The Peloponessos: Heart
and Soul of Greece
When most people think of holidays in Greece they think of the Greek
islands. The idea of all these islands, each
different from the next, the whitewashed houses
and beautiful beaches is an enticement to anyone.
But lost in the commotion over Mykonos, Santorini,
Rhodes and Corfu is the fact that some of the most
beautiful and interesting areas in Greece are not
on the islands, but on the mainland in places like
the Peloponessos. (or Peloponnese, Peloponnisos, or
any number of spellings...)
Name the first Capital of modern Greece. Give up? It wasn't Athens or
Thessaloniki. It was Nafplio. At the time the
Peloponessos was all there was of Greece since it
was the first part of the country to be
liberated from the Turks in 1821 and in fact
nearly went back to the Turks when the heroes of
the revolution began fighting amongst themselves.
But such is life in Greece. For many, the
Peloponnesos is the true Greece and to them the
narrow isthmus of Corinth is all that separates
them from a world of Albanians, Vlachs, Bulgarians
and Macedonians, who are all Greeks to us.
But the Peloponessos can be said to be the heart
and soul of Greece and though it has been left off
the tourist map that was especially painted for
Americans, it is as worthwhile a place to visit as any
ten islands combined.
From Myceneae to Sparta to
Mistra to the guns of Navarone, the Peloponessos
has seen its share of history. This is where Paris
stole Helen from King Menelaous and where
Agamemnon set forth with his ships to Troy, only
to be murdered in his bathtub by his wife when he
returned. It is a land of rugged mountains, green
valleys, the ancient games of Olympia, and a
coastline with some of the best beaches in Greece.
What follows is a description of the different
regions of the Peloponessos.