The Largest Fort in the Peloponnese
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The acropolis of ancient Corinth, is huge 575m high rock overlooking the city of Ancient Corinth. It was first a Greek acropolis, then a Roman citadel and later it became a Byzantine fortress. The site is a typical example of castle architecture built in successive phases, as it was the fortress of both ancient and medieval Corinth.
Acrocorinth Time Line.
- 6th century BC: The first fortification by the Corinthians
- 4th century BC: Repaired by the Macedonians
- 146 BC: Destroyed by the invading Romans
- 44 BC: Repaired by Julius Caesar
- 6th century AD: Renovated by Justinia
- End 12th century: Ruled by Leon Sgouros
- 1210: Captured by the Franks
- 1400: Bought by the Knights of St John
- 1404: Possession of the Despotate of Moreas
- 1458: Captured by the Ottomans
- 1687: Occupied and restored by Venetians
- 1715: Recaptured by the Turks
- 1827: Surrendered to Greeks
The outer walls total are approximately 3,000 metres in length, making it the largest fortress in the Peloponnese and one of the most important in the region, strategically situated at the entrance to the Morea. Three defensive walls lead via three gates to the interior, covering 240,000 square metres, where building ruins of all periods still survive.
The first gate was built in the 14th century . A moat was cut out of the rock to provide a defense against attack. In 1965-66 the bridge over the dry moat and the guard house at the entrance were restored.
The Venetians were responsible for building the second gate which has a tower to one side.
Gate three has two rectangular towers on either side. The one on the right is mostly from the 4th century BC, while the other one is Byzantine. Most of the walls in this area are also Byzantine.
Sections of the wall date from ancient pre-Christian times, the Byzantine period, the Franks, the Venetian domination and the Turkish occupation. On the south-west side of the castle a two-storey keep and enclosure built by the Franks was modified under Ottoman rule.
The keep of the castle is in the Frankish sections where there are the remains of the castle of the Villehardouin, who held it in the 13 C and 14 C. From here there are magnificent views over the gulf of Corinth.
Steps lead down into a chamber in the Peirene Spring, there is also a lower chamber which is flooded. The roof of the building was added by the Romans.
There's a legend associated with this spring that the winged horse Pegasus stamped its hoof and created the spring but while he was drinking from the water he was captured by Bellerophon.
Conservation and restoration work has been taken place on various parts of the wall and on some of the buildings. The Spring received conservation and protective work around 1930.
The highest peak on the site was home to a temple to Aphrodite which was converted to a church, and then became a mosque
The Temple of Aphrodite stands on the highest section of the site. The temple is in the process of being rebuilt. The temple area was the centre of religious prostitution and it was claimed that 1,000 prostitues worked here. As a result Acrocorinth had a notorious reputation.
From here the views are fantastic. You can see beyond Corinth to Mount Parnassus in the north, then towards Attica in the east, and on to the mountains of the Peloponnese in the south.
Acrocorith is well worth the drive up the hill. I visited at the end of September and it was not too hot and not many visitors.
The site is very big with a lot of ground to cover. You definitely need water and a strong pair of shoes as some of the paths are quite difficult as they are very rough and with lots of stones.
There is a very nice cafe near the car park.
I have recently been made an honorary member of ecotourism-greece.
You can visit their site here. ECOTOURISM-greece.com
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