In ancient times, Corinth (Korinthos) was one of the largest and richest city-states in Greece, with two major ports, one on the Gulf of Corinth and one on the Saronic Gulf. The site where Ancient Corinth once stood has been excavated since 1896 by archaeologists from the American School of Athens. The vast remains, mostly dating from Roman times, are dominated by the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. Behind the site rises the hill of Acrocorinth (Akrokorinthos), which was fortified during the Middle Ages. The modern town of Corinth is located seven kilometers northeast of the ancient city and 78 kilometers west of Athens, where it is connected by a regular bus service.
1 Corinth Canal
The Corinth Canal is located four kilometers east of modern Corinth. The idea of building a channel through the Isthmus of Corinth (which makes the connection Peloponnese to the rest of Greece) was coined by the tyrant Periander in the sixth century BC. However, it was not completed until the period 1882-1893, after modern Greece gained independence. With an excavation of up to 80 meters deep, the canal is 6.3 kilometers long, 23 meters wide and eight meters deep and can accommodate ships of up to 10,000 tons. The best view of the canal is from the bridge, which carries the road over it. An interesting feature is the movable bridge on the northwest side, which can be sunk below the surface, allowing smaller ships and sailboats to pass (at a hefty fee). However, it is too narrow for larger ships.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Corinth
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2 Ancient Corinth
Ancient Corinth is an important archaeological site, which has revealed many great finds. Once one of the most powerful cities of the classical world, it came under Roman rule in 146 BC. It was here that Paul preached to the people of Corinth from 51-52 AD, and his experience later inspired him to write the New Testament books of the First Corinthians and the Second Corinthians, one of the most quoted books of the Bible. Today, amidst the archaeological excavations, you can see the ruins of several buildings including temples, a forum, baths and a basilica.
3 Temple of Apollo
The most important monument in ancient Corinth, the imposing Doric Temple of Apollo sits on a low hill dominating the grounds. The temple was built around 540 BC on the site of an earlier seventh century BC temple. Today only seven monolithic limestone pillars remain, but originally there were six along the front and back of the temple and fifteen along each side. In the first century AD, the Romans moved the main entrance to the temple to the west (previously it was to the east) and built stoasas (colonnades) on each side of the temple.
4 Archaeological Museum of Corinth
This small museum offers a comprehensive overview of finds from the archaeological site of Ancient Corinth. Built in 1931-32 and expanded in the 1950s, the museum has three exhibition rooms and a large courtyard. The main attractions are Neolithic finds, typical Corinthian pottery and ceramics, mosaic floors and numerous headless marble statues (the ancients would simply remove the head of a deceased leader from a statue and replace it with the head of the new leader). Exhibits are labeled in both Greek and English. The entrance ticket to the site is also valid for the museum.
Acrocorinth (Akrokórinthos) is located 3.5 kilometers south of Ancient Corinth. The ascent to the top of this impressive fortified hilltop (575 metres) is facilitated by a road that climbs to a point near the lowest gate on the western side. Acrocorinth was fortified in ancient times, and its defenses were maintained and developed during the Byzantine, Frankish, Turkish and Venetian periods, so that the walls are now almost two kilometers long. Within the fortress, a path leads to the highest point, to the former temple of Aphrodite, which was converted into a mosque by the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century. From here there are nice views of the isthmus and the hills of the Peloponnese.
Overlooking the Gulf of Corinth, six kilometers northeast of Corinth, Loutráki is a popular seaside resort. Home to natural thermal springs, the Loutraki Spa is recommended for urinary tract disorders, kidney stones, gallstones and gout. The method of treatment is bathing and drinking. The old center of Loutraki was destroyed by an earthquake in 1928 and today it consists mainly of concrete hotels built in the second half of the 20th century.
7 Modern Corinth
A powerful earthquake destroyed the ancient city of Corinth in 1858, which was rebuilt on a new plan on the coast overlooking the Gulf of Corinth, seven kilometers northeast of the ancient city. However, the new town had to be rebuilt after another earthquake in 1928 and a major fire in 1933. The current town consists mainly of modern concrete buildings and daily life revolves around the cafes on the edge of the harbour. For tourists arriving from Athens and the rest of mainland Greece, Corinth is considered the gateway to the Peloponnese peninsula.