Ancient Corinth

Corinth, Greece

Corinth was a city-state (polis) on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. It was one of the largest and most important cities of Greece, with a population of 90,000 in 400 BC.

Corinth was first inhabited in the Neolithic period (c. 5000 BCE) and became more populated around the 10th century BCE. The aristocratic Bacchiadae ruled from c. 750 BCE until the tyrant Cypselus took over in c. 657 BCE, succeeded by his son Periander. Cypselus founded colonies and built a treasury at Delphi, while Corinth's high-quality pottery dominated the market until the 6th century BCE. The city also developed the diolkos, a stone track for transporting ships across the Isthmus of Corinth.

Corinth administered the Panhellenic games from the early 6th century BCE and allied with Sparta around 550 BCE. It participated in the Persian Wars and fought in both the Peloponnesian Wars, suffering heavy losses. Disillusioned with Sparta, Corinth joined an alliance against it in the Corinthian Wars (395-386 BCE).

After losing to Philip II of Macedon in 338 BCE, Corinth became part of the Macedonian Empire and later joined the Achaean League. The city was sacked by the Romans in 146 BCE but revived when Julius Caesar re-founded it in 44 BCE, making it an important trade and administrative center. St. Paul visited Corinth between 51 and 52 CE, establishing it as an early Christian hub. The city declined from the 3rd century CE, suffering attacks by Germanic tribes.

The Archaeological Site

In ancient Corinth there were cults to Aphrodite (protectress of the city), Apollo, Demeter Thesmophoros, Hera, Poseidon, and Helios and various buildings to cult heroes, the founders of the city. In addition, there were several sacred springs, the most famous being Peirene. Unfortunately, the destruction in 146 BCE obliterated much of this religious past.

The site today is dominated by the Doric peripteral Temple of Apollo (c. 550-530 BCE), originally with 6 columns on the façades and fifteen on the long sides. A particular feature of the temple is the use of monolithic columns rather than the more commonly used column drums. Seven columns remain standing today.

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Corinth, Greece
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Founded: 9th century BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greece

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Michal Šimurka (2 months ago)
Beautiful archaeological site with a small but interesting museum. The tickets will give you access to both the museum and the site. Do stop by the Temple of Apollo and notice the single-piece Doric columns. Also, if you're interested in the history of the New Testament, there's a place where St. Paul likely stood when facing the local governor. Plus, if you notice the Acrocorinth in the background, keep in mind that it used to house a Temple of Aphrodite in Paul's times. It was basically a house of pleasure and supposedly employed up to 2000 priestesses. It gives a lot of context to Paul's letter to the Corinthians, especially the passages regarding the nature of love.
Todd Miller (3 months ago)
Corinth is an important ancient city, so it needs to be on your must visit list. The museum has some interesting finds.
Annika Shi (3 months ago)
U get free entry as an EU residence card holder under 25, absolutely worth a visit
Legends l (4 months ago)
Well preserved archeological site with a museum on site. Many a great have walked these paths in ancient history and we get see some of the remnants. The site is fairly well laid out and easy to navigate. There is a small museum on site where you can escape the sun in case it gets too hot. There’s a lot to admire about this place. It is a bit cut off so transportation without a car may have to be planned meticulously. The views from the grounds are stunning especially on a clear sunny day. And don’t forget to visit the Acropolis which is free and also nearby.
Marshall Daigre (9 months ago)
This is an excellent exhibit of ruins. They have an outdoor area with tons to see. And there are signs and a walking path to inform and direct. Moreover, they have an indoor museum which I found amazing. Many artifacts and informative signs.
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