Ancient Corinth was one of the most powerful of the Greek City-States of Antiquity. Its position, at a narrow point between the wider mainland of Greece and the productive Peloponnese region, enabled it to capitalize on regional trade routes. Early attempts by the Ancient Greeks to build a canal connecting the central Mediterranean sea & Corinthian Gulf to the Aegean were abandoned. Nevertheless, a system of rails was laid overland which still enabled them to move ships from one to the other side & collect tax accordingly.
Similarly, with other wealthy Greek cities, elaborate temples such as the Temple of Apollo, and elaborate villas were built from the riches accumulated. However, with the rise of Rome the city was destroyed after the Carthaginian war of 146 BCE. Around 100 years later, Julius Caesar founded a new city. Home to a large population of Greeks, Romans & Jews that coexisted the city prospered once again.
It was during Roman times that the Apostle Paul came to Corinth in the mid-first century AD. Founding a church, he lived in the city for eighteen months, regularly preaching at the synagogue. Accused of illegal teaching he was judged at the site of the Bema, a large platform raised in the center of the Roman Forum. The Bema was transformed into a Christian church during the Byzantine period. The Bema, along with various Roman & Greek ruins including the Greek Temple of Apollo can be seen during your visit.
Today this site receives fewer tourists than the nearby UNESCO sites of Ancient Mycenae & Epidaurus. Even when coaches arrive, the site itself is large so never feels cluttered. Our Tours from Athens reach Corinth just after an hour and the site makes a great half-day trip. Including the other local sites such as Epidaurus & Mycenae along with the beautiful Venetian seaside town of Nafplion, makes for a perfect full-Day Tour.
When approaching Ancient Corinth even from a great distance, the large citadel of Acrocorinth looms above. Once the burial site of the ancient city, it was successively used & fortified by its many occupants. These included the Romans, Byzantines, Franks, Knights of Rhodes, and Venetians. Today, this site is well worth visiting and our tours bring you to the castle to wonder through its impressive entrance gates & explore further. Its magnificent panoramic views are wonderful & stretch to the sea and the Gulf of Corinth.
4 of our most popular Corinth-Tours are listed below, but you can see all Day-Tours, Multi-Day Tours, and Packages from our main menu. Ask us to tailor any further options you like.
Our Private Peloponnese Highlights Tour includes all the nearby Peloponnese sites visiting Epidaurus with its famous 5th century BC Theatre. At Ancient Mycenae, we also witness the first widespread regional culture. At over 5000 years old its impressive ruins & Toombs built from enormous stone blocks are awe-inspiring feats of engineering.
Ancient Olympia is also in the region. Visit the place of origin of the Olympic games where you can venture through the tunnel its athletes entered through and emerge into the stadium in which they competed. The Temple of Zeus and extensive ruins along with its dedicated museum are one of the most outstanding sites in Greece & covered in our Multi-Day ‘Classical Greece‘ Tour range.
Take a Licenced Guide. On request, we will have your dedicated licensed Archaeological guide waiting for you at the Archaeological site to bring to life the sights, sounds & history of the site with you.
Stop at the Corinth Canal. The modern Canal was built in 1881 & has a fascinating history. Watch out for the sign to the ‘Isthmus‘ after an hour from Athens – its easy to miss.
Try a Winery tour. Combine your visit to Corinth with one of the best boutique Wineries in the Peloponnese for a wonderful tour & tasting and learn about local wine-making. There are over 60 Wineries in the Peloponnese with Corinth near the famous Nemea wine-producing region. Just see our Food, Wine & Culture Page for details.
Neolithic pottery from 6500 BC has been recovered from the Archaeological site of Ancient Corinth & Homer refers to an impressive agricultural production. Taking advantage of the favorable location & local harbors, such products formed the base of a trade expansion into the western Mediterranean. Corinth becoming powerful enough to form colonies of its own in the 8th Century such as Corfu in the Ionian sea, and Syracuse in Sicily, contributing significantly to the development of the ancient world.
The wealth of Corinth was also channeled into works like the Temple of Apollo in 560 BC, and it developed the third ‘Corinthian’ style of classical Architecture, designed to show its opulence and power. The city was also famous throughout Greece & the region for its Temple of Aphrodite which employed 1000 prostitutes, many of which commanded exorbitant sums for their services such that Greeks from other city-states complained that ‘not everyone could go to Corinth’. its influence grew further with the inclusion of the Isthmian Games as part of the Panhellenic Games (584 BC), the forerunner of the Modern Olympics.
By classical times, therefore, Corinth emerged as an advanced Greek City-state which joined with the other Greek cities to send soldiers to Thermopylae & repel the Persian invasions (490-479 BC) although from this period its power also set it in direct conflict with an ascendent Athens. Subsequent years saw much infighting with wars between Athens and Sparta, evenutually leading to a slow decline continuing into Roman times. At the battle of Leukopetra in 146 BC the Corinthian army was crushed by Roman legions under Lucius Mummius and there followed a complete destruction of the city, as documented by Pausanias.
Around 100 years later, Julius Caesar founded a new city on the old which once again prospered with a mixed population of Romans, Greeks, and Jews living peacefully together. In the mid-first century AD, the Apostle Paul came to Corinth & lived there for approximately 18 months preaching & writing several gospels. He founded a church and at one point was also put on trial by the local Jews at the site of the Bema, a raised platform that we can still see today at the Archaeological site. Lying in a more active seismic area of Greece the city was destroyed by an earthquake in AD 365 and once more rebuilt during the Byzantine Empire.
Visiting Corinth today, one can see a mix of the original Greek and Roman remains with the Roman Forum, temples, fountains, baths, and various other monuments including some columns of the Temple of Apollo as well as the wide entrance avenue into the city center which at some points remain the various ‘stoa‘ or shops, that would have traded along the main avenue. To the hill above sits the impressive ruins of the fortress of Acrocorinth, and near the main Archaeological site lie further ruins of a Theatre, the Roman Odeion, temples, cemeteries, the Potter’s Quarter (Kerameikos), and other buildings including Venetian and Ottoman remains. A small museum dedicates to the artifacts found there is also located inside the main Archaeological site.