The Peloponnese is a peninsula and geographic region in southern Greece. The peninsula is connected to the central part of the country by the Isthmus of Corinth, which separates the Saronic Gulf from the Gulf of Corinth. The peninsula was known as Morea during the late Middle Age and Ottoman era. Though the Peloponnese may look like an island, it is rarely referred to as one, especially since the construction of the Corinth Canal in 1893. The peninsula has two land connections with Greece. The natural one being the Isthmus of Corinth and the man-made one being the Rio-Antirrio Bridge, which was completed in 2004.
The Peloponnese peninsula has a rather mountainous interior, while the coasts are deeply indented. The Peloponnese has four south-pointing peninsulas: the Messenian, the Mani, the Cape Malea, and the Argolid. The highest mountain in the Peloponnese is Mount Taygetus in the south, which is 2,407 meters. The longest river in the Peloponnese is the Alfeios in the west, which runs 110 km long. This is followed by the Evrotas in the south, which runs 82 km long.
The name of the peninsula is derived from ancient Greek mythology coming from the hero Pelops who was said to have conquered the region. The name Peloponnese means “Island of Pelops.”
The Peloponnese is home to many important archaeological sites. Bassae is an ancient town and Greece’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was constructed between 450 BC and 400 BC. This archaeological site is in Oichalia. The Temple of Apollo Epikourios is found here. The temple is said to have been designed by Iktinos, who was an architect at Athens of the Parthenon. Another archaeological site is Koroni. Koroni is a medieval seaside fortress and city walls.
Administrative Region for Peloponnese, Greece
Divided among three regions: Peloponnes, West Greece, and Attica.
Area of Peloponnese, Greece
21,549.6 km2 (8,320.3 sq mi)
Population of Peloponnese, Greece
Top Attractions in Peloponnese, Greece
Ancient Olympia – The home of the original Olympic Games. Take a guided tour or explore the area yourself. You can see the gymnasium, wrestling school, the Temple of Zeus, and so much more.
Sanctuary of Asklepios – The ruins of a healing center from ancient times. People would go there to be cured of disease and illness. It is located next to the Ancient Theatre in Epidaurus.
Palia Epidaurus Beach – Within walking distance of the village of Ancient Epidaurus. This beach has lovely sand, pebbled paths, and clear water. Pine trees surround two restaurants that are nearby.
Cathedral of Agios Demetrios – Located at the Ancient Site in Mystras. The cathedral was founded in 1292 AD. The three-aisled basilica and bell tower were built in the 13th century and the upper floor added in the 15th. The wall paintings inside are painted in different styles as well.
The Lion Gate of Mycenae – This gate marks the entrance to the fortified citadel of Mycenae. The gate is 10 feet wide with two lions were inscribed on a stone above the gate, but were plundered. During ancient times, a wooden door shut the entrance.
Cyclopean Walls – These walls are made of limestone boulders. The large size of the boulders had the ancient people believing they could only have been moved by Cyclopes himself. The wall dates back to the 13th century AD.
Ancient Theatre of Gythio – Originally built in the 1st century, it was renovated under Roman Emporer Augustus. The theatre is located on a hill above the town. The seats were all made of stone, except for the first row, which was made of marble.
Trinisa Beach – 7 km north of Gythio. A family friendly beach that is partly organized. This is a good beach for windsurfing and other water sports as it can get windy.
The Church of Agia Ermioni – A small chapel dating back to 1754. The church was built on the foundations of an ancient temple. It is located in a pine forest close to the town of Ermioni.
Town Beach – Within walking distance of Ermioni. This beach featues small pebbled coves at the backside of the port. Town Beach is not organized but there are fish taverns and cafes surrounding the area.
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