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Modern Corinth is on the gulf and is basically a shipping city. There’s a pedestrian part that’s nice enough, but it’s not a tourist destination the way Nafplio is. I walked around town a bit, but decided to stay in for the evening. I did have a cat come through my window and hang out with me:
The next morning, I woke up early and had breakfast before heading to Acrocorinth. The ride up was *harrowing* and another typical no-guardrail situation that left me with knuckles whitened. I could not even imagine a bus taking on those hairpin turns, and was SHOCKED to see buses in the parking lot later.
I arrived when the site opened, and had the place more or less to myself for a couple hours. Acrocorinth is basically a huge hill (mountain? I don’t know – I was still harrowed!) overlooking Ancient Corinth and the gulf. It was fortified throughout history and basically maintained as a whole hillside village. There aren’t many actual ruins (see hilltop wind, rain, etc. like on Mycenae), but it’s got some cool vistas and things on the hill to see. The whole thing is 60 acres, according to my handy dandy guidebook.
|That's the parking lot down there and yes, buses have arrived!|
|Ancient Corinth from above.|
The first climbing point is the Frankish Fort. This was locked when I got there, but it’s a boxy sort of castle on east side of the hill. More no-guardrail situations, but most of this side of the fort had what’s called a Cyclopean Wall (with stones so big they were moved by Cyclops, of course…). It took about thirty minutes for me to climb up there, and at points, we’re talking full-on hike.
|Vista from Frankish Fort|
After that, I went to find the Temple of Aphrodite at the very top of the hill, but on the other side. This was by far the best view, but there was very little of anything left to see in terms of ruins. You can, however, see 37 miles in all directions.
Lastly, I went to the Peirene Spring, which is how the fortification withstood siege. You can actually walk down into the first vaulted chamber (the lower one is flooded), and it’s so amazing that this architecture existed so long ago.
Also, on my way down, I saw this view. It really reminded me of Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones:
After finishing up at Acrocorinth, I wanted to head back down the hill. A bus had blocked me in, so I had to do some semi-masterful maneuvering and some off-roading with my little Toyota Argo. I feel like this is the day that made me FINALLY feel decent about my driving skills in a stick shift.
I drove back down the hill/mountain and it was far less harrowing on the inside of the road. Ancient Corinth was a bit confusing and my GPS gave up, but I eventually found some parking and went on foot to the site. Once again, it’s an archeological site and a small museum. I started with the site.
|That hill/mountain in the background is Acrocorinth.|
Ancient Corinth is in pretty good shape and has good interpretation (signage, etc.), possibly owing to the number of people who come here to follow in Paul’s footsteps. The whole site is *vast* and you really get a sense of how magnificent the city was at its peak. At one point, it had a population of 750,000, and it really shows. You can get a feel for the business district and the residential areas, and it’s clear that they had a good water system and high-rise apartments. The city was made wealthy by its control of the isthmus between the gulfs (which later was made into a canal), and the wealth is obvious, even in ruins.
|This is where you begin to feel how densely populated the city was.|
|This was a fountain, and it's massive. You can definitely imagine that this was the "place to be" socially.|
|This was a row of shops on the main street.|
And when I got to the bema, where Paul was put on trial and accused of sacrilege, it was a cool experience. I am not religious, but I have read the Bible a few times, and as I stood there, a group of young men read the passage from Acts out loud that describes Paul standing in that very spot.
…and like… that’s a cool thing. It is a cool thing to be able to imagine someone (anyone, really) from history standing in the very place you’re standing. When that someone stood there ~two thousand years ago, it makes it even cooler. History is cool. Pretty much the whole time I was in Corinth, I was trying to figure out why I didn’t like History more when I was younger.
Lastly, I had a great lunch at Marino’s, and strongly recommend it.
That evening, I walked from Corinth to the canal. It wasn’t as impressive as I’d hoped and it was a super long walk (I hit 27k steps this day, for the record!), but you know… I did the thing.