Departure from Athens: 9.00 am
Return in Athens: 2:00 pm
Highlights: Driving along the scenic west coast of Attica, after a short stop at the Corinth Canal with its breathtaking views, the tour reaches the ancient town of Corinth (visit), where St. Paul lived and preached for two years. Back in the ancient times, Corinth was amongst the richest cities and this is quite evident by its remains, including the huge Agora and Apollo’s Temple (6th c. BC). Return to Athens in time for lunch.
The Corinth Channel ( 30 minutes long stop) is a unique place, from where you can see at the same time two seas, Aegean Sea and Ionian Sea. The first one who tried to dig the canal, was Emperor Nero. The eccentric guy of the world's history brought vessels with 6000 slaves and personally initiated the digging with the golden spatula, marking in such a way the beginning of this process. Theoretically, the channel should be completed during the life time of Nero, but this pyromaniac died before he could see it complete, and the channel remained unfinished. Eventually, it was successfully completed in the end of 19th century (and not by any of his ancestors)
The site of ancient Corinth
The site of ancient Corinth was first inhabited in the Neolithic period (6500-3250 B.C.). The peak period of the city, though, started in the 8th century B.C, when Corinth became one of the leading powers of the Greek world, founder of colonies in the west Mediterranean, such as Syracuse, and lasted until its destruction by the Roman general Lucius Mummius in 146 B.C. Representative of its wealth and pioneering spirit in architecture, is the Doric temple of Apollo which was built in 540 B.C.
The city was re-inhabited in 44 B.C. and gradually developed again. In 51/52 A.D., Apostle Paul visited Corinth. The centre of the Roman city was organised to the south of the temple of Apollo and included shops, small shrines, fountains, baths and other public buildings. The invasion of the Herulians in A.D. 267 , initiated the decline of the city, though it remained inhabited for many centuries through successive invasions and destructions, until it was liberated from the Turks in 1822. Limited excavations were conducted in 1892 and 1906 by the Archaeological Society of Athens under the direction of A. Skias. The systematic excavations of the area, initiated by the American School of Classical Studies in 1896, are still continuing today.
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) northeast of the ancient ruins. According to Hellenic myth, the city was founded by Corinthos, a descendant of the god Helios (the Sun), while other myths suggest that it was founded by the goddess Ephyra, a daughter of the Titan Oceanus, thus the ancient name of the city (also Ephyra). There is evidence that the city was destroyed around 2000 BC.
Ancient Corinth, the original City of Corinth, was founded in the 10th Century BCE and was the largest city in ancient Greece. More importantly, Corinth was ancient Greece’s richest port. Corinth had been re-founded by Julius Caesar as a Roman colony in 44 BCE. It was to this megalopolis where the Apostle Paul came, worked and established a thriving church, subsequently sending two of his epistles, now part of the New Testament
Corinth was known as an especially "wild” city and had a reputation for licentiousness. It was a city that was used to coin one of the Greek words for "fornicate”, which was korinthiazomai ! This reputation was based, in part, on the ancient Greek historian Strabo's report that there were 1,000 sacred prostitutes in the temple of Aphrodite on the Acrocorinth, which was an 1,886-foot hill that rises above the City of Corinth to the south.
The wealth of Corinth rested largely on control of trade in western Mediterranean. In the late 6th century Corinth sought to maintain this commercial hegemony by mediating conflicts arising between its neighbors, specifically Athens, Thebes and Sparta, and by contributing to the Pan Hellenistic efforts against Persian attempts to subdue Greece.