A region of vast archaeological wealth, Argolida, home to the archaeological site of Mycenae and the great theater of Epidaurus, is not only famous for these monuments, but for tens of attractions spread throughout the region. Besides the archaeological attractions there is much more to Nafplion and Argos that the visitor should not miss.
Among orange groves, by the bay, next to settlements like Kranidi, Epidaurus, Hermione, Tolo and Porto Heli the visitors of Argolida will see monuments of the past fully integrated to the everyday life of the locals which are visited by thousands of people from around the world. Argolida offers tens of options to the visitors and terrabook.com suggests 8 attractions you should not miss!
The imposing castle that crowns Nafplion is equally impressive during day and night. Palamidi is an impressive feat of Venetian architecture and it is visible from the most part of the city. It was constructed in 1687 and it owes its name to the mythic hero of Trojan War, Palamidis.
During the regency of the 19th century Theodoros Kolokotronis was imprisoned in Palamidi. The castle is accessible through the road that connects to the eastern gate or by stairs, the 999 stairs that were built by convicts during the rule of Othon.
The jewel of the port of Nafplio is non other than the islet-fort, Mpourtzi, located 400 meters from the pier. It was built in the 15th century for protection against pirates and it is also called Castello dello Soglio (Castle of the Rock), «Porto Cadena» (chain port) and Thalassopyrgos (sea tower).
A tall hexagonal three storey tower is at the center of the islet with two low, semicircular towers for the cannons on the west and east side. A large chain was connected from Mpourtzi to the edge of Akronafplia and when enemy ships were approaching they were pulling the chain in order to close the entrance of the port.
In the 20th century Mpourtzi was renovated and converted to a hotel, while is also operated as a center of the Tourism Administration. Nowadays music events take place there every summer.
3. St. Nicholas Square
At the edge of the Nafplion’s beach, in front of the church of St. Nicholas, the square gathers a lot of people, locals and tourists alike. Inside the church the visitor can admire the wood-carved temple, the throne and the chandelier from Odessa, Ukraine.
Especially when the sun drops over the horizon, the view from St. Nicholas Square is magnificent while if you are there during a weekend you will probably witness a ceremony as this church is considered to be the most sought after in Nafplion for weddings and christenings.
4. Syntagma Square
This is the central and most historic square of Nafplion, hidden in the heart of the city. It exists as a square since the Ottoman Era and it acquired its current form during the time of Kapodistrias.
The paved square is surrounded by important monuments and buildings like Trianon, the Nafplion Archaeological Museum and the National Bank in front of which is the monument of Calliope Papalexopoulou and a carved Venetian lion.
At the center of the square lies a cube of black stone which was the base of an older solar clock while the centuries-old plane tree casts its shadow over the square.
Below the walls of Akronafplia, opposite the courthouse and in front of the first built buildings of the city is Gate of Xira(=land), another monument of Nafplion. It was named Gate of Xira (Porta di Terraferma) because when it was constructed (1708) it was the only entrance to the city from the land.
In front of it there was a water moat, from Akronafplia to the dockyard of Nafplion. Over the moat was a wooden, retractable bridge which was retracted after the sunset and whoever did not make it inside the walls until then had to spend the night outside the city..
6. Argos Neoclassical Market
At the heart of Argos is the the neoclassical market, next to the flea market of the city and the Kapodistrias barracks. For the locals it is the ‘old market’ or just the ‘market’, a meeting and reference point for the residents of the city.
The big and symmetrical building was designed by Ernst Ziller and was constructed in 1888. Nowadays, a cafeteria operates in its grounds while nearby lies the oldest theater of Greece, the ancient theater of Argos.
7. Elliniko Pyramid
A pyramid in Argolida? Yes, indeed! It is the Elliniko Pyramid which is located in the village Elliniko on the top of a hill. It is also known as Pyramid of Kenchreai and it is one of the most well preserved pyramids of Greece, built in 2700 BC.
The function of the pyramid is not clear as there are mixed references that is was a stronghold for the control of the roads, a burial monument, an altar or a fire tower (for communication with fire).
8. Kapodistria Barracks
The historic Kapodistria barracks lie at the heart of the city of Argos. From above they form a big Π and the building is constructed on the foundations of a Venetian structure.
It was built in 1824 and it served many functions throughout history; hospital of the Sisters of Mercy, school, post office, refugee shelter, it even hosted the first Panhellenic agricultural fair in 1899.
During the German occupation it was the building of interrogation and torture. Nowadays, the Municipal Band, the Municipal Theaterand the scouts are housed there while on the outdoor area cultural events take place. The west wing of the building hosts the first Byzantine Museum of Peloponnese.