Ancient Greece Odyssey: Nauplion
Nafplio: Medieval Port of the Peloponnese
My journey through Greece takes us next to the medieval Greek city of Nauplion. Nauplion, pronounced and sometimes spelled "Nafplio" in modern Greek, is well-named: the word means "ship city." The grand but somewhat dilapidated Nafplia Palace Hotel was our home base for a few days while we visited the ancient Greek sites Mycenae, Tiryns and Epidaurus. In the afternoons, we would return to the medieval city to explore, shop, rest, or climb billions of steps up to the hotel and down to the waterfront, square and cafes.
If you've just discovered Ancient Greece Odyssey, this is part eight of a myth scholar's travel diary from a trip to Greece in 2005.
The Nafplia Palace Hotel
Travel Diary, 7th May 2005, Nafplia Palace Hotel
The Nafplia Palace Hotel is strangely retro: it must have been ultra-modern in 1979 when it opened, with radios built into walls, dark wooden cabinets and minimalist, modern furniture. Now it seems a bit dark and dingy, but the marble balconies overlooking the bay offer fresh breezes and spectacular views of the sunset and city spread out below. The wind boomed and roared through the open door all night like the groaning of a ship in a storm, and waves crashed against the sea walls far below.
Photos Gallery: Medieval NauplionClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Modern City of Nafplia
Travel Diary, 7th-8th May 2005
My diary about the city of Nauplion is somewhat sparse, but I thoroughly enjoyed rambling the cafes and plazas, exploring medieval ruins or taking a walk around the stone bastion that juts out into the bay. This is another Greek city of countless steps, stone-paved narrow streets, small outdoor cafes with chairs and tables set up right in the streets, and (of course) shopping- in particular, there is a great deal of fine jewelry and luxury goods like rugs and handbags, for those interested in things.
The city would have been oppressive had it been built all on one level, with its heavy stone walls and narrow alleys, but marching up the steep slopes gives frequent views of the sun-drenched bay and light breezes. It's a clean, somewhat dozy place with orange groves and undeveloped land only two miles from the city center. I was strongly reminded of how different medieval cities were: no suburbs, but a walled, central settlement, with farmers and herdsmen bringing their stuff to market, and rural countryside right outside the city gates. It feels healthier.
Photo Gallery: A Stroll Around NauplionClick thumbnail to view full-size
Climbing Up to Palamidi CastleClick thumbnail to view full-size
About the City of Nauplion - Recommended Links
The Journey Continues...
Up Next: Mykonos Island
Join Ancient Greece Odyssey as we continue our journey on Mykonos Island in the Cyclades!
© 2009 Ellen Brundige