magical city wrapped in legends, traditions and history.
Nauplius was the founder of the city, the result of the love of Poseidon and
Amymoni. Nauplius married Klimeni and had three children, Palamidi, Iaka and
Nafsimedon. He fortified the city and built a castle giving it the name of his
first born son: Palamidi.
Palamidi was wise, inventor of metres and stations, lighthouses, game pieces
(dice), as well as the first letters of the Greek alphabet.
The history of Nafplio began roughly the 8th century BC and this is proven by
the rescued traces of the polygonal walls in the Acronafplia castle and graves
found in the north area of the Palamidi castle similar to those of the Mycenaean
The small city of Nafplio deflected many invaders, however during the Messiniako
war, having fought together with the Spartans (enemies of the Argives) Nafplio
was conquered by the King of Argos Damokratida where it was destroyed and used
as a harbour for Argos.
history and the glamour of Nafplio begin much later during the foundation of the
Byzantine Empire and became recognized by the Byzantines as commercial centre of
the Eastern Peloponnese, of big strategic importance. In 1180 AD the
emperor Manouil Komninos fixed the sovereignty of Nafplio to Leonta Zgouro who
ruled Argos, Korinth and as far as Athens.
In 1204 though the Byzantine Empire fell and the
Peloponnese is occupied by the Franks, who fortified the Acronafplia castle and
created the Frankish fortress. The Franks occupied until 1390 AD and the city
was given over to the Venetians (1390 - 1540) who fortified the two fortresses
of the town, building a third the Venetian fortress in 1470, a bastion
called "the five brothers" (five identical canons) which are still there today.
The island in the bay was fortified for the first time, the Bourtzi with a
castle which was built upon it and so the legend says every night the harbour
closed with chains reaching from the castle to the rocks in the harbour. For
this reason the harbour was named Porto Cadena - the harbour of chains. This was
kept up until 1865 when the Bourtzi became the home of the executioners.
The population of Nafplion grew, became congested and the Venetians built up the
city, they fortified it with walls, built many buildings, for example the St.
George's Chapel (the Metropolis of Nafplio today) and they also constructed
an aqueduct which brought water from Aria.
In 1540 the city was ruled by the Turkish until 1686, when after a tough fight
the admiral Morozini of the Venetians gave the city up. Fortifications of the
Palamidi had started but he never finished because he died suddenly. The project
was finished by the great Venetian Augustinos Sagredos creating the most
imposing castle in the eastern Mediterranean.
castle the small chapel of St. Andreas was built.
He renovated the walls of the Acronafplia castle and built two bastions to the
right and left of the land entrance and on the top of these stone lions,
the mascot of Venice. Nafplion became the capital of the Moria kingdom
stayed until 1715 when, the Turkish took over all of Venice's acquisitions in
the Mediterranean because of the fall of Venice.
So in 1718 the
Peloponnese officially becomes occupied by the Turkish
and the capital Nafplio. The structure of the city changes.
They built synagogues such as the one in Syntagma Square which later housed the
first government of Greece, the small synagogue which later became the first
primary school and generally the town takes on an eastern feel about it.
1768 the capital of the Peloponnese is moved to Tripoli and Nafplion remains
under Turkish rule with thousands of problems and barbaric acts towards the
The Greeks are affected by the important goings on in Europe, they slowly start
to organise themselves and in 1820 with the establishing of the Friendly Society
under Dimitrio Ypsilanti they are ready for the revolution. The beginning of the
revolution was the 25th of March 1821.
revolutionaries of the Peloponnese
start the long haul to free Nafplion and in November 1822 with Theodore
Kolokotroni in charge the city wins its freedom with the pinnacle of news the
seizure of the Palamidi castle by Staiko Staikopoulo and his men.
In January of 1823 Nafplio becomes the capital of the newly freed Greek state.
At the beginning of 1828 the first governor of the new state, Yiannis
Kapodistrias who, three years later in 1831 was murdered in front of the St.
Spyridon church by the Mavromichalaious. In 1833 Othonas of Bavaria arrives in
Nafplion as the King of greece. In 1834 the capital of Greece is moved to
Athens. The same year Theodore Kolokotroni is imprisoned in the Palamidi castle
as an underminer of Othonas. He is freed after 2 years. King Othon was the
sovereign until 1862.
period of Kapodistrias and Othonas
the city changed its look completely. New buildings were constructed (the
customs house, Othonas Gymnasium etc.), roads were laid (the Big road) and
generally the city is modernised.
Nafplion today is one of the cities in Greece that has the most history to tell
with buildings and monuments tell its rich and varied past.