Argos is one of the oldest cities in mainland Europe but also a modern city with attractions and places that interest every visitor. The reason for this brief reference to the city of Argos was an article in Time Out according to which Argos is considered to be one of the most quality and economical tourist destinations in Europe. Really, how well do we here in Argolida and the visitors of the area know it?
Argos, just 135 km from Athens, gives the feeling of an excursion, a short getaway to a living album of monuments, in the heart of the Argolic land that combines nature, history and sea. The ancient city of Argos is in the heart of the Argolid plain. It is a road junction and shopping center of Argolid. The city center maintains several neoclassical buildings, while offering sidewalks that give it liveliness, rhythm and that host remarkable entertainment venues. Characteristic of modern Argos, the modern square of Agios Petros but also the imposing castle at the top of the hill of Larissa, a sign that testifies the past of one of the most glorious cities of Greece and Europe.
Its history is lost in many thousands of years, when its first king was Danaos from Phenicia, whom in the 7th century BC had such prosperity that together with Thebes they became the greatest powers in Greece. The cultural development of ancient times is evidenced by the many monuments, most notably the Castle. The visitor follows the asphalt road and climbs the hill to admire the view from the place where the ancient citadel was located. Traces of the foundations of the temple of Zeus and Athena Poliados are preserved in its precinct, while a little further down the slope is the church of Panagia Katakekrymeni or Vrachos.
The excavations of the French Archaeological School of Athens brought to light another monument that certainly makes an impression, notably, the ancient theater. Today, only the foundations survive from its stage, but the 89 rows of seats betray its size and rank it among the largest ancient theaters in Greece. Next to it you will see the Roman baths, a semicircular conservatory, ruins of the sanctuary of Aphrodite and in the ancient city parts of the ancient market.
In 1210 the Crusaders conquered Argos and from 1246 to 1261 it belonged to the Duchy of Athens. In 1463 the whole of Argolis was conquered by the Turks, who had invaded the Peloponnese in the past and had conquered Argos for the first time in 1397.
During the Revolution of 1821, Argos, due to its location, played an important role. Initially, this city was chosen by Dimitrios Ypsilantis as its seat and at the end of the same year, the First National Assembly began its work there. The first mint operated in the Holy Monastery of Katakrymeni, when Argos became the seat of the Government for a short time. When Kapodistrias arrived in Greece, the 4th National Assembly was held in Argos, as was the National Assembly after his assassination.
Nowadays, Argos is the most populous city in the prefecture of Argolida and gathers many of its services. Fundamental economic activities are agriculture, trade and tourism. It is worth noting that as the oldest city in Greece, it participates in the Network of Ancient Cities of Europe and is the largest open-air museum in the country, with numerous and unique finds placed in each historical period. It has to offer to the visitor a multitude of monuments from prehistoric and historical times, museums, historical churches and rich ecclesiastical relics, the old town, characteristic architectural elements, neoclassical buildings, etc.
Kefalari, a stone’s throw from Argos, just 5 km, is an interesting walk. There you will enjoy a location rich in vegetation, with running water that springs from the foundations of the historic church of Zoodochos Pigi. Three kilometers from Kefalari the visitor will have the opportunity to admire the ruins of the pyramid of Elliniko, a very important fortification monument of historical times.
An excursion to Argos is pleasant at any time of the year, because it can be combined with visits to nearby, important archeological sites, such as Mycenae, Heraion, Midea – Dendra, Tiryns, Epidaurus. In summer, the coastline from Kyveri, Mylos and Nea Kio is offered to enjoy the sea and good food with quality and economy.
*For Neos Kosmos via Anagnostis Peloponnisou