Nafplion History

The area around the fascinating, historic town of Nafplion used to be a bustling port in the Neolithic period. The reason this place was deserted during the Classical period is not known and Pausanias the geographer, who described the Mycenaen town of Tyrins, gives no explanation about the incidents of that time. The city was named after Nafplios, son of Poseidon, and was also famous as the birthplace of Palamidis, the local hero of the Trojan War. He had supposedly invented weights and measures, built lighthouses along the bay, invented the Greek alphabet and was the father of Sophists, a philosophical current in ancient Greece.

In the 6th century BC, the city of Nafplion was captured by Damokratis, the king of Argos, as it allied with Sparta during the Second Messenian War. The next centuries was no evidence regarding the history of Nafplion, as it was overshadowed by the neighboring Argos. In the Medieval Times, Nafplion was occupied by the Venetians, who made it an important naval spot in the Peloponnese. The Venetians constructed the impressive Palamidi Fortress above the town to protect it from enemies and also built a castle in Bourtzi, a small islet at the entrance of the port. In the 16th century and after many sieges, the town was conquered by the Ottomans.

Nafplion was among the first towns to be set free at the Greek War of 1821. It became the seat of the permanent Greek government until the end of the war and many war heroes and fighters moved to Nafplion, among which Theodoros Kolokotronis, Manto Mavrogenous, and Dimitrios Ipsilantis. After the end of the war, it was in the port of Nafplion where the first governor of the Greek State arrived, Ioannis Kapodistrias, making the town the first capital of Greece. At the time of Kapodistrias, many public buildings were constructed, including the residence of the governor, also known as palataki. It was also in the church of Agios Spyridon in the Old Town of Nafplion that Kapodistrias as assassinated by his political opponents on September 27th, 1831.

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