The road Palia Epidavros back to Corinth is one of the most beautiful cornices in Greece. Cut out of the mountainside, it passes through thick pine forests high above the Saronic Gulf; there are so many spectacular views it;s hard to keep your eyes on the road.
On our way we encounter another Epidavros, Nea (New) Epidavros, where the first National Assembly met in 1821, and beyond that the Monastery of the Virgin of Agnounda. Now we're entering the prefecture of Corinthia, and as we reach the seaside we're tempted by the beaches at Almyri and Loutra Oraias Elenis. The Istmus and Corinth are close at hand and we'll take some time off to visit the site of ancient Corinth, whose population were more famous for their business skills than for their philosophical or military expertise.
Immensely wealthy dus to its control of the passage over the Isthmus, its ports on either side and Isthmian Games held there every four years, the people of Corinth also had the reputation of being the most corrupt and licentious. The ancient site has more than its share of taverns and the sanctuary of Aphrodite on Acrocorinth was notorius. Though the city was razed by Mummius in 147 BC for resisting a Roman takeover, it regained its prosperity a hundred years later with the aid of Julius Caesar. As a result there are just as many Roman ruins o see as Greek, though the Temlpe of Apollo is one of the oldest in the country. Take the trouble to climb up to Acrocorinth, among the strongest natural fortresses in Europe and the key to the Peloponnese. Upon its ancient walls, you will find additions by the Byzantines, Franks, Venetians and Turks, and there's a marvellous view beyond them.
For the beaches along the Gulf of Corinth, just turn to the west when you reach Lechaion. As we said in the beginning of this description of the Peloponnese, this whole coast is lined with pretty villages and market towns interspersed with picturesque beaches, orchards and citrus groves. We've only touched on the highlights of this fascinating region. The interior og the Peloponnese, with its mountains, unspoiled villages and its own share of antiquities still awaits exploration.