Nafplio, a city marked by its glorified past, looks as a picture from a history book. Its castles, forts, and bastions adorn the city. Monuments of a different long gone time, deserted battlefields now blooming with flowers and flooding with visitors on a quest for its legends and myths.
Once upon a time... lived Nauplios, the mythical settler. As son of the sea-god Poseidon and the Danaid Amemone, he built his city in a beautiful bay and from then till today, the city never found rest.
In ancient times it was shadowed by the city of Argos. Situated next to ancient Tiryns (a World Heritage UNESCO site), bustling and cosmopolitan Nafplio, abound of picturesque narrow alleyways and cobbled streets covered with bougainvilleas in full bloom, is the ideal location for romantic strolls. For many years they attempted to conquer it, first the Franks, then the Venetians, later the Ottoman Turks too. They all tried to subdue it.
The Franks and the Venetians called it "Naples of the Levant" and covered it with castles, while the Turks, with mosques and public drinking fountains. But Nafplio was fundamentally Greek from prehistoric times and it managed to absorb all these influences and create a completely unique personality. It is the birthplace of the modern Greet state. The first Greek parliament assembled here. The great political visionary, Ioannis Kapodistrias left his last breath here ‒ his brief period in the city left the mark of an early pro-European politician.
Today, the mild climate and key geographic position of Nafplio near urban centres (Athens, Corinth, Patras), but also its proximity to archaeological sites (Tiryns, Argos, Mycenae, Epidaurus) place it high in the preferences of travellers and visitors. The view towards Bourtzi is enchanting; it's the city's trademark and one of the most recognizable corners of Greece. Nafplio isn't just another Greek city. It's a miniature of the whole country: occidental and at the same time oriental; a seaside town but at the same time developed on a plain; modern but also abundant in antiquities; a fairytale city, but also a historical one; touristic, but casual; so close but also so far...
The Greek War of Independence - the role of Nafplio
Nafplio in the years of the revolution
Nafplio, also called "Anapli", entered the "fire" of the revolution early on. After the Battle of Dervenakia, the Greeks occupied the city. Captain Nikitaras, the so-called "Turk-slayer", liberated it in 1822 and the next year it was declared the official seat of the provisional revolutionary government. All of Greece's modern history shall evolve in its squares and castles. In this first, capital city of the country (1827) the first important decisions for the future of the continuing struggle were made at the Parliament building, the "Vouleftiko". But the assassination of the Governor outside the church of Aghios Spiridon on the 27th of September 1831will upset the city and the flow of Greek history in a defining way. The turbulent period of upheaval that followed called for an intervention of the great powers.
Thus, in January 25, 1833 the Bavarian king of Greece Otto embarked on the port of Nafplion. The tension that was created lead to the trial and conviction of revolutionaries Kolokotronis and Plapoutas, charged with high treason (1834). They were imprisoned in Palamidi castle to be released later after a pardon of the king. Despite the fact that Otto transferred the country's capital to Athens, Nafplio continued to play a significant role in the development of political affairs. Due to the counter-authoritarian spirit prevailing in the city, many clusters of rebels against Otto were formed. The leader of this movement was a woman from Nafplio, Calliope Papalexopoulos. Here house was the meeting place of the uncompromising rebels who took actions against Otto. Thus in 1862, a coup took place aiming at dethroning the king. They were the well-known bloody "Nafplion incidents" which lead to the removal of Otto, a few months later.