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Isthmos

Isthmus: Isthmus is the natural frontier and a link between Peloponnisos and the central Greece. The importance of this location was known since the ancient years. Parted by a narrow stream of sea the two parts of Korinthia are standing one across another, linked by a bridge, having the Korinthian Gulf from one side and the Saronic on the other. On the east end of Isthmus, by the ancient road that leads from Athens to Korinthos a temple dedicated to Poseidon was once standing. The size of this temple drew the attention of every traveller and the location was pi-cked so as to serve important congresses and gatherings of the ancient people. Before the isthmus was built, the ships were pulled from one side to another on the paved with slabs deck of Diolkos. Nowadays, to visit the temple of Poseidon, you will take a turn on the left after passing the Isthmus and reach Kyras Vrissi. The main part of the temple is on the east side of the village. The cemetary found also on the east side setted the border of the sacred ground. The excavations in 1952 brought up a race-track, two stadiums, a theatre, a Roman spa, a fortress of late anciety and walls. Places such as chambers for the visitors and the athletes have not been found yet. In the Museum near the temple are exhibited all the findings of the territory. Being a natural border between Central Greece and Peloponnisos, every time there was a threat of any kind there were efforts to exclude the passage to the south. Round 1200BC during the Mycenean ages the first forifying attempt is recorded south of the temple of Po-seidon which was built much later. We don’t have any remainings or even signs of a temple during the Mycenean ages. It’s very possible that the wall was unfinished. In 480BC after the battle in Thermopyles, the Greeks waiting the Persians fortified Isthmus again.There are remainings of a wall builted two centuries later when the Galatians reached Central Greece and threatened to continue to Peloponnisos. Parts of this fortification were embodied to the massive wall called Examilio (which means six miles) shortly after 400BC which had 153 defense towers, a huge fort and covered the entire length of Isthmus from the Korinthian to the Saronic Gulf. During those ages and because the circumnavigation of Peloponnisos was too long and dangerous (due to Kavo Malia), in the 8th century BC and when the generation of Vakhiadon ruled in Korinthos Diolkos was builted, a system in which the lighter ships were transferred throughout the six miles by a very plain method. Korinthos collected tolls for the pulling of the ships and at the end of the 7th century BC, Periandros thought for the first time to cut this part of earth and reassure that larger and more ships would pass. But the lack of technical support and the insuperable difficulties forced him to abandon the plan. What they did was to construct a road paved with slabs using whelled crafts workers transported the ships. The fear for the islands around to flood ahaead of such agreat plan (the water levels of the Korinthian Gulf were higher than the Saronic) forced a number of leaders to aboard the plan. Dimitrios Poliorkitis, Ceasar, Kaligoulas, Adrianos all tried but succeeded nothing. In 67BC Neron was the one who took the big decision bringing 6000 slaves from Ioudea. The prejudices of the people who considered the interference of humans to the nature a sin stood an obstacle. They rumoured that every time they started digging blood was gu-shing from earth, whispers and dirges were heard underground and ghosts frightened the workers at night. It’s said that Neron himself started diggind and persuated the rest. The revolution in Rome and Neron’s death meant the end of the work. But since the needs after the formation of the colonies grew larger it was a necessity for isthmus to work. And was finally fulfilled in 1893. The constuctor of the Suez canal Ferdinando de Leseps took part in the constructive plans, but at the end a Hungarian mechanic named Bela Yerster took over. The canal has a depth of 7m, at the surface of the water the length is 24,06m and at the bottom 21,6m. Excavation in 1956-1962 brought up a big part of  Diolkos.

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