June 8 Acrocorinth (Day 255)

You may have noticed the big mountain in the background of many of the pictures of Ancient Corinth, that is Acrocorinth, translated as “Upper” or “High” Corinth. It is an amazing archaeological site that layers the many civilizations that have been in control over the centuries from about the 4th century B.C. to the 19th century. Today we took a cab up the hill to explore the free site!

The whole top of the hill is circled by ancient walls, fortifications to protect the city inside the walls, as well as the city at the base of the hill.

There are 3 successive walls protecting the interior, each with a protected gate.

The 3 gates. The first (lower left) has an iron gate on it now, the second (top) has an impressive archway, and the third has a smaller doorway in a massive wall with a tower on each side!

We hiked up the steep cobbled road, worn smooth and somewhat slippery by the eons of traffic and weather, through the gates, to the interior where we wandered around, occasionally  stopping in the sparse shade to cool down. The view is fantastic, although it is hazy out.

Looking down on Archaia Korinthos. If you look very closely you can see the pillars of the Apollo Temple in the lower left!

The hill has a commanding view of the isthmus connecting mainland Greece with the Peloponnese peninsula. The isthmus divides the 2 waterways, the Saronic Gulf on the Aegean Sea side and the Gulf of Corinth on the Ionian Sea side, the body of water in the above picture. Controlling the trade routes across the isthmus and the two waterways was very lucrative for Corinth throughout the ages! In ancient times a road was built across the isthmus in order to drag ships across the land barrier. In 1893 a canal was dug (carved? out of the rock) across the isthmus and is still used today.

The only intact building on the site is this small church which is still used.

The engineering and tremendous workload to build the walls and the many buildings that had been inside the walls, is staggering!

On the west side of the hilltop is a still functioning spring, the Upper Peirene spring.¬† “With its secure water supply, Acrocorinth’s fortress was used as the last defending line in southern Greece repelling foes from entering the Peloponnesian peninsula.”¬† There is a lower Peirene Spring in the ruins of Ancient Corinth which has a great story!

Approaching the spring, it is down a flight of narrow stairs on the left in this picture.

I continued down the steps to the water and dipped my hat in to wet it and act as a swamp cooler on my head out in the hot sun!

After several hours exploring we headed back to the parking lot hoping to find a cab to take us back down. We had not made arrangements to be picked up and discovered there were no cabs waiting! We had to start walking the 2.3 miles down! At least there was a breeze, hot but not humid! Luckily we were picked up by a kind Canadian who was visiting his daughter who is an Archaeologist in the area! We got back, cleaned up and waited until evening to go out again! Dinner of pizza then a walk around the small town center and a view of the Temple of Apollo lit up for the night.

We started towards our room and stopped at a bar with live music. While listening to the authentic Greek music we were offered beers by a local couple! We ended up staying for an hour, listening to the music, watching the dancing and drinking and singing and having a great time!

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