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Archaeological site of Ancient Corinth

The archaeological site of Ancient Corinth is situated in a village bearing the same name, only a few kilometers from the modern town of Corinth. The area was first inhabited during the Neolithic period, at the eastern foothills of Acrocorinth hill. It was developed in a strategic location; were land communication could be controlled between Peloponnesus and Central Greece, it had fresh water and it oversaw the fertile valley of Corinth. It was perfectly positioned and for that reason the settlement did not change location until the Middle Ages.

The peak period of ancient Corinth begins with the foundation of its colonies, mainly Corcyra and Syracuse. The Corinthians introduced the trireme to Greece. Ancient Corinth was the most significant commercial destination in the Greek territory.

The excavations brought to light the imposing temple of Apollo, the Agora, the temple of Octavia, the shops of Lechaion road, Apostle Paul’s Podium, the theater and the Odeon.

Archaeologist Andreas Skias carried out the initial excavations in 1892 and in 1906. The most significant excavation begun in 1896 by the American School of Classical Studies and continues until today. The archaeological site of Corinth, described by Pausanias during his visit in 155 A.D., is the roman colony Colinia. Under the Romans it became the seat of government for Achaia, maybe the most important town of Greece.

At the entrance of the archaeological site, above the central area of Agora, lies the archaic temple of Apollo built in 530 B.C. It is a Doric peripteral temple with 6×15 Doric monolithic columns. At present only seven remain standing. Interior rows of columns supported the roof, and the temple was divided in two cella chambers, a pronaos (porch) and an opithodomos (rear chamber). Before the excavations, these seven columns were the only visible construction.

To the west of the Temple of Apollo lies the fountain of Glauce, named after the daughter of king Creon, who drowned in the fountain in a vain attempt to save herself from the flames of the poisoned dress, sent by Medea. Hewn in solid rock, the fountain consisted of four parallel reservoirs supplying four basins with water. It was sheltered by a portico of three square piers between antae supporting a heavy stone vault. Unlike other ancient fountains, the fountain of Glauce preserved its initial form throughout its use.

The Agora of ancient Corinth is located to the south of the Temple of Apollo. It is a rectangular construction 160 meters long and 70 meters wide. It consisted of northwest, west and central shops, small temples, an altar and the renowned podium from where Apostle Paul addressed the Corinthians. In 52 A.D., Apostle Paul gave his speeches from this site known at the present as Apostle Paul’s Podium.

The South Stoa, consists of a row of similar shops, each one divided in two chambers. In front of the shops there is a double row of columns, Doric columns across the front and Ionic to form the portico. A series of steps leads from the Propylaea to Lechaion road and to the fountain of Peirene with its six chambers. Another fountain bearing the same name is located at the Acrocorinth. According to the myth the fountain was created by the tears of Peirene shed in her grief of the death of her son Cenchrias who was killed by Artemis. The fountain took its present form during the Roman Period and especially under the reign of Herodes Atticus. Three large semicircular exedrae pierced with niches enclosed in a courtyard which contained an open air basin. On the fourth side, a row of six stone arched windows served as a façade for six square chambers. Behind these chambers there were three deep basins while four long reservoirs were hewn to the rock, further in the back. During the 6th and the 5th century B.C. the water was supplied by the basins. Later the basins were segregated by chambers and the front area remained an open air courtyard. During the Roman Period, the fountain was revetted with marble and adorned with frescos.

The roman fountain house situated to the west of the South Basilica at the South Stoa is the most impressive roman construction. An entrance with two columns led to the chamber containing the spring. There were small chambers on both sides of the reservoir. The size, the location and the decoration of the fountain attest its use as a place of worship.

The Odeon is located outside the main archaeological site. It was built in the late 1st century A.D. and was renovated by Herodes Atticus. It was under his reign that the courtyard, enclosed by stoas, was built.

The Ancient Theater of Corinth is situated opposite the site’s main entrance. The older traces document the existence of a wooden skene (late 5th century B.C.) while there are remains of a built skene that dates back to the 3rd century B.C. The cavea had a sitting capacity of approximately 18.000. In the early 3rd century A.D., the orchestra gave its place to a roman arena.

To the north, next to the wall of the ancient town and near the Lerna spring, visitors can admire the remains of the Gymnasium and the Asclepeion. The excavations showed that the Asclepeion was hewn to the rock. The sanctuary (14,93×8,32) consisted of a cella and a pronaos with four Doric columns at the front.

Address:

Ancient Corinth, P.C. 20007, (Prefecture of Corinthia)

Telephone: +30 27410 31207, Fax: 27410 31480, Email: lzepka@culture.gr

Admission:

General admission: €6, Reduced admission: €3 Valid for both the Museum and the Archaeological site.

Hours:

Winter: November 1st to March 31st 2012: 08:30-15:00

Summer: April 1st to October 31st 2012: 8:30-15:00

Access to the archaeological site

Corinthos to Patras National Road – Deviation to Ancient Corinth

Access for people with disabilities:

Access to the Museum and the Archaeological Site for people with disabilities.

Access to the Museum

Nearby Museums:

Archaeological Museum of Isthmia

Archaeological Museum of Nemea

Historic and Folklore Museum of Corinth

Gift shop:

Collection of guides and replicas

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