Surrounded by fertile plains and blessed with natural springs, ancient Corinth was a major trading centre of the Greek and Roman worlds, controlling the trade between northern Greece and the Peloponnese. Today, the ancient city lies in ruins dominated by the Temple of Apollo.
Bema of St Paul
Apostle Paul arrived in Corinth, took up lodging and work with the Jewish tentmakers Aquila and Priscilla, and preached in the city (Acts 18). The Jews of Corinth made a united attack on Paul and brought him for judgement before Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia. According to tradition, the site of the trial was the Bema, a raised rostrum standing prominently in the heart of the Roman Forum of Ancient Corinth. The Bema was transformed into a church during the Byzantine period.
Temple of Apollo
The imposing Doric Temple of Apollo was built in the 5th century on the site of an earlier temple. The temple was surrounded by 42 monolithic limestone columns over 7m high, but today only seven remain. In the Roman period, the temple was renovated to house the cult of the emperor. In the Byzantine era, a basilica was built on part of the site. In the Ottoman times, a part of the temple was demolished to make way for the residence of the local Turkish Bey.
Fountain of Peirene
The Fountain of Peirene consisted of six chambers providing access to three deep basins. These were supplied with water from four huge reservoirs under the Forum. It is said that poets would travel there to drink and receive inspiration. According to legend, the fountain was created by Pegasus who struck the ground with his hoof, cracking the earth open. The cavern was filled by the water nymph Peirene who wept so much after the loss of her son that she simply dissolved into the spring, creating an eternal source of water.
Acrocorinth, the acropolis of ancient Corinth, stands 575m above the ancient city and is still largely encircled by 2km of wall. It was first a Greek acropolis, then a Roman citadel and later it became a Byzantine fortress. Amid the extensive remains is a jumble of chapels, mosques, houses, battlements and the Temple of Aphrodite.
- Originally, the Temple of Apollo had six columns along the front and back of the temple and fifteen down each side.
- The fountain house was the gift of Herodes Atticus, a wealthy Athenian and friend of Emperor Hadrian. Water still flows through the underground cisterns and supplies the modern village of Corinth.
- The Corinth Archaeological Museum provides a comprehensive view of finds from the archaeological site of Ancient Corinth, including Neolithic finds, Corinthian pottery and ceramics, mosaic floors and numerous headless marble statues.