The History of Nafplio

nafplio tourNafplio is the port of Argos on the Aegean Sea and the best preserved medieval town on mainland Greece. The town of Nafplio was invincible, duo to its castles Palamidi, Ancronafplia and Bourtzi. Nafplio means "port", "Naus" means ship and "pleo" is to sail". In Latin, "Naus" became "nave" and in English "navy" and "nautical". It was inhabited in the Neolithic period, according to the archaeological evidence. Local mythology has it that it took the name "Nafplia" from the hero Nauplios who was its founder. He was the son of Poseidon and Amymone and connected with the Danaid family on his mother's side.

As a very young man he took part in the expedition of the Argonauts and he had a very long life, because he was still active after the Trojan war. The resourceful Palamides is considered to be the son of Nauplius. Palamides when became the king of Nafplio, joined Agamemnon at the Trojan war and with the king Ulysses of Ithaca, were the smartest ones of the army. The castle, named after him was designed by the French engineer Lassalle and built at 1705 AD. It has 7 towers and in order to go up there, one has to climb 999 steps. The construction was financed by Venetians, at the high economic pick of Venice. Venetians conquer harbors from the Turks, build castles in order to secure their dominion and practice duty free trade, without paying any port authorities. This is the reason for the enormous wealth they gathered in Venice on one hand and on the other hand for the big number of their castles all over Greece.

At 30 of November 1821, during the Greek war of independence, Staikos Staikopoulos got first in the Palamidi Castle.The Turks never re-conquered it. In 1828 Nafplio became the capital of the newly constituted Greek state until 1834, when the capital was transferred to Athens.

The town of Nafplio hosts some very interesting museums, like the one of Folk Art and the Archaeological museum, which is housed in the very impressive building of the Venetian Hospital. In it, the admirable collection of Mycenaean ceramics is kept, part of which is a unique clay wine-cooler and one also unique Mycenaean armor.

Also very important sites are:

• The medieval Venetian castle Palamidi

• Akronafplia, which is built at the foot of the castle on three different levels

• Bourtzi, it is a rock island at the entrance of the harbor, fortified by the Venetians in 1471 and connected to Akronafplia with a heavy chain. It used to control the naval traffic towards Nafplio

• The relics of the Mycenaean citadel of the prehistoric city of Tirintha near the homonymous village, 7 km north of Nafplio. The city was destroyed in mid 5th century. West of Tirintha you can find the archaeological site of Lerna, which was a significant trading center during the early Copper Age

• The Sintagma square with the two Turkish mosques, one of which hosted the meeting of the first Greek Parliament

.• The building of the School Evelpidon (Army Cadets Academy) which hosts the War Museum, with a multitude of exhibits from the more contemporary military history of the area and the War Office of the first Greek Government

• The historical church of Agios Spiridonas - outside of which the first governor of Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias was murdered

 

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