, it was occupied by the Romans, the Byzantines, the Franks, the Venetians and the Ottomans. As you can see from the photos, only a few buildings actually survive in any discernible form. The only one that is functional is (not surprisingly for Greece) a small chapel dedicated to St. Demetrios (see second photo).

The other building which is still (partially) intact is one of the two old mosques which remain from the Ottoman occupation. You can see Pelagia taking a break inside one of them in the third photo.

Although few buildings survive, the ground is absolutely littered with stones and building materials from centuries of homes and other buildings.

The thing that is not clear to me is what connection the fortress had in daily life with the city below. I can't imagine that anyone was making that exhausting "commute" between the two very frequently.

After a couple hours, we managed to wind our way to the very highest point, which you can see in the last photo. There Pelagia is sitting on the remnants of a wall of an important temple to Aphrodite (one of the many things in Corinth which seems to have caused St. Paul so many problems).

In the background of the last photo, you can see the narrowest point of the isthmus. The land separating the two bodies of water is only 6 kilometers long. There were plans for a canal since ancient Greece, but it was only finally accomplished in the late 1800s. Now the Corinth Canal is a tourist attraction in and of itself. In St. Paul's time, the city of ancient Corinth was a wealthy and prosperous city because of its enviable position for trade.

After reaching the peak, we started heading back down, eventually making our way to the train station and back to Athens for the evening.

For all the photos from the day in Corinth, click here.


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