The ruins of a temple devoted to the King of the Sea can still be seen nearby.
After the Peloponnesian wars, the town was abandoned. Much later the Byzantines and later Venetians recognized the strategic location of Nafplion. They offered special trade privileges to the small town and built strong walls to defend it from pirate raids. However, those same walls failed to protect it from the Ottoman invasions. After the liberation from the Ottomans, Nafplion was appointed the Capital of Greece. As the new capital it received a thorough face-lift to bring it in line with the vision of then Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias. They set out to make Nafplion a modern, practical, European capital.
The famous 999 Venetian steps take you up to the Palamidi, one of the two castles of Nafplion. There you can admire the magnificent view of the town below and take in the restored villas, ancient churches and Muslim mosques-turned-churches. Yet the most iconic landmark of Nafplion is Bourtzi, or Seatower. The tower is highly visible located on the islet in the middle of the harbor. Once a mighty stronghold to guard the entrance of the harbor, Bourtzi was later turned successively into a home and then a hotel.
Today it is a popular attraction for visitors who find the thick walls and steep staircases eerily fascinating.
Let’s explore this town together! We want you to get a taste of the vibrant life and unique hospitality locals enjoy.
Even on the hottest summer day you are guaranteed to find a shady spot here under the leafy ,ancient plane tree that dominates the square. Sit in one of the cafes and take your ouzo with ice as you casually take in your surroundings. You have the restored buildings, the beautiful Venetian architecture, children playing on the stones of the square and more often than not, old men sipping their Greek coffee. One of those buildings used to be the Greek Parliament and another, the house of the Governor, Ioannis Kapodistrias.
Named after the fishermen who originally inhabited it, this neighborhood was, at the time of the Ottoman occupation, the only purely Greek neighborhood in Nafplion. As you walk around don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Byzantine church of St Sofia which dates back to the 13th century. The church of St Spiridon, built in the early 18th century, is another church you might want to visit. It is here, in the yard of this very church, that an event took place that forever altered the direction of Greek History, the murder of Greece’s first Governor, Ioannis Kapodistrias.
Byzantines, Venetians, Ottomans and reformists all have left their own mark on the town. The end result is a kaleidoscope of history with examples of different eras intertwined and inseparable.