Peloponnese known as Moreas or Morias is the largest peninsula of Greece and the southernmost of Europe. It has an area of 21.439 sq.km. and a population of 1.086.935 inhabitants. The largest city is Patras. It is one of the nine geographic regions of our country and is located in the southern mainland.
Peloponnese is divided into seven prefectures. The prefectures of
Achaia, Argolida, Arcadia, Elis, Corinth, Laconia and Messinia which belong administratively in the Regions of Western Greece and Peloponnese.
The connection of Peloponnese with the mainland Greece and the rest of the mainland is via the
Isthmus of Corinth and the Rion-Antirion bridge (2004). In 1893 it was built the Corinth Canal, which connects the Saronic with the Corinthian Gulf and is an international hub of marine transportation.
Peloponnese east bordering the Aegean Sea, and more specifically from Myrtoo Sea, Argolic Gulf and Saronic Gulf. On the west coast of the Ionian Sea, north of Corinth and the Gulf of Patras and on the south by the Mediterranean Sea.
Peloponnese relief is characterized by large mountain ranges. The highest mountain is Taygetos or Pentadaktylos extending between Megalopolis of – Eurotas and Messinia basins. The peak called or Agiolias or Prophet Elias and has a height of 2,407 meters. The mountains dominating Peloponnese and exceed 2000m. height is the mountain range of Killini or Ziria (2,376 m.), the Aroania mountains or Helmos (2,341 m.), Erimanthos or Olonos (2.224 m.) and Penteleia or Ntourntouvana (2.112 m.). Here the mountains Panachaiko or Vodias, Fragovouni, Mainalo or Aydin Oligyrtos or Skipeza, the mountain range of Parnon, the Astras Mountains, Fern or Klokos, Malevos, Chelidorea, Lirkio or Goupato or Lyreisio etc.
The longest river is the
Alpheus, which stems from the Arcadian highlands, receives water from tributaries (Erymanthos, Ladon, Lucius, pruning, Elissona) and flows into the northern end of the Gulf of Kyparissia. Other rivers are Glaucus, Penaeus Ilia, Neda (one of the two rivers of Greece with a female name), Eurotas, Asopos, Nedon, Selinountas, Velika, Tanos, Inachos etc.
Some of the major lakes are the artificial lake of Ladon, of Moustos, the seasonal Taka lake in Arcadia, Tsivlou lake in Achaia, Caiaphas lake and Penaeus (artificial lake) in the prefecture of Ilia, the artificial Lake Doxa and the marshy Stymfalia lake in the prefecture of Corinthia.
The Peloponnese climate is generally Mediterranean and varies considerably between eastern, western and central Peloponnese. In the western part there is marine Mediterranean climate with hot summers and strong average rainfall of 800mm in the lowlands up to 1.600mm in the mountains. The eastern shore has a Mediterranean climate characterized by less rain. In the central part the climate is mountainous, with harsh winters with frosts and snow. The average temperature in the Peloponnese isbetween 18 and 19.5 Celsius degrees.
The name Peloponnese has its roots in ancient Greek mythology, as it comes from the name of the king of Achaia and later of Pisa, Pelopas (Pelops). The Peloponnesian earth is inseparable with timeless and insurmountable myths. Nemea, Stymfalia, Lerna, Taygeti, Tiryns are some of the places that animate the labors of Hercules. In Peloponnese also unfolds the scene of the Homeric epics, Iliad and Odyssey, in Pylos, Laconia, Mycenae– at the palaces of Nestor, Menelaus and Agamemnon.
The peninsula was inhabited since prehistoric times, it was the center of the Mycenaean civilization from where it got its name after the first archaeological discoveries at Mycenae. In
Ancient Olympia in 776 BC they were held the first Olympic Games in honor of Zeus.
Persian Wars (490 BC-479 BC) the Peloponnesian city-states put aside their differences with Athens, participated in the common struggle of the Greeks against the Persian invasion, with the heroic army of Sparta starring. Typical is the glorious battle of Thermopylae (480 BC) where Spartan king Leonidas fell fighting demonstrating military intelligence and stayed in history with his sparsely army as a symbol of patriotic sacrifice.
Peloponnesian War (431 BC-404 BC) between the Peloponnesian and Athenian alliance took palce, that ended with the total defeat of Athens, ending the „ golden age„.
Next, Peloponnese met various conquerors like Romans, Franks, Ottomans. Here the
Despotate of Mystras or Despotate of Moreas was created, the Greek Revolution of 1821 began and the first capital of the independent Greek state, Nafplion, was appointed.
The number of the archaeological sites and monuments of Peloponnese betray its long history and its rich culture. Here are the „gold rich“ Mycenae, famous for its perfect acoustics of the ancient theater of
Epidaurus, the temple of Asklepios with its thermal waters, Ancient Olympia- the place of the brilliant Olympic Games, the imposing Temple of Epicurean Apollo, the well preserved Mycenaean palace of Nestor.
Here are and the Ancient Theatres of Aigeira
Orchomenos and Megalopolis, the Roman Conservatory in Patras , the archaeological sites of Sicyon, Stimfalia, Nemea, the „ cemetery of Dendra“ the citadelς of Tiryns, Assini and Midea, the ancient cities of Tegea, Elis, Troezen, Gortyna, Mantineia, Messina and the list of ornaments of antiquity does not end.
Famous castles stand imposingly with more eminent these of
Akrokorinthos, Patras, Agionori, Monemvasia, Mistras, Methoni, Koroni, Zarnata, Kalamata, Kapetanakis, Argos, Larissa, Karitena, Bourtzi, Palamidi and Acronafplia.
Monasteries historic and exceptional architecture churches adorn every corner, such as the monasteries of
Great Cave, Agia Lavra, St. John the Baptist and Philosopher at Lousios River Gorge, Fragkavilla, Panagia Vlacherna, Voulkanos, Amyaloi, Tegea, the Church of St. Andrew in Patras, which is the largest church of Byzantine style in Balkan, Apostle Paul in Corinth, St. George of Zacholi, Panagia Tripiti in Aegio etc.
Course of our tour could not be missing monuments of incomparable beauty nature as the
Cave of the Lakes, the Cave of Glyfada Dirou, the petrified forest of Saint Nicholas, Folois oak forest, the forest of Vassiliki and Gemini in Dolines.