The grandeur of Ancient Greece, extreme sports, a famous canal and memories of Hercules
What to do in Corinth
The Corinth canal, an ancient dream made real
How to avoid circumnavigating the entire Peloponnese when you’re blocked by a narrow spit of land? A question seemingly forever on the lips of local and not-so-local inhabitants alike. Under Periander in the 6th century BC, the ancients cut out a slipway that allowed ships to be dragged overland, but it took a lot of muscle power. Having improved the port, he also envisaged a canal but nothing came of it, setting a pattern of failure that dogged the efforts of Nero, Caligula, Hadrian, the Byzantines and the Venetians. The canal finally opened in 1893 after 11 years of digging. Six kilometres long, it slices through cliffs 90m high and is a perennial favourite with sightseers.
Acrocorinth, lofty citadel
A long and tumultuous history is recorded in the walls of Acrocorinth. In Ancient Greece, the high city was dedicated to the worship of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, but its massive fortifications attest to the fact that many of its ‘visitors’ over the years have been far from what you would call ‘affectionate’. Bloody battles, sieges and dozens of heroic legends mark Acrocorinth’s millennia-spanning history. If you listen carefully, you can still hear rousing calls to arms echoing through the walls.
Nemea in myth and reality
Hercules killed his lion here, the Panhellenic Nemean Games of Ancient Greece were held here, and grapes have been cultivated on the slopes and valleys of Nemea for at least three millennia.
Fruit of the land
Corinth’s mild climate and fertile soil combine to produce big flavours in small packages, the famous raisins and currants of Corinth. Another gift of the vine is the Agiorgitiko variety of grape that produces the area’s signature deep red wines, traditionally known as “Hercules’ blood”.