The Peloponnese is a section of the Hellenic landscape that is resplendent with monuments from every period in Greece’s turbulent history. It is the ideal destination for vacations and entertainment, sightseeing, sports and contact with history and culture. There are significant archaeological sites such as ancient Olympia, Epidavros, Mycenae, Tiryns, Byzantine churches, unique villages and alluring castles, which combine with the natural beauty, the mountains and forests, the rivers and caves surrounded by the sea and the sandy and smooth superb beaches on the western shores, and the rockier and indented beaches in the eastern section. It is no coincidence, especially during the summer months, that a multitude of tourists from all over the world commence their vacations with a tour of the Peloponnese, which has become an exceptionally widespread and popular destination.
The Peloponnese, with the Korinthian, Patraic, Saronic, Messenian, Argolid and Laconian gulfs is shaped like a plane tree leaf, which is why in older days it was also known as “Moria”. It has a dry climate to the east, cold, snow and luscious vegetation in the central mountainous regions with more rain and heat to the west.
Human habitation in the Peloponnese dates back to the Middle Palaeolithic Age, approximately 100,000 years B.C. The Helladic Civilization commenced during the Bronze Age and the Proto-Hellenes arrived in the region after 2000 B.C. A few centuries later, Mycenae was at the limelight of the Hellenic world. The excavations have verified the legend of the Mycenaeans in Homer, while the ruins at Pylos are compatible with the references about the renowned palace of king Nestor in the western Peloponnese.
The Dorians and Aetolians arrived in the Peloponnese in 1200 B.C. and developed Korinthos (Corinth), Argos and Sparti (Sparta). The Olympic Games were held in Olympia every four years, with the participation of athletes from all over Greece. King Phillip of Macedonia and the Romans then arrived in the Peloponnese. In 393 A.D the Byzantines abolished the Olympic Games. The Franks arrived in 1294 and the Turks later. In 1827, the naval battle at Navarino (Navarone) ended the Turkish-Egyptian occupation and the Peloponnese became the first part of the new liberated Greece.
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