Portocheli

 

Porto Heli or Portocheli is a seaside town and homonymous bay of Argolida. It is located in the south of the prefecture, at a distance of 85 km from Nafplio, built in a natural harbor next to the ruins of the ancient state of Fishermen. Portocheli belongs to the municipality of Ermionida and its population is 1,817 inhabitants. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Argolida and has a highly developed tourist infrastructure. It is especially suitable for boat owners as its port has very good infrastructure and large capacity. It is surrounded by wonderful beaches such as: (Porto Heli AKS Hinitsa Bay, Chrysi Akti, Costa, Ververonda, Korakia, and Limanakia). The place is one of the most secular resorts in the prefecture along with Nafplio, which is why it attracts Shipowners, Big Businessmen and members of Royal Families. Boats depart from the port of Portocheli to the nearby islands of the Saronic Gulf as well as to the opposite coast of Kynouria.

 

The ancient city of the Portocheli  (Fishermen) flourished for about a hundred years, from 468 to 362 BC. It was built in the area of ​​Bouzeika opposite the current settlement of Porto Heli, and its Acropolis was located at the top of the hill, at Kastraki (Bizani). The settlement was spread on the neighboring hill where there are remnants of a wall, but also on the whole hill up to the current sea which was then dry.

At the time of its prosperity, it is estimated that it had 400-500 houses and 2,500 inhabitants, while the city's alliance with the Spartans and the Athenians during the Peloponnesian War made it a theater of war conflicts but also a participant in battles. The export of the very expensive purple (which was processed with secret recipes in Ermioni), the precious oil, its famous wine but above all the important location of the Acropolis and its natural port made the city famous.

It was one of the three ports of Ermionida along with that of Ermioni and Masita. Of course the Gulf of Heli was different then. The area that reached the sea was much deeper, so part of the city, especially two temples of Apollo, are now submerged under water and mud, at a shallow depth.

In 468, however, the Argives destroyed Mycenae and Tiryns, allies of Sparta, and the Dorians of Tyrinth sought refuge with their tribal relatives Dryopes Hermionites after an oracle's sanctuary.

They give them the area of ​​Aliea where they will live together for 150 years with the native Dryopes. At some point the old inhabitants will ally with the soldiers of Demetrius the Besieger in 303 to slaughter the Tiryns.

In 461, the Spartans, worried about the Athens-Argos alliance and the conquest by the Argives of the eastern regions of the Peloponnese, send a merchant ship with thirty warriors and leader Aniristos to capture the Fishermen. Two years later in 459 the Athenians attack to occupy the city. There is an opinion that says that they landed in the area of ​​Flamboura and lost the battle that followed (behind the current hotel "Galaxias"). In fact, in Kerameikos there is an inscription that mentions the fallen in Alievsin and until 1960 there was a tomb in the area.

In 430 and 425, however, the Athenians plundered Portocheli, while in 424-423 they concluded a treaty for the installation of an Athenian guard there and the use of its port, a treaty that lasted until 404. In 370-369 the Portocheli again became allies of Sparta and finally succumbed to Epameinondas and his Argive allies. However, the peace of 362 between the Greek states (with the exception of Sparta) ensured neutrality in the port of Portocheli, despite its alliance with Sparta and its special prosperity.