Trip to Mycenae, Nafplio and Epidaurus.
The name of the district of Peloponnese derives from the first king of Atreids of Mycenae, son of Tantalus, Pelops. According to mythology Pelops was sacrificed by his father and offered to the gods for dinner, as a test of their intelligence, but Zeus restored him to life and punished Tantalus sentencing him to eternal hunger and thirst.
The Peloponnese is not far off from Attica. Take the National Highway of Athens-Corinth and you will be there in less than two hours under normal traffic. If you can, try to avoid driving on a Friday, because this is when the Athenians weekend exodus is taking place. To better view the Corinth Canal and continue your route, you have to take the exit Isthmus, Corinth, Loutraki, after the toll posts. The opening up of the Canal begun during the Roman Empire era, but only late in the 19th Century it was decided to be brought to completion. Driving toward Argos, you will enter the Prefecture of Argolis where you will follow the signs to reach Mycenae.
Mycenae, one of the most important archaeological sites, belongs in the UNESCO¢s list of Sites of World Heritage. According to Homer in Iliad and Odyssey, they were founded by Perseus, son of Danae and Zeus.
The Acropolis of Mycenae was traced by the self-educated archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, in 1874, who, based on ancient texts and another similar excavation in Troy, found golden objects there, as well. In the acropolis we identify the main points of interest: the entrance, the Lion Gate, the royal palace complex and the tombs (tholos) also known as the Treasury of Lions, of Clytemnestra, Aigisthos, and the more luxurious Treasury of Atreus.
The archaeological site of Mycenae remains open every day (except for national holidays) from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the winter (November-March), and from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. during the summer (April-October). For further information, call +30 27510 - 76585. Only ten minutes away from Mycenae, you will reach Argos and, if you continue on that much further, you will arrive at lovely Nafplio, in the cove of the Argolic Gulf. Nafplio is the current capital of Argolis Prefecture and, for many, is also one of the most beautiful cities in Greece.
Nafplio was the first capital of post-Turkish-occupation Greece, from 1829 until 1834. According to mythology, the city was built by Nauplius, son of Poseidon and Amymone. Inhabited since the Prehistoric Era, the city, according to myth, participated in the Argonaut Expedition. It was conquered by the Venetians, as well.
It has always been an important port, a fact evident by the triple protection provided by the fortress of Acronauplia and Palamidi, in the south, and the fortified Bourtzi Castle, north of the port. Palamidi and Acronauplia are ideal sights to enjoy the view to the bay, if you are brave enough to climb the 999 (or according to another count, 875) steps to Palamidi. If you are successful, you will see Kolokotronis¢ cell and the church of Agios Andreas.
Finally, by boat, you may cross to impressive Bourtzi Castle, to have another view of the city, or just to visit the fort. Do not depart without seeing the Syntagma Square with the ottoman mosque and the Archaeological Museum, the church of Agios Spyridon (Kapodistrias was murdered outside of this church), the Komboloi (worry-bead) Museum and the beaches of Karathona and Arvanitia. Just another 29 km east of Nafplio, there is Epidaurus, another sight that belongs to U.N.E.S.C.O.¢s list of Sites of World Heritage, known for its ancient theater and its famous festival of ancient drama, which draws thousands of visitors every year.
The ancient theater of Epidaurus was built at the end of 4th Century BC by Polykleitos and it is considered one of the most impeccable theaters worldwide, for acoustics.
The archaeological site and the museum of Epidaurus remain open the following days and hours: During the winter: Monday 12:00 – 17:00, Tuesday-Friday 08:00 – 17:00, Saturday-Sunday and National Holidays 08:00 – 17:00. From 1 July to 31 October: Monday 12:00 – 1900, Tuesday-Sunday and National Holidays 08:00 – 19:00. Telephone numbers of Archaeological Site and Museum: +30 27530 - 23009 and 22666.
Distances from Athens:
- Corinth: 82 km
- Mycenae: 120 km
- Argos: 134km
- Íafplio: 144 km
- Åpidaurus: 173 km
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