Nafplion is a seaport town in the Peloponnese that has expanded up the hillsides near the north end of the Argolic Gulf. The town was the first capital of modern Greece, from 1829 to 1834. It is one of the loveliest towns in all of Greece and is only 2 hours away from Athens.
Nafplion is divided into the old and the new town. The old town was built mainly in the days of the governor Ioannis Capodistrias, at the beginning of the 19th century. The new town is an ordinary Greek town with no special assets, so stroll about the old, historical quarters with their neoclassical buildings, charming squares and majestic fonts. Nafplion is the capital of the prefecture.
The old city with its neoclassic houses, picturesque streets, wooden balconies with cascading flowers, Turkish fountains, Constitution (Syntagma) square with fascinating mosques and outdoor cafe tables and tavernas (restaurants), is like a faire land. Here, after centuries of struggle, happiness has finally settled. You feel like immersing yourself in its history, burrowing into its pass The House of The Regent Mauer, The Military Academy that operates as A Military Museum, The Army Ministry, The First High school, The Parliament house, and finally Saint Spyridon's Church where Kapodistrias, the first governor of Greece, was assassinated.
And the fairy tale world continues, whether you climb up the 999 steps to the Venetian fortress of Palamidi crowning the city, or wander around the battlements of Acronafplia or pop over to the fortified island, Bourtzi, afloat in the middle of the bay. Nafplion is full of the joy of life. It is the nobility and calm found in Minoan frescoes. In Syntagma Square the Archaeological Museum, with its findings from various periods and frescoes from Mycenae and Assini, is housed in an imposing Venetian building, while The Folk Art Museum on Vas. Alexandrou Street occupies a neoclassical house.
ACRONAUPLIA (ITS KALE)
The Acronauplia is the oldest part of the city of Nafplion. Until the thirteenth century, it was a town on its own. The arrival of the Venetians and the Franks transformed it into part of the town fortifications. Later, part of it was used as a prison until the Greek government decided that the view provided from its location would benefit the local tourism and built a hotel complex which still stands there today.
Palamidi is a military fortress to the east of the Acronauplia in the town of Nafplion. Nestled on the crest of a 216-metre high hill, the fortress was built by the Venetians during their second occupation of the area (1686-1715). The fortress was a very large and ambitious project, but was finished within a relatively short period from 1711 until 1714. It is a typical baroque fortress based on the plans of the engineers Giaxich and Lasalle. In 1715 it was captured by the Turks and remained under their control until 1822, when it was captured by the Greeks.
The bastions of the fortress were originally named after the Greek Proveditori. However, when the Ottoman Empire came around, they captured the castle and town and the bastions were given Turkish names. Lastly, when the Greeks overthrew the Turks the bastions were renamed after Greek saints. One of the bastions, called the "Miltiades," was used as the prison cell of Theodoros Kolokotronis, a hero of the Greek Revolution.
The fortress commands an impressive view over the Argolic Gulf, the city of Náfplio and the surrounding country. There are 857 steps in the winding stair from the town to the fortress. However, to reach the top of the fortress there are over one thousand.
The castle of Bourtzi is located in the middle of the harbour of Nafplion. The Venetians completed its fortification in 1473 to protect the city from pirates and invaders from the sea. The Greeks regained it from the Turks on June 18, 1822, from where they assisted in the siege of Nafplio. Until 1865 it served as a fortress. It was then transformed into residence of the executioners of convicts from the castle of Palamidi. From 1930 to 1970, it served as a hotel. Since then, it is mainly a tourist attraction hosting occasionally parts of the Summer Music Festival.
Open: in summer daily 8:00-19:00; in winter 8:00-18:30
THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
Open: Tuesday-Sunday 8:30-15:00
THE FOLK ART MUSEUM
Open: Wednesday-Monday, 9:00-15:00