UP TO 14 GUESTS
Saint Paul Steps Full Day Private Tour
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Saint Paul Private tour
- Acropolis Hill – Propylaea – Parthenon – Erechtheion – Temple of Athena Nike
- Dionysus Theatre – Herodion Odeon
- Mars Hill
- Temple of Zeus – Arch of Hadrian
- Old Olympic Stadium
- Academy of science – Athens University – National Library
- Lycabettus Hill
- Corinth Canal
- Ancient Corinth – Temple of Apollo – Museum of Ancient Corinth
- Kechries Ancient port
The tour begins by sightseeing in Athens and the hill of Acropolis which is one of the highlights of the day. On the historical hill you will have the opportunity to see the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, The temple of the Athena Nike, the monumental gateway (Propylaea), the Erechtheum and of course the Parthenon the main temple for the virgin goddess Athena.
On our way down the hill, we will climb up Mars Hill (or the Rock of Paul). Mars Hill is one of the seven hills of Athens. In antiquity but also during the Apostle’s time and it was used as the supreme court of law. It was in this place that the Apostle Paul stood to be judged by the Athenians in 51 A.D. for talking about Christianity in a society that still believed in the 12 gods of Olympus. From Mars Hill you will also have a great view of the ancient Greek Agora, the Apostle Paul walked around in the agora and spoke of the new religion during his stay in Athens.
After the Rock of Paul, we will head towards the Temple Of Zeus. On the way we will be passing by Hadrians Arch and next, we will visit Panathenaic Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896. Then driving along the side of the National Garden we will see the changing of the guard (Evzones) in front of the old palace. Many older people still call it ‘the old palace’ but today it is Parliament House, framed above the central square of Athens. Moving around again and in the historical center of the city we will drive up to the highest hill of Athens, Lycabettus Hill. It is from here that you’ll have the best panoramic view of the city, the hill of Acropolis and the Aegean Sea. Next stop is going to be a traditional Greek tavern with authentic cooked dishes or fresh fish –
seafood by the sea.
After our rest for lunch, we will drive along the coast. On the way, we will pass by some seaside villages and the island of Salamis (where the historical naval battle between the Athenians and Persians took place). Our next stop is the Corinth Canal. Opened in 1892, it separated the Peloponnese Peninsula from the rest of Greece all the while connecting the Saronic Gulf to the Corinthian Sea. You will have time to walk across on a pedestrian bridge to admire the canal closer, (if you’re game) on some days even bungee jumping is an option.
Moving on we will continue to our other highlight of the tour, Ancient Corinth. The ancient city dominated by the hill of Acrocorinth and the ‘old castle’, the oldest and largest castle in southern Greece. The site located at the foot of the hill includes the Roman Agora of Corinth, the temple of the ancient god Apollo and a small museum. Apart from its archaeological and historical interest Ancient Corinth is also one of the most popular religious destinations in Greece as this was where the Apostle Paul preached Christianity. Here he was also was judged by the tribunal in the Agora and established the best organized Christian church of that period. We know that the Apostle Paul favored this city because he spent the more time in Corinth compared to other Greek cities. It was also a place of continued interest as we have two surviving letters to the Corinthians.
Before we return back to Athens we will drive to the east port of ancient Corinth, Kechries, making a small stop at the Cathedral of ancient Corinth. Kechries was the location that Paul stayed in before departing for Ephesos leaving behind his new followers and a Christian church. There you will be able to see part of the old port that is still visible, under water. Lastly, after the site we will then make our way safely back to Athens.
Inclusions - Exclusions
Private Tours are personal and flexible just for you and your party.
Professional Drivers with Deep knowledge of history. [Not licensed to accompany you in any site.]
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Transport by private vehicle
Skip the line to purchase site tickets.
- Bottled water
- Entrance Fees [36€ for over 6 yo for Non-EU & 24 yo for EU Citizens]
- Licensed Tour guide upon request depending on availability [Additional cost – 300 €]
- Airport Pick Up and drop-off (Additional cost)
- Food & Drinks
ADMISSION FEES FOR SITES:
Summer Period: 36€ per person
(1 April – 31 October)
Acropolis: 20€ (08:00am- 20:00pm)
Temple of Zeus: 8€ (08:00am- 20:00pm)
Ancient Corinth: 8€ (08:00am- 20:00pm)
Winter Period: 18€ per person
(1 November – 31 March)
Acropolis: 10€ (08:00am- 17:00pm)
Temple of Zeus: 4€ (08:00am- 17:00pm)
Ancient Corinth: 4€ (08:00am- 15:30pm)
Special Combined Ticket Package:
30€ per person (Valid for 5 days)
- Acropolis of Athens
- Ancient Agora of Athens
- Kerameikos Museum
- Roman Agora of Athens
- Temple of Zeus
- Archaeological Site of Lykeion
- Hadrian’s Library
Free admission days:
- 6 March (in memory of Melina Mercouri)
- 18 April (International Monuments Day)
- 18 May (International Museums Day)
- The last weekend of September annually (European Heritage Days)
- Every first Sunday from November 1st to March 3rd
- 28 October
- 1 January: closed
- 25 March: closed
- 1 May: closed
- Easter Sunday: closed
- 25 December: closed
- 26 December: closed
Free admission for:
- Escorting teachers during the visits of schools and institutions of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education and of military schools.
- Members of Societies and Associations of Friends of Museums and Archaeological Sites throughout Greece with the demonstration of certified membership card
- Members of the ICOM-ICOMOS
- Persons possessing a free admission card
- The employees of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Archaeological Receipts Fund, upon presentation of their service ID card.
- The official guests of the Greek government, with the approval of the General Director of Antiquities.
- Young people, under the age of 18, after demonstrating the Identity Card or passport to confirm the age.
Reduced admission for:
- Greek citizens and citizens of other Member – States of the European Union who are over 65 years old, upon presentation of their ID card or passport for verification of their age and country of origin.
- Holders of a solidarity card
- Holders of a valid unemployment card.
- Large families’ parents of children up to 23 yrs old, or up to 25 yrs old (on military service/studying), or child with disabilities regardless the age, having a certified pass of large families, certification from the Large Family Association or a family status certificate issued by the Municipality
- Persons with disabilities (67 % or over) and one escort, upon presentation of the certification of disability issued by the Ministry of Health or a medical certification from a public hospital, where the disability and the percentage of disability are clearly stated.
- Single-parent families with minors, upon presentation of a family status certificate issued by the Municipality. In the case of divorced parents, only the parent holding custody of the children
- The police officers of the Department of Antiquity Smuggling of the Directorate of Security
- Tourist guides upon presentation of their professional ID card.
- University students and students at Technological Educational Institutes or equivalent schools from countries outside the EU by showing their student ID.
Amenities for the physically challenged:
Elevator available for wheelchairs, people with diminished abilities and any parent attending two or more infants on her/his own. The elevator is located about 350 m. far from the main entrance of the archaeological site.
Users of the elevator should contact in advance for details and terms (+30 210 3214172). The facility is not available during extreme weather conditions and strong winds.
The Acropolis hill (acro – edge, polis – city), so-called the “Sacred Rock” of Athens, is the most important site of the city and constitutes one of the most recognizable monuments of the world. It is the most significant reference point of ancient Greek culture, as well as the symbol of the city of Athens itself as it represents the apogee of artistic development in the 5th century BCE. During Perikles’ Golden Age, ancient Greek civilization was represented in an ideal way on the hill and some of the architectural masterpieces of the period were erected on its ground.
The Propylaea is the monumental entrances to the sacred area dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of the city. Built by the architect Mnesicles with Pentelic marble, their design was avant-garde. To the south-west of the Propylaea, on a rampart protecting the main entrance to the Acropolis, is the Ionian temple of Apteros Nike or Wingless Victory.
It is the most important and characteristic monument of the ancient Greek civilization and still remains its international symbol. It was dedicated to Athena Parthenos (the Virgin), the patron goddess of Athens. It was built between 447 and 438 B.C.E. and its sculptural decoration was completed in 432 B.C.E. The construction of the monument was initiated by Perikles, the supervisor of the whole work was Pheidias, the famous Athenian sculptor, while Iktinos (or Ictinus) and Kallikrates (Callicrates) were the architects of the building. The temple is built in the Doric order and almost exclusively of Pentelic marble. It is peripheral, with 8 columns on each of the narrow sides and 17 columns on each of the long ones. The central part of the temple, called the cella, sheltered the famous chryselephantine cult statue of Athena made by Pheidias. The rest of sculptural decoration, also by Phidias, was completed by 432 BC. The sculptural decoration of the Parthenon is a unique combination of the Doric metopes and triglyphs on the entablature, and the Ionic frieze on the walls of the cella. The metopes depict the Gigantomachy on the east side, the Amazonomachy on the west, the Centauromachy on the south and scenes from the Trojan War on the north. The Parthenon, the Doric temple, the pinnacle of Pericles’ building program, is beyond question the building most closely associated with the city of Athens, a true symbol of ancient Greek culture and its universal values.
The elegant building known as the Erechtheion was erected in 421-406 BC. The name derives from Erechtheus, the mythical king of Athens, who was worshipped there. The building owes its unusual shape to the irregularity of the terrain – there is a 3-metre difference in height between the eastern and western parts – and the multiple cults it was designed to accommodate. The eastern part of the building was dedicated to Athena Polias, while the western part served the cult of Poseidon-Erechtheus. The sanctuary also contained the grave of Kekrops and the traces of the dispute between Athena and Poseidon for the possession of the city of Athens.
The temple was made of Pentelic marble, the frieze of Eleusinian grey stone with white relief figures attached to it and the foundations of Piraeus stone. On the north side is the entrance to the west part of the building, sheltered by a pi-shaped propylon with four Ionic columns along the façade and one on either side. The stone paving of this propylon was thought to preserve the traces made by Poseidon’s trident when it hit the ground and produced salt water. Finally, another door on the south façade of the western temple opened onto the porch of the Karyatides, a pi-shaped structure with six female statues instead of columns to support the roof. Five of them are in the Acropolis Museum and another in the British Museum those on the building are casts. The frieze probably depicted scenes related to the mythical kings of Athens.
The Temple of Zeus:
This marvel is right in the center of Athens. It is the largest temple in Greece. Building began in the 6th century BCE by Peisistratos, (but it was abandoned for lack of funds). Various other leaders attempted to finish it, but it was left to Hadrian to complete the work in AD 131 – taking more than 700 years in total to build. The temple is impressive for the sheer size of it. Originally it had 104 Corinthian columns (17m high and with a base diameter of 1.7m). Unfortunately only 15 remains (the fallen one was blown down in a gale in 1852). Hadrian also put up a colossal statue of Zeus (in the cella) and because he was such a modest fellow he placed an equally large one of himself next to it.
The Roman emperor Hadrian had a great affection for Athens. Although he did his fair share of spiriting its classical artwork to Rome, he also embellished the city with many monuments influenced by classical architecture. His arch is a lofty monument of Pentelic marble that stands where busy Leoforos Vasilissis Olgas and Leoforos Vasilissis Amalias meet. Hadrian erected it in AD 132, probably to commemorate the consecration of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The inscriptions show that it was also intended as a dividing point between the ancient and Roman city. The northwest frieze writes ‘This is Athens, the Ancient city of Theseus’, while the southeast frieze states ‘This is the city of Hadrian, and not of Theseus’.
The Old Olympic Stadium / Panathenaic Stadium:
The grand Panathenaic Stadium lies between two pine-covered hills (between the neighborhoods of Mets and Pangrati). It was originally built in the 4th century BCE as a venue for the Panathenaic athletic contests. It’s said that at Hadrian’s inauguration in AD 120, 1000 wild animals were sacrificed in the arena. Later, the seats were rebuilt in Pentelic marble by Herodes Atticus. There are seats for 70,000 spectators, a running track and a central area for field events. After hundreds of years of disuse, the stadium was completely restored in 1895 (by a wealthy Greek benefactor Georgios Averof) to host the first modern Olympic Games the following year. It’s a faithful replica of the original Panathenaic Stadium. There are seats for 70,000 people, a running track and a central area for field events. It made a stunning backdrop to the archery competition and the marathon finish during the 2004 Olympics. It’s occasionally used for concerts and public events, and the annual Authentic Athens Marathon finishes here.
The Changing of the Guard:
Although the guards change hourly, there is a big ceremony once a week. These guards, the Evzones, stand motionless at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Getting into this unit is an honor and they have to be over 6 ft. tall. They wear white tights, a white skirt, a white blouse with full sleeves, an embroidered vest, red cap and shoes with big pom-poms, but don’t let the outfit fool you, these guys are the best of the best. The uniform is based on the clothing of the Klephts, mountain fighters who fought the Turks from the 15th century until Greek independence in the 19th Century.
The Academy of Science:
The Academy Building constitutes one of three parts in an “architectural trilogy”. It was founded with the Constitutional Decree of March 18th, 1926, as an Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts. The same Decree appointed its first members, who were all eminent representatives of the scientific, intellectual and artistic circles of that era. Designed in 1859, by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen (1813-1891, the younger brother of the University’s architect, Christian Hansen). It is considered the most important work of Hansen and is regarded by some experts as the most beautiful neoclassic building worldwide. The architect’s source of inspiration was the classical architecture of 5th century B.C.E. Athens, as portrayed in the monuments of the Acropolis. In particular, Hansen imitated the Ionian rhythm that dominates the building of the Academy, from the Erechtheion monument. The essence of all ancient Greek tradition can be found in the building’s sculptural and pictorial decoration; simultaneously the character of that era’s Hellenism and its visions for the future are also expressed.
The University of Athens:
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is the largest state institution of higher learning in Greece and among the largest universities in Europe. The splendid Athens University was designed by the Danish architect Christian Hansen and completed in 1864. It was the first of the Architectural Trilogy to be built. It still serves as the university’s administrative headquarters. To its left is the Athens Academy, designed by Hansen’s brother Theophile. Unfortunately, neither is open to the public.
The National Library:
The National Library of Greece was built at the end of the 19th century, as the last of the Architectural Trilogy of Athens, a group of three neoclassical buildings which also includes the Academy and the University. The building was designed by Theophil Hansen, a Danish architect who had studied classical architecture in Vienna and Athens. (He had also previously worked on the University – together with his older brother Christian, as well as on the Zappeion and the Academy of Athens). Construction of the National Library started in 1887 and was completed 15 years later. Theophil Hansen died in 1891 and would never see his building completed. The National Library was designed as a Doric temple flanked by two wings and built almost entirely with Pentelic marble. The design of the Doric building was based on that of the Propylaea on the Acropolis. (It is devoid of any sculptural ornamentation; even the tympanum is left undecorated). Two wide winding staircases lead to the entrance of the “temple”. The statue standing between the staircases shows one of the benefactors of the library, the merchant Panaghis Athanassiou Vallianos. The building houses a large collection of books, maps, newspapers and manuscripts in Greek and other languages. Most interesting is the collection of Greek manuscripts, some of which are more than 1400 years old.
The Hill of Lycabettus:
The name Lykavittus appears in various legends. Popular stories suggest it was once the refuge of wolves, (lycos in Greek), which is possibly the origin of its name (means “the one [the hill] that is walked by wolves”). Mythologically, Lycabettus is credited to Athena, who created it when she dropped a mountain she had been carrying from Pallene for the construction of the Acropolis.
There is a path that leads to the summit. Alternatively, take the funicular railway or teleferik up to the top. Don’t try to walk up (pilgrims used to, but it’s an Everest for the faithless). The panorama from the top is priceless – all the way to Mount Parnes in the north, west to Piraeus and the Saronic Gulf, with the Acropolis sitting like a ruminative lion halfway to the sea. There’s also a cafe /restaurant up there. Perched on the summit is the little Chapel of Agios Georgios, floodlit like a beacon over the city at night. The open-air Lykavittos Theatre, northeast of the summit, hosts concerts in summer, and many famous artists have performed there.
The famous Corinth Canal connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island. The canal is 6.4 kilometers in length and only 21.3 meters wide at its base. Earth cliffs flanking either side of the canal reach a maximum height of 63 meters. Aside from a few modest-sized cruise ships, the Corinth Canal is unserviceable to most modern ships. The Corinth Canal, though only completed in the late 19th century, was an idea and dream that dates back over 2000 thousand years.
Before it was built, ships sailing between the Aegean and Adriatic had to circumnavigate the Peloponnese adding about 185 nautical miles to their journey. The first to decide to dig the Corinth Canal was Periander, the tyrant of Corinth (602 BCE). Such a giant project was above the technical capabilities of ancient times so Periander carried out another great project, the diolkós, a stone road, on which the ships were transferred on wheeled platforms from one sea to the other. Dimitrios Poliorkitis, king of Macedon (c. 300 BCE), was the second who tried, but his engineers insisted that if the seas where connected, the more northerly Adriatic, mistakenly thought to be higher, would flood the more southern Aegean. At the time, it was also thought that Poseidon, god of the sea, opposed joining the Aegean and the Adriatic. The same fear also stopped Julius Caesar and Emperors Hadrian and Caligula. The most serious try was that of Emperor Nero (67 CE). He had 6,000 slaves for the job. He started the work himself, digging with a golden hoe, while music was played. However, he was killed before the work could be completed.
In the modern era, the first who thought seriously to carry out the project was Kapodistrias (c. 1830), first governor of Greece after the liberation from the Ottoman Turks. But the budget, estimated at 40 million French francs, was too much for the Greek state. Finally, in 1869, the Parliament authorized the Government to grant a private company (Austrian General Etiene Tyrr) the privilege to construct the Canal of Corinth. Work began on Mar 29, 1882, but Tyrr’s capital of 30 million francs proved to be insufficient. The work was restarted in 1890, by a new Greek company (Andreas Syggros), with a capital of 5 million francs. The job was finally completed and regular use of the Canal started on Oct 28, 1893. Due to the canal’s narrowness, navigational problems and periodic closures to repair landslips from its steep walls, it failed to attract the level of traffic anticipated by its operators. It is now used mainly for tourist traffic. The bridge above is perfect for bungee jumping.
Located close to the the isthmus which connects mainland Greece with the Peloponnese, surrounded by fertile plains and blessed with natural springs, Corinth was an important city in Greek, Hellenistic and Roman times. Its geographical location, helped it play a role as a center of trade, naval fleet, participation in various Greek wars and status as a major Roman colony meant the city was, for over a millennium, rarely out of the limelight in the ancient world.
CORINTH IN MYTHOLOGY
Not being a major Mycenaean center, Corinth lacks the mythological heritage of other Greek city-states. Nevertheless, the mythical founder of the city was believed to have been King Sisyphus, famed for his punishment in Hades where he was made to forever roll a large boulder up a hill. Sisyphus was succeeded by his son Glaucus and his grandson Bellerophon, whose winged-horse Pegasus became a symbol of the city and a feature of Corinthian coins. Corinth is also the setting for several other episodes from Greek mythology such as Theseus’ hunt for the wild boar, Jason settled there with Medea after his adventures looking for the Golden Fleece, and there is the myth of Arion – the real-life and gifted kithara player and resident of Corinth – who was rescued by dolphins after being abducted by pirates.
The city was first inhabited in the Neolithic period (c. 5000 BCE) but became more densely populated from the 10th century BCE. The historical founders were the aristocratic descendants of King Bacchis, the Bacchiadae (c. 750 BCE). The Bacchiadae ruled as a body of 200 until in 657 BCE when the popular tyrant Cypselus took control of the city, to be succeeded by his son Periander (627-587 BCE). Cypselus funded the building of a treasury at Delphi and set up new colonies.
From the 8th century BCE, Corinthian pottery was exported across Greece. With its innovative figure decoration, it dominated the Greek pottery market until the 6th century BCE when Attic black-figure pottery took over as the dominant style. Other significant exports were Corinthian stone and bronze wares. Corinth also became the hub of trade through the diolkos. This was a stone track with carved grooves for wheeled wagons which offered a land short-cut between the two seas and probably dates to the reign of Periander. In the Peloponnesian War, the diolkos was even used to transport triremes. Although the idea for a canal across the isthmus was first considered in the 7th century BCE and various Roman Emperors from Julius Caesar to Hadrian began surveys, it was Nero who actually began the project (67 CE). However, on the emperor’s death, the project was abandoned, not to be resumed until 1881.
From the early 6th century BCE, Corinth administered the PanHellenic games at nearby Isthmia, held every two years in the spring. These games were established in honor of Poseidon and were particularly famous for their horse and chariot races.
An oligarchy, consisting of a council of 80, gained power in Corinth (585 BCE). Concerned with the local rival, Argos, from 550 BCE Corinth became an ally of Sparta. During Cleomenes’ reign though, the city became wary of the growing power of Sparta and opposed Spartan intervention in Athens. Corinth also fought in the Persian Wars against the invading forces of Xerxes which threatened the autonomy of all of Greece.
Corinth suffered badly in the First Peloponnesian War, which it was responsible for after attacking Megara. Later it was also guilty of causing the Second Peloponnesian War, in 433 BCE. Once again though, the Corinthians, mainly as Sparta’s naval ally, had a disastrous war. Disillusioned with Sparta and concerned over Spartan expansion in Greece and Asia Minor, Corinth formed an alliance with Argos, Boeotia, Thebes and Athens to fight Sparta in the Corinthian Wars (395-386 BCE). The conflict was fought at sea and on Corinthian territory and was yet another costly endeavor for the citizens of Corinth.
Corinth became the seat of the Corinthian League, but losing a war against Philip II of Macedon (338 BCE) this ‘honor’ was a Macedonian garrison being stationed on the Acrocorinth acropolis overlooking the city.
A succession of Hellenistic kings took control of the city – starting with Ptolemy I and ending with Aratus in 243 BCE when Corinth joined the Achaean League. However, the worst was yet to come, when the Roman commander Lucius Mummius sacked the city (146 BCE).
A brighter period was when Julius Caesar took charge (in 44 BCE) and organized the agricultural land into organized plots (centuriation) for distribution to Roman settlers. The city once more flourished, by the 1st century CE it became an important administrative and trade center again. In addition, following St. Paul’s visit between 51 and 52 CE, Corinth became the center of early Christianity in Greece. In a public hearing, the saint had to defend himself against accusations from the city’s Jewish that his preaching undermined the Mosiac Law. The pro-consul Lucius Julius Gallio judged that Paul had not broken any Roman law and so was permitted to continue his teachings. From the 3rd century, CE Corinth began to decline and the Germanic tribes attacked the city.
THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
In Greek Corinth, there were cults to Aphrodite (protector of the city), Apollo, Demeter Thesmophoros, Hera, Poseidon and Helios and various buildings to cult heroes, the founders of the city. In addition, there were several sacred springs, the most famous being Peirene. Unfortunately, the destruction in 146 BCE erased much of this religious past. In Roman Corinth, Aphrodite, Poseidon and Demeter did continue to be worshipped along with the Roman gods.
The site today, first excavated in 1892 CE by the Greek Archaeological Service, is dominated by the Doric peripteral Temple of Apollo (550-530 BCE), originally with 6 columns on the façades and 15 on the long sides. A particular feature of the temple is the use of monolithic columns rather than the more commonly used column drums. Seven columns remain standing today.
The majority of the other surviving buildings date from the 1st century CE in the Roman era and include a large forum, a temple to Octavia, baths, the Bema where St. Paul addressed the Corinthians, the Asklepeion temple to Asclepius and a centre of healing, fountains – including the monumental Peirine fountain complex (2nd century CE) – a propylaea, theatre, odeion, gymnasium and stoas. There are also the remains of three basilicas.
Archaeological finds at the site include many fine mosaics – notably the Dionysos mosaic – Greek and Roman sculpture – including an impressive number of busts of Roman rulers.
The steep rock of the Acrocorinth rises to the south-west of ancient Corinth, surmounted by the fortress, also called the Acrocorinth, which was the fortified citadel of ancient and medieval Corinth and the most important fortification work in the area from antiquity until the Greek War of Independence in 1821. It is 575 m. high and its walls are a total of almost 2.000 m. in length.
The ascent to Acrocorinth – Acrocorinthos, is facilitated by a road which climbs to a point near the lowest gate on the west side. This commanding site was fortified in ancient times and its defenses were maintained and developed during the Byzantine, Frankish, Turkish and Venetian periods. After a moat (alt. 380 m -1247 feet) constructed by the Venetians follow the first gate, built in the Frankish period (14th,c.) and the first wall 15th c. then come the second and third walls (Byzantine: on the right, in front of the third gate, a Hellenistic tower). Within the fortress we follow a path running northeast to the remains of a mosque (16th c.) and then turn south until we join a path leading up to the eastern summit, on which there once stood the famous Temple of Aphrodite, worshipped here after the Eastern fashion (views of the hills of the Peloponnese and of Isthmus).
Parts of roughly dressed polygonal masonry allow us to suppose that the Acrocorinth was fortified as early as the time of the Kypselid tyranny (late 7th c. early 6th c. BCE). The surviving parts of the ancient fortifications, however, which are at many points beneath the medieval enceinte, belong mainly to the 4th c. BCE. In 146 BCE, Mummius destroyed the fortifications of the lower city and the Acropolis. The destroyed sections were subsequently reconstructed. During the Middle Ages, the Acrocorinth was of prime importance for the defense of the entire Peloponnese and held out against the attacks of the barbarians. The Byzantines sporadically repaired the walls, especially after hostile raids (by the Slavs, Normans and others) and added new fortifications on the west side of the fortress. In 1210, after a five-year siege, the Acrocorinth was captured by Otto de la Roche and Geoffroy I Villehardouin and was incorporated in the Frankish principate of Achaea. In the middle of this century, William Villehardouin extended the fortifications of the fortress, to be followed in this by the Angevin Prince John Gravina at the beginning of the 14th c.
In 1358 the Acrocorinth passed to the Florentine banker Niccolo Acciajuoli and in 1394 to Theodoros I Palaiologos despot of Mystras. Apart from a brief occupation by the Knights of Rhodes from 1400-1404, the fortress remained in Byzantine hands until 1458, when it was captured by the Ottoman Turks. The Venetians made themselves masters of the Acrocorinth from 1687 to 1715, after which it reverted once more to the Turks until the Greek Uprising of 1821. The approach to the fortress is from the west side. The walls have an irregular shape, which was dictated by the form of the terrain and remained the same in general terms from the Classical period to modern times. Three successive zones of fortifications, with three imposing gateways, lead to the interior of the fortress. The fact that the same material was used for extensions or repairs to the walls frequently makes it difficult to distinguish the building phases or assign a date to them.
Kechries Ancient Port:
In ancient times, Kenchreai was one of the two ports of the inland city-state of Corinth. While Kenchreai served the eastern trade routes via the Saronic Gulf, Lechaion on the Corinthian Gulf served the trade routes leading west to Italy. Situated on the eastern side of the Isthmus of Corinth, Kenchreai sat at a natural crossroads for ships arriving from the east and overland traffic heading north and south between central Greece and the Peloponnese.
It has been inhabited from early times, probably in prehistory, on account of the deep natural harbor that was favorable for landing ships. The area is endowed with abundant water sources, massive bedrock of oolitic limestone that is excellent building stone, and several defensible positions with good viewpoints. The name of the site seems to derive from the ancient Greek word for millet.
The earliest sources reveal that there was a permanent settlement and a fortified naval station but few archaeological remains survive from this early settlement.
Kenchreai flourished during the Roman Empire, when the settlement was focused around the crescent-shaped harbor enclosed by massive concrete breakwaters and protected by sea-walls. The local community was small but prosperous and it was distinguished by its social, cultural and religious diversity. Ancient inscriptions attest to the presence of cults of Aphrodite, Isis, Asklepios, Poseidon, Dionysos and Pan.
Christianity also arrived early in the religion’s history. According to Acts 18:18, Apostle Paul stopped at Kenchreai during his 2nd missionary journey after leaving Corinth in 52-3 AD heading to Ephesus.
Archaeological evidence indicates that trade with other Mediterranean regions continued into the 7th c. Historical and geographical texts of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine eras indicate that Kenchreai was still used by travelers and Imperial expeditions. While the ancient harbor could still receive ship traffic after antiquity, the archaeological evidence for medieval occupation is thin and any permanent settlement must have been smaller than in ancient times.
All cancellations must be confirmed by Olive Sea Travel.
Regarding the Day Tours:
Cancellations up to 24 hours before your service date are 100% refundable.
- Licensed Tour Guides and Hotels are external co-operators & they have their own cancellation policy.
- Apart from the above cancellation limits, NO refunds will be made. If though, you fail to make your appointment for reasons that are out of your hands, that would be, in connection with the operation of your airline or cruise ship or strikes, extreme weather conditions or mechanical failure, you will be refunded 100% of the paid amount.
- If your cancellation date is over TWO (2) months away from your reservation date, It has been known for third-party providers such as credit card companies, PayPal, etc. to charge a levy fee usually somewhere between 2-4%.
- Olive Sea Travel reserves the right to cancel your booking at any time, when reasons beyond our control arise, such as strikes, prevailing weather conditions, mechanical failures, etc. occur. In this unfortunate case, you shall be immediately notified via the email address you used when making your reservation and your payment WILL be refunded 100%.