November 12 - 18, 2017: Issue 337


A pleasant view of the site of Ancient Corinth.


By George Repin

The man-made Corinth Canal cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth, in effect separating the Peloponnese from the mainland of Greece.  The purpose of building the canal was to save the 700 Kilometre (430 mile) journey around the Peloponnese, from the Gulf of Corinth to the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea.  Despite various attempts, starting as far back as proposals in the 7th Century BCE, and a failed effort to build it in the 1st Century CE this aim has never been satisfactorily realised.  

Map of Greece showing location of the Isthmus of Corinth with a red cross.

Today, the canal is too narrow for modern ocean freighters which are limited to up to 17.6 metres (58 ft) in width and 7.3 metres (24 ft) draft.  Ships can use the canal only in convoys on a one-way system.  The canal was dug through the isthmus at sea level so no locks were necessary. It is 6.4 Kilometres (4 miles) long. The narrowness of the canal makes navigation difficult, particularly as the high rock walls channel strong winds down its length, while the different times of the tides at the two gulfs at its ends cause strong tidal currents in the channel.  A further problem arises from the fact that the canal has been cut through faulted sedimentary rock in an active seismic zone so that its high limestone walls have been unstable from the start.

The Canal of Corinth.

Three vessels in the canal.

The canal is crossed by a road, a motorway and a railway line, at a height of about 45 metres (148 ft).

Metal railway bridge across the canal.

Road bridge across the canal. 

It is used mainly by about 11,000 tourist vessels each year and is now of little economic importance.

Ancient Corinth, an important archaeological site, is on the Greek mainland side of the canal.  It had a long and involved history.  It has a particular resonance for Christians because of two letters in the New Testament written by St Paul – the First Corinthians and the Second Corinthians. When a village which had grown up around the remains of Ancient Corinth was destroyed by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake in 1858  a new town, New Corinth,  was established 3 Km.  (1.9 miles) to the North-East.  This town, now simply called Corinth, is a major industrial and road hub but otherwise offers little of interest.

On the other hand, Ancient Corinth is worthy of exploration and the associated museum includes interesting exhibits.   

Ruins in Ancient Corinth.

An overview of the site of Ancient Corinth.

Stone vessel believed to have stored liquids.

A mosaic in the Ancient Corinth site museum.

 Detail of the mosaic.

A piece of decorated marble from the site.

A ceramic plate with a fish motif.

A ceramic plate with a deer motif.

(Photographs by George Repin in October 2006) 

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service  Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino  Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant  Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre   Around Angkor - 1963   Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross  The Oceaographic  Museum  in Monaco  The Island of Elba  Russian Fairy Tale Plates  Meteora  Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska  Cloisonné  Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories  Not A Chagall!  Did You Listen? Did You Ask?  Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand  Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells  Murano  University of Padua  Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi   Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park   Aphrodisias   The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children  Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre   Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island    ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997  Hotere Garden Oputae  Children of the Trobriand Islands  Page Park Market - Rabaul  Rabual   Kotor, Montenegro   Galleries of Photographs I   Lascaux  Galleries of Photographs II   The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia  Ivan Meštrović  - Sculptor   Delphi   Gallery of Photographs III  The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point  San Simeon - "Hearst Castle"  Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982  Russian New Year  Mycenae  "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska  The White Pass and Yukon Route  Totem Poles  Tivkin Cemetery  Krka National Park - Croatia   Tavistock Square and the BMA  Orthodox Easter  Wieliczka Salt Mine  A Walk on Santorini  Indonesian Snapshots Ephesus - The Library of Celsus  Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest  Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958  A Miscellany of Flower Images Gardens Bath St. David's In Wales   Zion National Park Nicholas Himona - Artist  Kraków  Lilianfels  Collonges-La-Rouge  Gingerbread Houses   Cape Sounion   Delos  Wroclaw  Colonial Williamsburg  Gruyères   Strasbourg  Coventry Cathedral  The Roman Theatre at Aspendos  Turkish Carpets The Duomo of Orvieto  Rovinj  The City Walls of Dubrovnik Monaco - Snapshots   Bonifacio, Corsica  Autumn in New England USA  The Great Ocean Road  Pompeii  Didyma  Lawrence Hargrave 1850-1915 

Copyright George Repin 2017. All Rights Reserved.