Nafplio is the first capital of the modern Greece. Through the history has changed so many times a name with the most popular one the “Napoli di Romania” during the late middle ages and early modern period, under the Venetian domination. The original name came in the 19th century and early 20th century, where the city was called, Nafplio or Nafplion.

The city is one of the most graphic cities in the Greek mainland and a very popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Almost 14,000 people live permanently in the city since 2011. In the historic Greece Nafplio was the port of one of the most ancient cities in the world, Argos.  It is said that Nafplio was named by Nauplius, son of Poseidon and Anymone, and the father of Palamedes. It is said also that Nauplians were Egyptians belonging to the colony that Danaus brought to Argos.

The city was once surrounded by the Acronafplia walls that are dating from pre-classical times. Subsequently Byzantines, Franks, Venetians and Turks have contributed to the extension of the Acronafplia walls.

Nafplio was a major Ottoman stronghold and was besieged for more than a year during the Greek War of Independence. It became the seat of the provisional government of Greece after its capture from Ioannis Kapodistrias, due to its strong fortifications. It was in 1829 that Nafplio became the first capital of the modern Greece. Nafplio remained the capital of Greece since 1834, one year after Kapodistria’s murder when King Otto decided to move the capital to Athens.

The Franks with the help of the Venetians captured the city and destroyed the fortress. Franks were controlling the Acronafplia, the biggest part of the city at this time for 200 years before selling it to Venetians. When Venetians took over the control, they extended the walls of the Acronafplia and completed their work by 1470. This was the year that Venetians built the Bourtzi Fortrees, the small island with the castle in the middle of the harbor. At this period, people expanded the city into the lagoon between the sea and the walls of the Acronafplia with the fear of the Turks. During this period many major buildings were constructed with the most popular one the Church of Saint George. Nothing could stop the Turks when Suleiman the First decided to control the city. When Turks took over, they had the control of the city for 100 years and made it the major import/export center of the mainland of Greece.

The second period of the Venetian rule started in 1686, when Vice Admiral Morozini created a force of Venetians, Germans and Poles and took over the control of the city by Turks. Venetians made major repair to the walls of the city and also constructed the Palamidi fortress. This was one more time in the history that Nafplio became again the capital of the Peloponnese. The fight for the control of the city continued and thirty years later Turks came back more aggressive and at this time took control by destroying pretty much everything and killing all the defenders of the city. This was another major stop in the history of Nafplio where Turks started constructing mosques, baths and homes that are still alive.

The next major stop in the history that is also one of the most important stops in the history of Greeks is the revolution of 1821, when in April the leader Theodore Kolokotronis surrounded the city of Nafplio and liberated it from the Turks. This was the period that the modern Greece started and in 1829 it was recognized by all the major powers of the world such as England and France.

Nowdays, Nafplio is one of the most graphic cities of the mainland of Greece and one of the most popular destination for both internal and external tourism. Greeks are trying to promote Nafplio with organizing different events that attract a lot of tourists in the city.

The most popular part of the city is the part extended behind the port and underneath the Acronafplia castle. According to a Greek law the landlords are not allowed to make major changes at the buildings in order to keep the Venetian style in the city. The old city is full of pedestrian paths with only one major road that allows access with a car.

Find a full guide for the city of Nafplio – click HERE.

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