Visiting the Corinth Canal
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The Corinth Canal is a man made canal that is located near Corinth, Greece. Those who are driving from Athens to the Peloponnese will be able to catch a glimpse of it. Not only that, but the canal is beautiful enough to visit all on its own. From Athens, it’s just a little over an hour drive. Here’s a look at what to see and do while here:
Getting to the Corinth Canal
A navigational route completed in 1893, the Corinth Canalconnects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf. Like other canals, the Corinth Canal shortens the distance for ships wishing to enter the sea. Unfortunately, this canal is too narrow for large modern vessels, so they must travel around the Greek mainland or the peninsula of Peloponnese. (Peloponnese is still considered a peninsula even though the narrow canal makes it an island.) This canal is, nevertheless, a lifeline for smaller freight and cruise ships and tour boats that want to enter the Aegean Sea. It takes about an hour and twenty minutes to get there by car from Athens. You can also take a bus or even a taxi from the city in order to see it.
About the Corinth Canal
The concept of a canal between Greece and Peloponnese was conceived in 602 B.C. under the rule of Periander, the tyrant of Corinth. However, fearing the wrath of the gods for his unattainable idea, he abandoned it. Instead, a stone road called the diolkós was constructed, and smaller ships were transported on platforms with wheels from one Gulf to the other. Larger vessels had their cargoes carried from one gulf’s shore to the other where a different vessel waited nearby.
Demetrios Poliorkitis, Julius Caesar, Caligula and Hadrian were other rulers who also conceived a canal between the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf. However, sinister prophesies and assassinations delayed action. In the seventh century, the emperor Nero had slaves break through rock and construct trenches. Nearly a tenth of the canal was built then.
In 1830 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Greek governor Capodistrias revived the concept of a canal but lacked the finances to begin construction. Finally, in 1882 development started, and after more financial roadblocks, the passageway was finished in 1893. This canal is nearly four miles long and is 26 feet deep. Its width varies between 69 feet and 82 feet. It still stands today and boasts some amazing views!
What to Do at the Corinth Canal
Tourists can pass through the canal in a boat and even bungee jump off its bridge. Also, there are several tours you can take that involve the canal. One is with a driver/guide in a private vehicle in the Mythical Peloponnese region from the Corinth canal. The guide takes tourists from sea level up to the lovely mountains and back to the coastline. Tourists experience wine yards, olive groves, charming mountain villages, and gorge and river views. Included is a visit to the Mega Spilaio Monastery from the fourth century that has marble floors, wood carvings, and famous wine cellars. It is also possible to take tours, most of which depart from Athens.
A trip to Greece and the Corinth Canal is a delightful historical journey into interesting cultures of the past and present. This canal is definitely worth seeing while you’re in Greece!
This post was written by Greek Boston