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Introduction to Nauplion ...
To the casual visitor, Nauplion is a sleepy harbour town with a assive fortress overlooking it and a smaller one in the harbour. The town is Italianate in character but its streets and buildings are more modern than its history should suggest. In fact, Nauplion was the capital of modern Greece for a sizeable part of the middle 1800s, was devastated by a Turkish siege in the 1820s and the scene of more fighting and political murder later on. Until the capital was moved to Athens in , Nauplion was the principal city of modern Greece. It remains an excellent base for visiting the Bronze Age and Classical sites of the Peloponnesus, located as it is within easy reach of Tiryns, Mycenae and Argolis. The people of Poros and Galatas routinely take the bus to Nauplion to shop in its supermarkets, unless they decide to go by ferry to Aegina or Piraeus.
The bulleted list above is the chronological order of the main sites. .
Ancient Tiryns :
This long and narrow whaleback of a ridge just north of Nauplion still has the Cyclopean masonry walls and some other ruins dating back to the Bronze Age. The legendary home of Menelaus and his wife Helen, this is covered by the page on Mycenae and Tiryns >>>.
Ancient Nauplia :
The city-state of Nauplia was south of the modern city. The writer has not visited it, but suggests visitors follow this link for More details >>>.
Palamidi (Palamid, Palamides) Fortress :
The Palamidi Fortress strongly resembles Edinburgh Castle both in its size and its position, an almost impregnable position right up to the end of the Nineteenth Century.
Bourtzi Harbour Fortress :
Originally built by the Venetians as a way of defending this important harbour, the Bourtzi Harbour Fortress at Nauplion is frequently confused with the much later Bourtzi Island and Haydek's Fort off Sferia island at Poros. The Nauplion Bourtzi became a key element in the defence of Nauplion against the attacks of the Hellenic Navy. Laskaria Boubolina's 'Agamemnon' brig may have bombarded the fort at one time.
Aghios Spyridion Church :
This Church is significant for one major reason - the first and only Governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias, was murdered at dawn on 9th October 1831 outside this Church when coming to attend mass. This devastating loss of Greek identity made it possible for the Great Powers to place Otto of Bavaria on the throne of Greece, beginning a cycle of interference that marred the development of Greece (Hellas) as an independent nation. The assassination was done by the two brothers (George and Constantine) of the hero Petrobey Mavromichaelis, who had been imprisoned by Kapodistrias for refusing to obey orders of the new government. As Mavromichaelis had kidnapped members of the new government, Kapodistrias had actually been rather lenient. Constantine was killed by two orderlies of Kapodistrias, George escaped to the French resident's house and (after briefly being lodged in the Bourtzi fort) was surrendered to the Greek authorities and executed on 22nd October.
George Finlay's 'History of the Greek Revolution' makes it clear that neither Mavromichaelis nor Kapodistrias was without fault, but at the same time Finlay is biased against Kapodistrias through his not being a British appointee.
Old Railway Station :
The Southern Railway in Greece now runs nowhere closer than the city of Argos, but at one time there was a ten-kilometer spur to the station near the harbour at Nauplion. The harbour has been largely reclaimed, but the romantic Greeks have left the remains of the station, a steam engine and some carriages, largely isolated by land used as car parks and industrial sites.
World War II Pillbox :
The Second World War began for Greece with "Ochi !" (No !) the refusal of Greece to let Italy occupy Greece as part of Mussolini's imperial dreams. The Nazis proved only too willing to help Mussolini when his troops were rebuffed, so there was heavy fighting and active resistance throughout Greece, at a time when Britain was Greece's only ally in a desperate fight. The pillbox was seen at the roadside on the way north along the road towards and past Tiryns, an unexpected find that was not photographed. It is similar in size and appearance to the British Type 24 pillbox, but needs to be examined and photographed. It is unclear whether this was a Greek pillbox or one erected by the occupying Germans as a defence against an invasion by Allied forces.
© 2007 Richard Edkins, Dalbeattie Internet.