We lost the Corinth Canal. Seriously we did.
About an hour and a half from Athens airport in our hire car we arrived at Ancient Corinth.
Unusually neither of us had done much research into this trip. We were both so busy doing other things that we simply booked the hire car and accommodation and took the flight to Athens. Picked up a map of the mainland on arrival at the airport and hoped that the route out wouldn’t be too confusing.
We found a well signposted and well kept highway, with stops to pay tolls ranging from 1 to 3 euros along the way. I was happy to be getting away and not paying much attention to the map, D was still in shell shock having only returned from Africa 2 days earlier. Before we knew it there was a sign for Ancient Corinth and Acrocorinth.
Turning off the main highway a little late we had to double back a little to get to Ancient Corinth. Poorly signposted and hidden among modern homes, we found parking and walked up the hill to the ancient site, picking up a guide book on the way from one of the small shops that lined the exit.
The site itself is large enough to spend an hour or two wandering around. There are some signs and explanation on the site but only in a few places. Without the guide book we wouldn’t have really known what we were looking at.
The site is dominated on a higher piece of ground by the remains of the Temple of Apollo. With 7 surviving columns. As we came passed the tourist shops it came into view with a large hill behind it in the distance with Acrocorinth on top.
The temple and the archeological site are impressive and worth the entrance fee of €6 each which included a basic map of the site. There are a few ropes in places to protect the site but you can get very close to everything. On a Sunny spring day in late April it was still warm wandering around with only a few trees across the site offering shade. Be prepared with bottled water and hats. There was one coach trip visiting while we were there, but the site is large enough that we hardly saw or heard them.
We’ve visited a few ancient sites in Greece, sometimes they can seem like a pile of stones, carefully laid out with no real idea of where they were originally. That’s also true of Ancient Corinth. However, there is also something very special about the place. There was a small raised section where I sat for a moment and read the inscription on a stone in Greek and English.
For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. 2 Corinthians 4.17
I’m not particularly religious, but there was something very moving about sitting there. On stone slabs that had been sat on by so many before they were worn slightly. There was a real sense of peace and of knowledge. This spot called the bema (tribunal) is where St. Paul spoke to the the Corinthians in AD52
There is a small area with ongoing archeological digging happening, though no-one was working the day we came. Although it was a hot dry day and the grass was turning brown there were still a few signs of Spring left with wild daisies and poppies growing among the ruins.
There was only one area I would have liked to get closer to. The Peirene Fountain was closed off at the entrance. You get glimpses inside of parts of the place but never quite get the whole picture. You can still hear the water flowing underground from natural springs.
The fountain has a few myths surrounding it:
- The favourite drinking spot for Pegasus the winged horse of legend.
- Pierene was a woman whose son was accidentally killed by Artemis and she cried so much she turned into a spring.
- Pegasus created the spring by smashing the ground with his hoof.
It was certainly once a very important building in the old city. Nearly 30 years ago my mother in law visited and having seen her pictures they could explore a bit more then.
From the fountain we then headed down the stone paved Lechaion road to the exit. We stopped in a Taverna for a much needed frappé, a look at the map and try to work out where the Corinth Canal went. Finding the Corinth Canal isn’t as easy as you’d think!
Are you planning on going or have you been to Ancient Corinth? If you liked this post and found it useful please share and leave a comment below. Thanks…