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Many had attempted to find a solution as to how ships would cross the Corinthian to the Saronic Gulf, but it wasn’t until 1882-1893 under the governing of Charilaos Trikoupis that one of the most important public works took place. Ancient Greeks, in order to avoid going around the Peloponnese constructed Diolkos, (“Olkos Neon”), which was a road paved symmetrically with 3,5- 5 m wide setts. Diolkos was created because of the need for quick and direct transportation between the Saronic to the Corinthian Gulf. Its western edge was rebuilt during the early 4th century B.C. while it has been verified that it was used until the 9th century A.D.

Isthmos, the narrow strip of land that connects Central Greece and Peloponnese was a major issue for the inhabitants of Corinth in ancient times, since it separated not only the Corinthian from the Saronic Gulf and moreover the Aegean from the Ionian Sea, but also made the journey from the one sea to the other dangerous, exhausting and time-consuming.

So, during Periandros ruled, Diolkos was constructed. It was a stone paved road, starting from Schinountas beach (Kalamaki) and going all the way until the western pass of the canal. This road, discovered by the archaeologist Nic. Verdelis, was not straight but curvy in order to avoid the steep hills and slopes, it is 3,5-5 m. wide and is paved with normal lime stones.

On the right and left side there appear to be flattened dirt roads, useful for the transportation of the ships and boats. In the middle of the stone deck there are two deep furrows, 1,5 m. away from each other. On these furrows moved the wheels of a big-scaled construction named olkos, that carried the ship. This exhausting procedure was only conducted for really light ships, mostly military vessels that needed to pass immediately from one Gulf to the other.

So, when a ship wanted to cross Diolkos, it had to leave its cargo at one of the two ports, where they were transferred by land. The vessel then started its route on the rolling wheels. As soon as the ship was back in the sea, the cargo was loaded and the ship went on with its journey. This exhausting procedure was only used for really light ships, mostly military vessels that needed to pass immediately from the one Gulf to the other.


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