Nafplio or Anapli is a city in the Peloponnese, capital of the
Regional Unit of Argolida, seat of the municipality of Nafplio and
the main port of the eastern Peloponnese. According to the 2011
census it had 14,203 inhabitants. It has been characterized as a
traditional settlement and was the capital of the Greek state during
the period 1828 - 1833.
Nafplio is known for Bourtzi, a small fortress built on an island in the port. From 1930 the castle was transformed into a hotel, which operated until 1970, hosting many celebrities. Today, together with Palamidi, it is the trademark of the city of Nafplio and you can go by boats in front of the port. The view from Bourtzi to the city, with the emblematic Palamidi is simply magnificent.
Palamidi is a Venetian fortress that dominates the city, for Akronafplia (Turk. Its-Kale), another Venetian fortress, on the peninsula of the same name, as well as the place of murder of Ioannis Kapodistrias.
According to Greek mythology, Nafplio founded Nafplia on the site of today's city, which was fortified with cyclopean walls. Archaeological findings prove the existence of the city from the Mycenaean years.
Nafplio is a popular destination for the inhabitants of Attica and the Peloponnese as it is a short distance from both areas. Among the most beautiful buildings in the city are the Armensberg Palace (residence of the regent of Greece Armansberg) as well as the archeological museum in Syntagma Square. There is also a branch of the National Gallery in the city.
Ancient and Byzantine times
In ancient times, on the site of Nafplio was the city of Nafplio. According to mythology, its inhabitant was Nafplio, son of Poseidon and Amymon, while the fifth descendant participated in the Argonaut Campaign. The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In Pronoia were found artifacts and tombs from the Middle Helladic period (17th-16th century BC) and in the area of Evangelistria chambered tombs of the Mycenaean era. Among the finds stands a rhyto-basket depicting a chamois. From the area of Pronoia there are findings of the geometric era. Traces of habitation have also been found in Palamidi, Akronafplia, Koutsouria and Karathona.
Nafplia was an autonomous city until the 7th century BC, when it was conquered from nearby Argos, with Damocrates as king, when Nafplio allied with the Spartans before the end of the second Messinian war, according to Pausanias. Later it became a port of Argos, but lost its importance when Pausanias visited it in the 2nd century AD. it was in ruins. On the hill of Akronafplia was a sanctuary of Poseidon. Acronafplia was fortified during Hellenistic times and parts of this fortification survive to this day.
During the early Christian and early Byzantine times, Nafplio was a small town. Hierarchically it belonged to the diocese of Argos. Due to the invasions of the Barbarians in the 6th-9th century AD, inhabitants of the central Peloponnese settled on the fortified hill creating the present city of Nafplio. An Arab invasion in the 10th century destroyed Nafplio, but in the 11th century it became a commercial center and belongs to the diocese of Argos and Nafplio. In 1199 the Venetians were granted a free trade privilege in Nafplio. In 1180 Manuel I Komnenos appoints Theodoros Sgouros as lord of Nafplio, who manages to ward off the pirates. He was succeeded by Leon Sgouros, who declared an autonomous kingdom and extended the territory to Larissa, but its expansion was stopped by the 4th Crusade in 1204. Leon Sgouros was fortified in Acrocorinth, where he died in 1208, and the rights of Nafplio his widow, Evdokia Angelina, passed them on to Michael Angelos, despot of Epirus. Eventually, Geoffrey Villehardouin conquered Nafplio after a siege in 1210. From the two bastions of Acronafplia, they occupied the east, which became known as Frankish, while the west remained in the hands of the Byzantines, and became known as Roman.
Venetian and Ottoman times
Geoffrey Villehardouin handed over Nafplio in 1212 to Otto de la Ross, lord of the Duchy of Athens, along with Argos and Kiveri. After a treaty between the Byzantines and the Franks signed in 1289, the inhabitants of the city, to show their unity, drew on the gate of the castle hagiographies of saints of the eastern and western church and the emblem of the Palaeologans and de la Ross.
At the threat of the Catalan Society, Nafplio passed into the possession of Walter de Brienne, the last Duke of Athens, and after his death passed to the Angian family, whose last descendant was Maria Angian, who in 1377 was 13 years old and feared. both the Greeks and the Florentines Atsagioli of Corinth, married Peter Cornaro, in order to have the protection of Venice. However, Petros Kornaros died in 1388, and so the widow ceded her lands (Argos and Nafplio) to Venice, so that they would not pass into the possession of Nerios Atsagioli or Theodoros Paleologos, despot of Mystras and his son-in-law Nerios, in exchange for life sponsorship. Although the Atsagioli managed to occupy Nafplio, eventually its inhabitants preferred the Venetians. In 1394, a hospital in Nafplio was created by the legacy of Nerios Atsagioli.
The Venetians, realizing the strategic importance of the city,
fortify it. The city of Nafplio spread on the northern slopes of
Acronafplia, creating the Lower City, the current historical center
of Nafplio. The area was swampy and for this reason stakes and
artificial alluvium were used. Kato Poli was fortified with a wall
that started from the castle of Toros, at the eastern end of the
peninsula, also Venetian, and reached as far as Kapodistriou Square.
The only entrance from the mainland was the Land Gate (Porta di
Terra ferma) to the east. In the northeast corner was a circular
tower. Then they followed Amalias Avenue to Agios Nikolaos Square,
then to the northwest was the Teresa bastion and then the Five
Brothers bastion, where five cannons were placed which gave the
bastion its name, and then continued until of Acronafplia. There
were three gates in the north wall. In 1470 the islet of Agioi
Theodoroi (today's Bourtzi) was fortified. A second line of defense
was also built within the walls of Acronafplia, known as the
"traverse of Gabello", by the architect who designed it. The
Venetians called Nafplio Napoli di Romania. A 1530 report states
that it had 13,299 inhabitants.
In 1396, the Ottomans, led by Yuk-Pasha and Murtasi besieged Nafplio but withdrew due to the invasion of Tamerlane. Nafplio tried unsuccessfully to besiege Muhammad the Conqueror in 1463 and Bayezid II, but with a treaty of 1502 Nafplio remained under Venetian occupation. In 1530, Suleiman the Magnificent tried to capture Nafplio. In 1540, Nafplio, after a three-year siege and most of the buildings destroyed by the bombing, came under Ottoman rule. During the First Ottoman period, Nafplio was the seat of the Turkish governor of the Peloponnese. The Ottomans maintain the appearance of the city, while building mosques, Turkish baths, madrassas and public works, such as fountains. The only surviving description of Nafplio at that time is that of Evliya Celebi. From this period it is considered that the mosque known as "Trianon" survives.
In 1686, Francesco Morosini recaptured Nafplio for the Venetians after a siege and bombardment that destroyed most of the city's buildings, 30 gunpowder depots and an aqueduct. Nafplio is defined as the capital of the kingdom of Morea. By 1699 they repaired the damage to buildings and fortifications caused by the bombing and then rebuilt new fortifications. Residence in Akronafplia was banned in 1686 and the area was leveled. Then, after 1702, Palamidi was fortified and the eastern wall and the gate of Xira were rebuilt. The fortification of Palamidi is designed by Giaxich and Lasalle and was completed in just three years (1711-1714). Another important building of that period is the fleet depot, the current archeological museum. The alluvium of the city is expanding due to the housing needs of its inhabitants.
With the beginning of the 7th Venetian-Turkish War, in 1715, about 2,000 people remained in Nafplio to defend the city. Despite the resistance of the defenders, Nafplio passed into the hands of the Ottomans after the betrayal of the guard and commander of the artillery Sala. Nafplio was designated the capital of the vilayet of Moria, until it was moved to Tripoli in 1770, so that the pasha could escape to the mountains in case of danger. Its port was used to export wheat, which almost all ended up in Istanbul. The vast majority of the population of Nafplio from 1715 to 1822 were Muslims, while there were minorities of which the largest were Christian and Jewish. In 1779, Hassan Pasha, in the context of the extermination of the Arvanites who were plundering the Peloponnese, managed to precipitate them from Palamidi and since then this coast is called "Arvanitia". Nafplio was affected by a plague epidemic in the period 1799-1801, which reduced the population by half. Puckeville in 1799 states that Nafplio has about 7,000 inhabitants and the most remarkable port in the Peloponnese. Important buildings that survive from this period are the mosque of Aga Pasha (now Parliament), its midwife and Frangoklisia (catholic church, originally a mosque).
Revolution of 1821 and part of Greece
During the revolution of 1821, the first siege of Nafplio took
place from 4-10 April 1821, by land and sea (led by Bouboulina).
Another followed which was relaxed by Kehagias Bey and one under
Nikitas Stamatelopoulos. At the same time, two English ships
provided supplies to the besieged. On June 18, 1822, the Turks were
forced to surrender, but reinforcements from Dramalis delayed the
treaty. On November 30, 1822, the Greeks managed to secretly invade
Palamidi during the night under the command of Staikos Staikopoulos
and finally, on December 3, 1822, the guard surrendered. On January
18, 1823, Nafplio was designated the seat of government, which was
established there in June 1824, and on May 4, 1827, by decision of
the Third National Assembly, the "seat" of the government. The first
issue of the Government Gazette was printed in Nafplio on September
22, 1825. The executive was housed in the Aga Pasha's quarters and
the MP was housed in the Aga Pasha's file. The choice of Nafplio as
a capital lies in the fact that it was by the sea, and could be
supplied by sea in case of siege. It was also close to Spetses and
Hydra and could control several areas of the Peloponnese and sea
routes. The seat of government was temporarily moved to Aegina from
August 1827 until March 3, 1829 for security reasons, but the seat
remained in Nafplio.
The Muslim population has left, except for some captive officials. The fortifications, the empty houses and the security it offered led Nafplio to receive a large number of refugees, especially after the landing of Ibrahim Pasha and the fall of Messolonghi in 1826, leading it to a state of overpopulation. The large population, poor sanitation, the nearby swamp, the lack of drinking water contributed to the outbreak of plague and malaria. The refugees left Nafplio in the following years and in 1829, Nafplio had 5,550 inhabitants, according to data from a French mission, while in 1853 3,435 inhabitants.
Ioannis Kapodistrias landed in Nafplio on January 8, 1828. Nafplio was redesigned, according to the urban plan of Stamatis Voulgaris, who had come with Kapodistrias, who used a rectangular plan, with squares and straight streets. Many Ottoman buildings, such as the hammams and the sahnisia, were either demolished or changed use. In 1828 the suburb Pronoia was built to house refugees. The hospital was also renovated and efforts were made to create a water supply and sewerage network. The first mutual school in Greece was founded in Nafplio. In 1829 the governor's palace was built. Ioannis Kapodistrias was assassinated on October 9, 1831 by members of the Mavromichalis family in front of the church of Agios Spyridon in Nafplio. The country sank into a period of anarchy until the arrival of King Otto, who landed in Nafplio on January 25, 1833. With the transfer of the capital to Athens in 1834, Nafplio became a typical provincial town.
On February 1, 1862, a military movement broke out in Nafplio with the aim of dethroning King Otto, which was renamed Nafplio. Although unsuccessful, the general uproar it caused led to the expulsion of Otto a few months later.
The sea walls were demolished in 1867, to create Amalias Avenue, in 1894-5 the eastern walls and the moat was filled to build a railway station, while in 1929 two bastions were demolished to create Kapodistrias Square and a school. In 1962, the old town of Nafplio, between the railway station and the site "Five Brothers", was designated an archaeological site and a monument.
After the Asia Minor catastrophe in 1922 and the population exchange in 1923 in Nafplio, which then had a population of 6,000, about 900 refugees settled. The area that was determined to cover their housing needs was the one that was defined by the streets Asklipiou - Agapitou - Argos - Paleologos - Lambrou - Harmanta - Tsilikanidou and was located northeast of Nafplio. It had an area of 50 acres. The construction of the first refugee residences took place in 1929, although the expropriations were completed in 1939. Today it is the settlement of New Byzantium.