The legendary Kingdom of Agamemnon
Mycenae 'Rich in Gold', the kingdom of mythical Agamemnon, first sung by Homer in his epics, is the most important and richest palatial centre of the Late Bronze Age in Greece. Its name was given to one of the greatest civilizations of Greek prehistory, the Mycenaean civilization, while the myths related to its history have inspired poets and writers over many centuries, from the Homeric epics and the great tragedies of the Classical period to contemporary literary and artistic creation. The construction of the palace and fortification wall currently visible began c. 1350 BC (Late Helladic IIIA2). Several local cults of heroes developed in the area, fuelled by Mycenae's fame, which the Homeric poems spread throughout Greece. The town was abandoned in subsequent centuries and was already in ruins when Pausanias visited it in the second century AD.
The Queen of Peloponnese
The site of ancient Corinth is located at the northern base of the hill of Acrocorinth at the site of today’s agglomeration, Ancient Corinth. Its fertile soil but mainly its strategic location at the intersection of land routes from the Balkan peninsula of Aimos and mainland Greece on towards the Peloponnese and waterways that connect the western Mediterranean to its Eastern counterpart, to Asia Minor and to Syro-Palestine, offered the region from very early on enormous potential for communication, growth and prosperity. The economic prosperity of the city reached its apogee in the 7th– 6th centuries BC under the administration of the tyrant Cypselus and his son Periander. The strength of Corinth made its mark in a grandiose way in splendid buildings like the Temple of Apollo (560 BC), the elevation of the Isthmian Games, held at the Corinthian sanctuary of Poseidon and Amphitrite at Isthmus, to the status of Panhellenic Games (584 BC) even further increased the fame and influence of the city.
Epidaurus - Asklepieion
The heeling center of Greece
A major crowd puller among the archaeological destinations of Greece, Epidaurus is famed for its unmatched theatre, as well as for its Asklepieion, thus named the sanctuaries sacred to Asclepius, the healing god and son of Apollo. Combining religious faith with empirical knowledge and occult rituals with actual treatment, the Asklepieia functioned pretty much as hospitals and, needless to say, they were of great significance to Greeks and Romans alike. The Asklepieion of Epidaurus in particular was the most important therapeutic center of the ancient Greek world, followed by that of Kos, the birthplace of Hippocrates and medicine.
Where the Olympic spirit was born
In western Peloponnese, in the beautiful valley of the Alpheios river, lies the most celebrated sanctuary of ancient Greece. Dedicated to Zeus, the father of the gods, it sprawls over the southwest foot of Mount Kronios, at the confluence of the Alpheios and the Kladeos rivers, in a lush, green landscape. Although secluded near the west coast of the Peloponnese, Olympia became the most important religious and athletic centre in Greece. Its fame rests upon the Olympic Games, the greatest national festival and a highly prestigious one world-wide, which was held every four years to honour Zeus. The origin of the cult and of the festival went back many centuries. Local myths concerning the famous Pelops, the first ruler of the region, and the river Alpheios, betray the close ties between the sanctuary and both the East and West. In 776 BC, Iphitos, king of Elis, Kleosthenes of Pisa and Lykourgos of Sparta reorganized the Olympic Games in honour of Zeus and instituted the sacred ekecheiria, or truce. Soon the quadrennial festival acquired a national character.