06.07.2015 - 07.07.2015 37 °C
Drove to Corinth after my visit to Mycenae. Hotel (Prime Isthmus) was a sh*thole but was handily placed - it is a three minute walk from a road bridge over the Corinth Canal. One look at the hotel pool helped my decision to avoid a swim on this particular occasion. It was so dirty it seemed to have little flags floating all over it , each wit the name of a disease that was guaranteed if you immersed so much as your little toe in it.
Two things of interest here - the Corinth Canal and Ancient Corinth
As you peer over from the bridge, the 6km Corinth Canal appears to be a very narrow strip of water, until a huge freighter from Pireás or cruise ship assumes suddenly toy-like dimensions as it passes nearly 80m below.
The idea for a canal providing a short cut and safe passage between the Aegean and Ionian seas harks back at least to Roman times, when Emperor Nero himself performed the initial excavations with his little silver shovel (he was a weird little sod) later heavily supplemented by Jewish slave labour. It was only in the 1890s, however, that the technology finally became available for cutting right across the 6km isthmus. The canal (funded by the Hubgarians) opened in 1893, along with its near-contemporary Suez, helped establish Pireás as a major Mediterranean port and shipping centre.
The ruins of Ancient Corinth.
The site is split into a vast, impressively excavated city with the Temple of Apollo at its core, and even more compelling is the stunning acropolis site of Acrocorinth , towering 565m above the ancient city - I didn't walk up this one
Brief history Ancient Corinth was a key centre of the Greek and Roman worlds, whose possession meant the control of trade between northern Greece and the Peloponnese. Not surprisingly, therefore, the area’s ancient and medieval history was one of invasions and power struggles that, in Classical times, was dominated by Corinth’s rivalry with Athens , against whom it sided with Sparta in the Peloponnesian War.
After defeating the Greek city-states of the Achaean League, the Romans razed the city in 146 BC, before rebuilding it on a majestic scale in 44 BC under the command of Julius Caesar. Initially it was intended as a colony for veterans, but later became the provincial capital . Once again, Corinth grew rich on trade –with Rome to the west, and Syria and Egypt to the east. The city endured until rocked by two major earthquakes , in 375 and 521, which brought down the Roman buildings and again depopulated the site until a brief Byzantine revival in the eleventh century.
I got there early in the morning (7.30, advertised opening time) and then had to wait an hour until it opened by which time the temperature had gone for 31 to 37 - I do spend a lot of my day drinking water, sweating and peeing.
Left Corinth mid afternoon - 3 hour drive to Delphi.