The fortress of Palamidi in Nafplion is famous and well known for the 999 steps leading to it. Legend has it that the horse of Kolokotronis (Old Man of Morea), crushed the last one of the steps with its hoof! Do not worry about counting those 999 steps though; instead we will reach the front gate of the fortress at 11:00 a.m. by bus, after a short stopover at the Corinth canal to admire the view.
The legendary Palamidi is our first destination. It all started in 1686, when the Venetians reclaimed Nafplion from the Turks and decided to fortify the high hill east of the town to best protect it. The fortress was built at an altitude of 216 meters, and was named after the local mythical hero Palamidis. This new tall fortress right next to Akronafplia proved to be very important. It helped in the defence against new long range guns which had considerably greater fire power than the old ones, practically diminishing the importance of the older fortress.
However, in 1715 Ottomans conquered Nafplio once more, and ruled it for more than 100 years. Nafplio was liberated in 1822, when a team of fighters led by Staikos Staikopoulos, reclaimed the fortress by a surprise attack. The town remained under Greek rule ever since. After the Greek Revolution and until 1925, Palamidi was used as a prison. Theodoros Kolokotronis, one of the prominent leaders of the war of Independence was charged with High Treason and jailed there. The Old Man of Morea’s prison cell, is a dark dungeon, on the central bastion, of Agios Andreas. The entrance is through a doorway so small that one cannot enter without bending. It will be one of the sites to visit while at the fortress followed by the impressive big underground water reservoirs.
After concluding our visit in Palamidi, one of the most important achievements of Venetian fortification architecture, we head south for the next station of our journey, the Pyramid of Hellinikon. A small fort on the southwest edge of the plain of Argolis, near the source of Herasinos river. It dates back to late 4th century b.C., and it was considered to be a grave monument. Nowadays we know for sure that it was a small fort, used to control transportation routes. Such forts can also be found in other Argolida sites.
Finally, we will make a stop at the source of Herasinos river (Kefalari), at the foothills of mount Chaon, where water is emerging under the church of Zoodohos Pighi (Life – giving spring). Next to the church two big entrances lead to a big cave that was used as a hiding place during the 4 centuries of Turkish Occupation, and was probably used by General Theodoros Kolokotronis. The length of the cave is about 110 meters, and the cave itself is part of an underground river.
Findings were discovered belonging to the Palaeolithic period. There are also carved niches on the walls which were used for placing the votive offerings. The cave is exploited by the Church. This magnificent location is a true pole of attraction for travellers and we will have dinner in one of the many taverns adjacent to the site. There we can discuss over coffee those beautiful and interesting places we visited and the ones we will visit in the not too distant future.
Expression of interest: If you are interested in this excursion, let us know. Send us a message in our email address and when it is organized we will contact you, giving you all the necessary details.