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Nafplio, Greece walking tour with travel guide and narration

Join us on an unforgettable journey through the enchanting streets and sights of Nafplion, Greece. As we embark on this walking tour, get ready to uncover the rich history, stunning architecture, and breathtaking views that this ancient city has to offer. We'll start with a Brief History of the city, walk around the historic center and then go up to the Fortress of AkronauplĂ­a and the Fortress of Palamidi! So, grab your walking shoes and let's dive into the heart of Nafplion!

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Brief History

Nafplion, once known as Nafplia or Napoli di Romagna, boasts a captivating history dating back to ancient times.
Its origins trace back to ancient times, with mentions in Homer's epics. Over the centuries, it evolved under various rulers, including the Venetians and Ottomans, leaving their indelible marks on its architecture and culture. This picturesque town served as the first capital of modern Greece from 1829 to 1834. Its historical significance is unparalleled, and we'll be unravelling the tales of its past as we stroll through its charming streets.
In 1829, Nafplion became the first capital of modern Greece following the country's War of Independence, holding this status until 1834. During this time, it witnessed significant political and social transformations.

The Old City

The Old City of Nafplion is a testament to its historical importance, featuring neoclassical buildings, charming squares, and winding alleys that reveal layers of its past.
Two iconic fortresses dominate the cityscape: AkronauplĂ­a and Palamidi. AkronauplĂ­a, with its medieval roots, guards the entrance to the harbor and is steeped in myths and legends. Palamidi, perched atop a hill, showcases Venetian military architecture and offers stunning panoramic views.
Throughout its history, Nafplion has been a hub for trade and culture, welcoming influences from various civilizations, resulting in a unique blend of traditions and cuisines.
Today, Nafplion's rich history is on display in its museums, churches, and archaeological sites, attracting visitors from around the world.
Its scenic location on the Argolic Gulf, easily accessible from Athens, makes it a favoured destination for travellers seeking to immerse themselves in Greece's heritage.
Nafplion's enduring allure lies in its ability to transport visitors through time, allowing them to walk in the footsteps of ancient warriors, statesmen, and revolutionaries while basking in its timeless beauty.

Nafplion is nestled on the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece. This coastal gem is perched on the northeastern shore of the Argolic Gulf, making it easily accessible from Athens and other major Greek cities. Its strategic location has played a pivotal role in its history, and today, it beckons travellers with its beauty and allure.
There is no airport close to the city, but getting to Nafplion is a breeze. If you're starting from Athens, hop on a scenic road trip that takes you through Corinth and Mycenae. The distance is about 140 kilometres and it should take you less than two hours to cover. Please keep in mind that the route includes tolls and the last part of about 30 kilometers is not a highway.
Alternatively, you can opt for a comfortable bus ride or even a picturesque train journey. Nafplion's proximity to major transport hubs makes it a must-visit destination for travellers seeking a taste of Greece's rich heritage.

The assassination of Ioannis Kapodistrias

The assassination of Ioannis Kapodistrias in Nafplion on September 27, 1831, is a pivotal moment in Greek history. Kapodistrias, a visionary statesman, had served as Greece's first independent head of state since its revolution against Ottoman rule.
Kapodistrias played a crucial role in securing international recognition of Greece's independence and establishing a modern Greek state. However, his policies, particularly his centralizing approach and efforts to curb the power of local warlords, led to growing discontent among various factions in Greece.
The assassination took place at the Church of Saint Spyridon in Nafplion. Kapodistrias had come to the church for Sunday Mass. As he exited the church, he was confronted by a group of conspirators, primarily Mavromichalis and his allies, who resented Kapodistrias' attempts to weaken their regional authority.

A heated argument ensued, leading to the conspirators opening fire on Kapodistrias, fatally wounding him. He was rushed back into the church, where he succumbed to his injuries.
The assassination shocked Greece and the broader European community. Kapodistrias' death left a leadership vacuum and triggered a period of political turmoil in Greece. It also highlighted the challenges of nation-building and the delicate balance between central authority and regional autonomy.
The murder of Kapodistrias led to intervention by the Great Powers, who sought to restore stability in Greece. Eventually, a Bavarian prince, Otto, was installed as the new King of Greece under the protection of the Great Powers.
The assassination of Ioannis Kapodistrias is remembered as a tragic event in Greek history and a reminder of the complexities and challenges faced by emerging nations during the 19th century. It also underscores the enduring struggle to balance central authority and regional interests in the process of nation-building.

The Modern City

Nafplion has a population of around 14,000 inhabitants, and it continues to attract visitors from around the world due to its picturesque charm and cultural attractions.
One of the city's most notable features is its lively nightlife. Nafplion comes to life after the sun sets, offering a diverse range of bars and restaurants to suit all tastes and ages.
The city's pedestrianized areas and waterfront promenades are particularly popular at night. Strolling along these charming streets and boulevards is a delightful way to soak in the city's ambience. The waterfront promenade, in particular, provides stunning views of the moonlit Bourtzi Fortress, which stands on an islet just off the coast.

The Lion of Nafplion

The Lion of Nafplion, also known as The Lion of Bavaria, is a prominent sculpture located in the heart of Nafplion, Greece. Crafted in the early 19th century, it symbolizes the Bavarian influence during the reign of King Otto and stands as a historic emblem of the city.

The Nafplio Land Gate

Built in 1708 by the French engineer, the Nafplio Land Gate, known as "Pili tis Gis" in Greek, replaced an earlier Venetian gate and served as the primary entrance to the city's old town. The gate had a notable tradition of closing at sunset, forcing those outside to spend the night in the Pronia suburb due to the moat filled with seawater in front of it, accessible only by a wooden drawbridge.
Between 1894 and 1897, the gate was gradually dismantled, and the moat was filled in. Today, a few architectural remnants, including a stone lion missing its head, wings, and tail, as well as the Grimani family crest with the date 1708, are the surviving relics.

The Fortress of AkronauplĂ­a

The Fortress of AkronauplĂ­a perched majestically on a hill in Nafplion Greece is a captivating historical landmark that beckons visitors to delve into its rich past. This Medieval Fortress, also known as the Upper Venetian Castle, is a testament to the city's strategic importance throughout the centuries. Dating back to the Byzantine era, it underwent significant expansions during Venetian rule in the 13th century. The Fortress offers panoramic views of Nafplion and the Argolic Gulf, making it an ideal spot for taking in the breathtaking scenery. Its well-preserved walls and bastions reflect the military prowess of its builders, providing an immersive experience for history enthusiasts. While exploring its winding paths and ancient chambers visitors can uncover the fascinating stories and legends that have become an integral part of Nafplion's Heritage.

The Fortress of Palamidi

The Fortress of Palamidi, a monumental citadel overlooking the picturesque town of Nafplion in Greece, is an architectural marvel that tells the tales of centuries past. Here are some details to illuminate its grandeur:
Palamidi Fortress stands atop a steep hill, 216 meters above sea level, offering commanding views of Nafplion and the Argolic Gulf.
Its construction began in 1711 during the Venetian occupation of Nafplion and was completed over the course of several decades.
The fortress boasts eight impressive bastions, each with a unique name and history, such as the Bastion of Leonidas and the Bastion of Achilles.

A series of formidable gates, tunnels, and drawbridges, including the iconic Lion Gate, guard the fortress's entrance and provide a glimpse into its military significance.
The climb to Palamidi involves ascending 999 steps, although a recently constructed road also offers vehicular access.
Inside the fortress, you'll discover a labyrinthine network of tunnels and underground chambers, some of which were used for storing ammunition and supplies.
The fortress played a crucial role during the Greek War of Independence in the 1820s, serving as a prison for Greek freedom fighters, including Theodoros Kolokotronis.
Its strategic location allowed defenders to withstand numerous sieges throughout history, contributing to its reputation as an impregnable fortress.
The architecture combines Venetian and Ottoman influences, showcasing the diverse history of Nafplion.

A freshwater spring within the fortress ensured a reliable water supply for its inhabitants during prolonged sieges.
Palamidi's design incorporates elements of both practicality and aesthetics, as seen in the elegant arched bridges connecting various parts of the fortress.
Each bastion offers exceptional viewpoints, allowing visitors to capture stunning panoramas of Nafplion, the sea, and the surrounding landscapes.
Today, the fortress is open to the public, welcoming tourists who come to explore its historic ramparts and take in the breathtaking vistas.
Visitors can also learn about its storied past through informative displays and exhibits that provide insights into the fortress's role in Greek history.
The Fortress of Palamidi is not only a symbol of military might but also a testament to the enduring spirit of Greece and its rich cultural heritage, making it an essential stop for history enthusiasts and travelers seeking a deeper connection with the past.

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The Dining Scene

As we continue our walking tour along the castle, let's expand more on the modern city's dining scene.
Nafplion is a culinary journey through Greek cuisine. You'll find traditional tavernas serving mouthwatering local dishes, seafood restaurants offering the catch of the day, and international eateries for those seeking diverse flavors. The options are endless!
In the heart of the city, Syntagma Square is a hub of activity. Here, you'll often find street performers, musicians, and vendors adding to the lively atmosphere. It's a great place to start your evening before venturing into the adjacent streets filled with bars and cafes.
For those interested in a more relaxed experience, Nafplion's cozy cafes offer a chance to savor a cup of Greek coffee or a glass of local wine while enjoying the view of the illuminated historical buildings and charming squares.

Palamidi Tickets & Visiting Hours

Our tour is not finished just yet! Let's walk a bit more along the fortress. We hope this expanded view will give you an understanding of the area and let you plan your vacations better! A full ticket will cost you 4 euros. In the winter the archaeological site is open from 08:30 AM to 15:30 PM.
In summer, It opens at 08:00 AM but closing times vary depending on the month, from 18:00 PM to 20:00 PM.

Bourtzi Castle

During the video, you have seen many shots of the Bourtzi Castle. Now is a good time to expand on its rich history.
Bourtzi Castle is an iconic symbol of Nafplion, standing just a few hundred meters off the town's coast.
The castle's origins trace back to the Venetian period in the 15th century when it was constructed as part of Nafplion's coastal defence system.
Bourtzi, which means "Tower" in Turkish, was built on the site of a former fortress that dated back to Byzantine times.
The fortress is known for its distinctive triangular shape, which was strategically designed to protect the entrance to Nafplion's harbour.
Throughout its history, Bourtzi Castle has changed hands multiple times, with the Ottomans and Venetians being among its various owners.

One of the most fascinating features of Bourtzi is its stunning location amidst the tranquil waters of the Argolic Gulf, providing unparalleled views of Nafplion's old town.
The castle was used as a prison during different periods in its history, and its role as a stronghold was instrumental in safeguarding Nafplion.
In 1865, after being abandoned for several decades, Bourtzi Castle was transformed into a luxurious hotel for a short time.
Bourtzi Castle continues to capture the imagination of visitors and serves as a captivating reminder of Greece's rich maritime history.
After endless years of renovations, you can finally visit the castle daily, Monday to Sunday. Operating hours from 9:00 AM to 20:00 PM. It takes about 10 minutes to reach it by boat from the shore and the ticket including entrance will cost you 10 euros.

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