Peloponnese, the island of Pelops, is the southernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula. It looks like a plane tree leaf and that is why it was formerly called “Morias”. It has dry climate on the east, cold, snow and rich vegetation in its central and mountainous parts and rain and heat on the west.
The landscape of Peloponnese
The landscape shows a wide variety: There are kilometers of fantastic sandy and pebble beaches and bays. In particular in the northwestern and southwestern parts of Peloponnese, all along the coast large choices of still not crowded beaches with clear waters are offered. The southern middle part of Peloponnese offers a great variety of bays (pebble, rocky and sandy) and touristically developed villages with still Greek traditional atmosphere.
The mountain ranges (up to 2.407m) give the extra beauty especially to the southern and middle part of Peloponnese and offer a great opportunity for climbing, hiking and long excursions.
History of the Peloponnese
People settled in Peloponnese from the middle Paleolithic era (circa 100.000 years B.C.). The Greek civilization began during the Copper era and after 2000 B.C. came in the area the First Greeks. Few centuries later, Mycenaeans are the center of Greek world. Excavations verify the legend of Homeric Mycenaean, while the ruins in Pylos match the references for the well-known King Nestor’s palace in west Peloponnese.
In 1200 B.C. Dorian and Aetoli arrive in Peloponnese and construct Korinthos, Argos and Sparta. The Olympic Games where athletes from all over Greece participate take place in Olympia every four years. After centuries Fillip the Macedonian arrives in Peloponnese and then the Romans. In 393 B.C. the Byzantines abolish the Olympic Games, in 1294 arrive the Franks and later the Turks. In 1827 after the sea battle in Navarino ends the Ottoman/Egyptian occupation and Peloponnese becomes the first part of new independent Greece.
The history and culture of the Peloponnese are a part of the world’s heritage that can be discovered by visitors via a plethora of well-maintained monuments covering all of the periods of the region’s history and, what’s more, all located within a few kilometers of each other.
Culture of Peloponnese
The Peloponnese is home to Epidaurus, Mycenae and Olympia, as well as to some of the most stunning castles in Greece. This is where the country’s medieval history is best documented, in the fortified town of Monemvasia, Mystras, Nafplio and Pylos. Here you will find countless Byzantine monasteries and chapels, ancient temples and Ottoman mosques, baths and pre – Industrial Era monuments from the 19th century standing beside Neolithic settlements and Mycenean bridges.
The Peloponnese is also the stuff of legends. It is here that Hercules fought the Nemean lion and gods walked the earth, meddling in mortal affairs; it’s from here that Paris of Troy eloped with Helen and the Argonauts set sail in search of the Golden Fleece. Celestial and mythological charms aside, this region bears tangible traces of the many civilizations that once called it home, witnessed in its classical temples, Mycenaean palaces, Byzantine cities, and Ottoman, Frankish and Venetian fortresses.
Peloponnese has two airports with international Charter flight traffic and domestic flights. Kalamata Airport in the south and Araxos Airport in the north-west. From the mainland access is granted through the two bridges, in the east bridging the Isthmus of Corinth, in the north-west the great Rio-Antirio-Bridge, close to Patras.
Also Athens Airport is used by a large number of travelers in order to visit the Peninsula – due to the improved roads and highways.