Corinth map - Detailed map of Corinth GREECE - Corinth travel information
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Today, as in antiquity, Corinth, along with Patras, is one of the two major gateways to the Peloponnese. Still, gates are for passage, not for lingering. Stop to see the ships slipping through the impressive Corinth Canal that cuts across the isthmus, then head straight for ancient Corinth, in the hamlet of Archaia Korinthos (Old Corinth), bypassing the modern city altogether. Mycenae and Nafplion have excellent hotels and restaurants-and both are about an hour's drive from Corinth. In fact, the entire modern town of Corinth (pop. 24,000) has remarkably little to recommend it. The town was moved here in 1834, after an earthquake devastated the settlement at ancient Corinth, successive earthquakes in 1858, 1928, and 1981 destroyed virtually every interesting building in the new town. Corinth is now a thicket of undistinguished, flat-roofed buildings, supposedly built to withstand future quakes.
All this makes modern Corinth a far cry from ancient Corinth, famously splendid and lively. As one Greek proverb had it, "See Corinth and die," suggesting that there was nothing to look forward to after visiting the monuments (and fleshpots) of the city that dominated trade in Greece for much of the 8th and 7th centuries tl.C. and that had a second golden age under the Romans in the 2nd century.

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The new highway rushes you over the Corinth Canal very quickly, and unless you're vigilant you can miss the turnoff to the Canal Tourist Area. Before the new road was completed in 1997, almost everyone stopped here for a coffee, a souvlaki, and a look at the canal that separates the Peloponnese from the mainland. Now, traffic hurtles past, and the cafes, restaurants, and shops here are hurting. There's a small post office at the canal, along with a kiosk with postcards and English-language newspapers; most of the large souvlaki places have clean toilet facilities (but tough souvlaki). Warning: Be sure to lock your car door. This is a popular spot for thieves who prey on unwary tourists.
The French engineers who built the Corinth Canal between 1881 and 1893 used dynamite to blast through 8Cm (285 ft.) of sheer rock to make this 6.4km-long (4-mile), 27m (90-ft-wide) passageway. This revolutionized shipping in the Mediterranean: Ships that previously had made their way laboriously around Cape Matapan at the southern tip of the Peloponnese could dart through the canal. The journey from Brindisi, Italy, to Athens was shortened by more than 320km (200 miles). Although it took modern technology to build the canal, the Roman emperors Caligula and Nero had tried, and failed, to dig a canal with slave labor. Nero was obsessed with the project, going so far as to lift the first shovelful of earth with a dainty golden trowel. That done, he headed back to Rome and left the real work to the 6,000 Jewish slaves he had brought from Judea.
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Acrocorinth: A road twists from the ancient site to the summit of Acrocorinth, the rugged limestone sugarloaf mountain that looms 566m (1,885 ft.) above the plain. On a clear day, the views from the summit arc superb, although it's been a long time since the atmosphere was clear enough to spot the glistening Columns of the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis.
A superb natural acropolis, Acrocorinth was fortified first in antiquity. Everyone who came later-the Byzantines, Franks, Venetians, and Turks-simply added to the original walls. Today, there are three courses of outer walls; massive gates with towers; and a jumble of ruined houses, churches, and barracks. Before you head down, you can stop for a cold drink at the small cafe here and reflect on the fact that there was a Temple of Aphrodite on this summit in antiquity, staffed by an estimated 1,000 temple prostitutes-some of whom worked the streets in town but others who worked here, awaiting those hardy customers who walked up from Corinth.
Ancient Corinth:
If you visit in summer, try to come here first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon: The sun on this virtually shadeless site will be less fierce, and fewer tourists clog the area. Excavations continue at Corinth (you may see American and Greek archaeologists at work here) and since 1995 have unearthed remains of an extensive Roman villa of the 4th century n.D. as well as imported English china of the 19th century A.D. -important suggestions that Corinths prosperity did not die in antiquity.
The most conspicuous-and the most handsome-surviving building at ancient Corinth is clearly the 6th-century-B.c. Temple of Apollo, which stands on a low hill overlooking the extensive remains of the Roman Agora (the Roman forum, or marketplace). Only seven of the temple's 38 monolithic Doric columns are standing, the others having long since been toppled by earthquakes.
From the temple, ancient Corinth's main drag, a 12m (40-ft.) marble-paved road that ran from the port of Lechaion into the heart of the marketplace, is clearly visible. Pottery from Corinth was carried down this road to the ships that took it around the world; back along the same road came the goods Corinthian merchants bought in every corner of the Mediterranean. Everything made and brought here was for sale in countless shops, many of whose foundations are still clearly visible in the agora.
Two spots in the agora are especially famous: the Bema and the Fountain of Peirene. In the 2nd century n.D., the famous Roman traveler, philhellcne (lover of Greeks), and benefactor Herodes Atticus rebuilt the original modest fountain house. Like most Romans, Herodes seemed to think that bigger was better: When he was done, the spring was encased in an elaborate two-storied building with arches and arcades and a 4.6 sq.m courtyard. Peirene was a woman who wept so hard when she lost her son that she finally dissolved into the spring that still flows here. As for the Bema, this was the public platform where St. Paul had to plead his case when the Corinthians, irritated by his constant criticisms, hauled him in front of the Roman governor Gallo in n.D.52.

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