May 17th; Corinth, Mycenae, Náfplio

Corinth; Corinth Canal
This canal which stretches a mere 2 km took 12 years' worth of work (finished in 1893) and ranks along with the Suez Canal and the more recent Panama Canal as great engineering feats.  Corinth was once a great Greek city state and later a Roman capital.  The canal actually made the Peloponnese an island as the tiny isthmus connecting it to the greater portion of Greece was divided.  There were no ships this time out, but the last time I saw the canal, a small tug boat was slowly leading a large ship through.  It is a very slow process apparently but faster than going all the way around the Peloponnese.

Mycenae; Lion's Gate
At the center of this photo is the "Lion's Gate" of the ancient citadel of Mycenae.  The gate represented the main entrance and it was one of the few obviously symbolic artifacts found at the site.  To me, it was amazing to walk through an entrance to a complex that was 3,300 years old.  Henrich Schliemann discovered the ruins Mycenae in 1876 and found (and looted) many treasures including the famous golden "Mask of Agamemnon".

       Mycenae; Inner Complex
Inside the inner complex were a jumble of ruins but it was still possible to imagine what the fortified city would have looked like in its prime.  It was a nice little hike up to the top and you definitely had to watch your step lest you trip and fall over a three millennium year old block of stone.

Mycenae; Royal Tombs
These are the elaborate royal tombs where Schliemann found a cache of Mycenaean treasure.  Note how well preserved the inner structures are.  The whole citadel of Mycenae was buried for centuries which explains why it was found in such good condition.

Mycenae; Highest Point
Finally at the top!  Obviously a great spot for a fortified city as it is easy to see the entire plain below.  Enemies could easily be spotted well before they reached the city's walls.  As will be the case in many photos, this shot doesn't do the actual view justice!

Mycenae; Outer Wall
Another shot from the top showing the outer wall of the citadel.  Note once again how well preserved it is after thirty-three centuries.

Mycenae; Tholos Tomb of Artreus
This tomb is also known as the Treasury of Artreus or more commonly the Beehive Tomb.  You could go inside and see the domed stone ceiling (forty-four feet high!) which must have been very difficult to construct.  Tombs such as these were built into hillsides to hide their location from would-be thieves.

Mycenae; Citadel
This is a view of the citadel from a distance and it shows its basic outline.  In the background is Mt. Hegias Elias.

Náfplio; Palamídi Fortress
Náfplio was a quiet seaside village just south of Mycenae.  The village was relatively small with just the right mix of shops and restaurants.  The fortress in this photo was built by the Venetians in the 18th century and given its location, it must have been nearly impregnable.

Náfplio; Palamídi Fortress
It was a tough climb to the top (857 steps in all) and it was a very warm day, but the effort was worth it.  This photo is from the base of the fortress and the city below is Náfplio.  The little fortified islet on the right of the photo is called Bourtzi.  From this height, it was easy to take in the entire little village (lower right).

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