Nafplio (Greek: Ναύπλιο) is a seaport town in the Peloponnese
Greece that has expanded up the hillsides near the north end of the
Argolic Gulf. The town was an important seaport held under a
succession of royal houses in the
Middle Ages as part of the lordship
Argos and Nauplia, held initially by the de la Roche following the
Fourth Crusade before coming under the
Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice and, lastly,
the Ottoman Empire. The town was the capital of the First Hellenic
Republic and of the Kingdom of Greece, from the start of the Greek
Revolution in 1821 until 1834.
Nafplio is now the capital of the
regional unit of Argolis.
5.1 Classical antiquity
5.2 Byzantine and Frankish rule
5.3 Venetian and Ottoman rule
5.4 19th century
5.5 20th and 21st centuries
7 Architecture and urban sculpture
9 Notable people
10 International relations
10.1 Twin towns – sister cities
13 See also
16 External links
The name of the town changed several times over the centuries. The
modern Greek name of the town is
Nafplio (Ναύπλιο). In
modern English, the most frequently used forms are Nauplia and
During the Classical Antiquity, it was known as Nauplia
(Ναυπλία) in Attic Greek and Naupliē
(Ναυπλίη) in Ionian Greek. In Latin, it was called
During the Middle Ages, several variants were used in Byzantine Greek,
including Náfplion (Ναύπλιον), Anáplion (Ἀνάπλιον),
and Anáplia (Ἀνάπλια).
During the Late
Middle Ages and early modern period, under Venetian
domination, the town was known in Italian as Napoli di Romania, after
the medieval usage of "Romania" to refer to the lands of the Byzantine
Empire, and to distinguish it from Napoli (Naples) in Italy.
Also during the early modern period, but this time under Ottoman rule,
the Turkish name of the town was Mora Yenişehir, after Morea, a
medieval name for the Peloponnese, and "yeni şehir," the Turkish term
for "new city" (apparently a translation from the Greek
Νεάπολη, Italian Napoli). The Ottomans also called it Anabolı.
In the 19th century and early 20th century, the town was called
indiscriminately Náfplion (Ναύπλιον) and Nafplio
(Ναύπλιο) in modern Greek. Both forms were used in official
documents and travel guides. This explains why the old form Náfplion
(sometimes transliterated to Navplion) still occasionally survives up
to this day.
Panorama of modern Nafplion.
Nafplio is situated on the
Argolic Gulf in the northeast Peloponnese.
Most of the old town is on a peninsula jutting into the gulf; this
peninsula forms a naturally protected bay that is enhanced by the
addition of man-made moles. Originally almost isolated by marshes,
deliberate landfill projects, primarily since the 1970s, have nearly
doubled the land area of the city.
Nafplio was formed at the 2011 local government
reform by the merger of the following 4 former municipalities, that
became municipal units:
The municipality has an area of 390.241 km2, the municipal unit 33.619
The area surrounding
Nafplio has been inhabited since ancient times,
but few signs of this, aside from the walls of the Acronauplia, remain
visible. The town has been a stronghold on several occasions during
Classical Antiquity. It seems to be mentioned on an Egyptian funerary
Amenophis III as Nuplija.
Byzantine and Frankish rule
Further information: Byzantine Greece, Frankokratia, and Lordship of
Argos and Nauplia
The castle of Palamidi
View of Bourtzi.
Map of the city of Nafplion (Napoli di Romania), 1597.
The Entry of King Otto into Nauplia by Peter von Hess
Acronauplia has walls dating from pre-classical times.
Subsequently, Byzantines, Franks, Venetians, and Turks added to the
Nafplio was taken in 1212 by French crusaders of the
Principality of Achaea. It became part of the lordship of
Nauplia, which in 1388 was sold to the Republic of Venice. During
the subsequent 150 years, the lower city was expanded and fortified,
and new fortifications added to Acronauplia.
Venetian and Ottoman rule
Stato da Màr
Stato da Màr and Ottoman Greece
The city surrendered to the Ottomans in 1540, who renamed it Mora
Yenişehri and established it as the seat of a sanjak. At that period,
Nafplio looked very much like the 16th century image shown below to
The Venetians retook
Nafplio in 1685 and made it the capital of their
"Kingdom of the Morea". The city was strengthened by building the
castle of Palamidi, which was in fact the last major construction of
the Venetian empire overseas. However, only 80 soldiers were assigned
to defend the city and it was easily retaken by the Ottomans in 1715.
Palamidi is located on a hill north of the old town. During the Greek
War of Independence, it played a major role. It was captured by
Staikos Staikopoulos in November 1822.
During the Greek War of Independence,
Nafplio was a major Ottoman
stronghold and was besieged for more than a year. The town finally
surrendered on account of forced starvation. After its capture,
because of its strong fortifications, it became the seat of the
provisional government of Greece.
Count Ioannis Kapodistrias, first head of state of newly liberated
Greece, set foot on the Greek mainland for the first time in Nafplio
on 7 January 1828 and made it the official capital of
Greece in 1829.
He was assassinated on 9 October 1831 by members of the Mavromichalis
family, on the steps of the church of Saint Spyridon in Nafplio. After
his assassination, a period of anarchy followed, until the arrival of
King Otto and the establishment of the new Kingdom of Greece. Nafplio
remained the capital of the kingdom until 1834, when King Otto decided
to move the capital to Athens.
20th and 21st centuries
Tourism emerged slowly in the 1960s, but not to the same degree as
some other Greek areas. Nevertheless, it tends to attract a number of
Germany and the Scandinavian countries in particular.
Nafplio enjoys a very sunny and mild climate, even by Greek standards,
and as a consequence has become a popular day or weekend road-trip
destination for Athenians in wintertime.
Nafplio is a port, with fishing and transport ongoing, although the
primary source of local employment currently is tourism, with two
beaches on the other side of the peninsula from the main body of the
town and a large amount of local accommodation.
The building of the National Bank of
Greece is probably the only one
in the world to have been built in the
Mycenaean Revival architectural
Plateia Syntagmatos (Constitution Square).
Nafplio train station in 2008.
Since 1952, the town has been served by public bus (KTEL Argolida),
which provides daily services to all destinations in region as well as
other major Greek centers such as Athens. The journey to
Athens takes two to two hours and 20 minutes, going via
Corinth/Isthmos and Argos.
Train service began in 1886 and using an earlier station that still
The town is connected by a branch line of ten kilometers from
Nafplio. In 2011, the Corinth-Tripoli-
Nafplio train service was
suspended during the Greek financial crisis. There was a plan to
re-open the line as an extension of the suburban railway that connects
Corinth with Athens, but that has not happened.
Architecture and urban sculpture
Traditional houses. View from Acronauplia.
Statue of Theodoros Kolokotronis
Fortifications of Acronauplia
Acronauplia is the oldest part of the city though a modern hotel has
been built on it. Until the thirteenth century, it was a town on its
own. The arrival of the Venetians and the
Franks transformed it into
part of the town fortifications. Other fortifications of the city
Palamidi and Bourtzi, which is located in the middle of
Nafplio maintains a traditional architectural style with many
traditional-style colourful buildings and houses, partly influenced by
the Venetians, because of the domination of 1338-1540. Also,
modern-era neoclassical buildings are also preserved, while the
building of the National Bank of
Greece is an example of Mycenaean
Around the city can be found several sculptures and statues. They are
related mostly with the modern history of Nafplio, such as the statues
of Ioannis Kapodistrias, Otto of
Greece and Theodoros Kolokotronis.
Since 2003, the University of
Peloponnese has incorporated a new
faculty, the School of Fine Arts. In 2007, a single department exists,
the Department of Theatre, offering four majors:
Acting & Directing
Set design & Costume design
Nicolas "the Greek": One of the 18 survivors of the expedition that
completed the first circumnavigation of the world in 1519-1522 (see
Tellos Agras (1880–1907), fighter in the Greek Struggle for
Leonidas Drosis, sculptor.
Nina Bawden (1925-2012), writer (resident).
Timoleon Filimon, politician
Austen Kark (1926–2002) managing director of the BBC World Service
Nikos Karouzos (1926–1990), poet.
Vangelis Kazan (1936–2008), actor.
Sotirios Sotiropoulos (1831–1898), lawyer, politician and former
Prime Minister of Greece.
Angelos Terzakis (1907–1979), writer.
Charilaos Trikoupis (Greek: Χαρίλαος Τρικούπης) (July
11, 1832 – April 1896), Prime Minister of
Greece seven times from
1875 until 1895.
Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Greek: Παναγιώτης Ταχτσίδης)
(February 15, 1991), football player currently playing in Italian
Serie A for Cagliari Calcio.
Emmanouil Zymvrakakis (army general)
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Greece
Twin towns – sister cities
Nafplio is twinned with:
Amiens, France
Montenegro since 1995
France since 1987
France since 1996
United States since 1995
Germany since 1978
Poti, Georgia (1990)
France since 2005
United States since 1997
Byzantine church (12th)
Monument for the
Morea Expedition, Philellinon Square
View of Acronauplia
Clock tower, Acronauplia
View from Palamidi
The building of National Bank of
Greece (example of Mycenaean Revival
"Trion Navarchon" (Three admirals) Square with the monument to
The church of Saint Nicholas
St. George Church
Street of Nafplio
History of Greece
Politics of Greece
List of traditional Greek place names
^ a b "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011.
ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical
^ « ΑΡΓΟΛΙΚΗ ΑΡΧΕΙΑΚΗ ΒΙΒΛΙΟΘΗΚΗ
ΙΣΤΟΡΙΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΜΟΥ. "Ναύπλιον –
Ετυμολογία του Ονόματος". Argolikivivliothiki.gr.
^ See Merriam-Webster's (1993), p. 1495.
^ a b See Liddell and Scott revised by Jones (1940), Ναυπλία.
^ See Liddell and Scott (1889), Ναυπλία. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
^ See Bailly (1901), p. 585, Ναυπλία. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
^ a b See Smith (1854), NAU´PLIA. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
^ Entick's English-Latin dictionary. Books.google.com. 2007-11-20.
^ Kallikratis law
Greece Ministry of Interior (in Greek)
^ "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average
elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of
^ See Latacz (2004), p. 131.
^ Diplomatarium No. 127.
^ Wright, Ch. 1.
Greece At Its Most Greek," by Phyllis rose, September 10, 2000, New
^ "Company". K.T.E.L Argolidas. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
^ "Transportation Means". Municipality of Nafplion. Municipality of
Nafplion. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
^ "Map/Transport". Visit Nafplio. Archived from the original on 1
April 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
^ "The historical railway station of Nafplio". TrainOSE. Retrieved 6
^ Zikakou, Ioanna (October 13, 2014). "Hellenic Railway to Reach
Nafplio". Greek Reporter. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
^ Faculties and Departments. University of
^ (in Greek) Study Plan. University of Peloponnese, Department of
Theater Studies website.
^ a b "Twinnings" (PDF). Central Union of Municipalities &
Communities of Greece. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
^ "Royal city of Cetinje". Retrieved 2013-09-21.
^ "Office du tourisme de Menton". Archived from the original on
2013-09-23. Retrieved 2013-09-21.
^ "Niles Sister Cities". Official website. The Village of Niles. 2010.
Archived from the original on 2009-03-22. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
^ "City council minutes" (PDF).
Royan city hall. 2005-06-02. Retrieved
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Paris, France: Hachette .
Entick, John. A Compendious Dictionary of the English and Latin
Tongues. New edition carefully revised and augmented throughout by
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Gerola, Giuseppe (1930–31). “Le fortificazioni di Napoli di
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missioni italiane in oriente 22-24. pp. 346–410.
Gregory, Timothy E. (1983). Nauplion. Athens.
Karouzos, Semnes (1979). To Nauplio. Athens.
Kolokotrones, Theodoros (1969). Memoirs from the Greek War of
Independence, 1821-1833. E. M. Edmunds, trans. Originally printed as
Kolokotrones: The Klepht and the Warrior. Sixty Years of Peril and
Daring. An Autobiography. London, 1892; reprint, Chicago.
Lamprynides, Michael G. (1898). Ê Nauplia. Athens, reprint 1950.
Latacz, Joachim (2004), Troy and Homer: Towards the Solution of an Old
Mystery, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press .
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Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press .
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revised and augmented by Sir Henry Stuart Jones, Oxford, UK: Clarendon
Luttrell, Anthony (1966), "The Latins of
Argos and Nauplia:
1311-1394", Papers of the British School at Rome, Vol. 34,
pp. 34–55 .
McCulloch, J. R. (1866). "A Dictionary, Geographical, Statistical, and
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and Co., London, UK. p. 457. ()
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Mass., USA: Merriam-Webster, 1993 .
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Nauplias im Mittelalter," Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen
Instituts. Vol. 76, pp. 156–214.
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(1854), London, UK: Walton and Maberly .
Thomas, George Martin (1966). Diplomatarium Veneto-Levantinum. B.
Franklin, New York, USA. ()
Wright, Diana Gilliland (1999). Bartolomeo Minio: Venetian
administration in 15th-Century Nauplion. Doctoral dissertation. The
Catholic University of America, Washington DC, USA.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nafplion.
Nafplio Official Website
Historical images, poetry
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Nafplion.
Places adjacent to Nafplio
Administrative division of the
15,490 km2 (5,980 sq mi)
577,903 (as of 2011)
26 (since 2011)
Regional unit of Arcadia
Regional unit of Argolis
Regional unit of Corinthia
Regional unit of Laconia
Regional unit of Messenia
Petros Tatoulis (reelected 2014)
Greece and the Ionian
Subdivisions of the municipality of Nafplio
Municipal unit of Asini
Municipal unit of Midea
Municipal unit of Nafplio
Municipal unit of Nea Tiryntha
Stato da Màr
Stato da Màr of the Republic of Venice
Istria (10th century – 1797)
Dalmatia (11th century – 1797)
Durazzo (Durrës) (1392–1501)
Venetian Albania (1420–1797)
Cerigo (Cythera) and Cerigotto (Anticythera) (1363–1797)
Zante (Zakynthos) (1479–1797)
Santa Maura (Leucas) (1684–1797)
Modon and Coron (1207–1500)
Negroponte (Euboea) (1209/1390–1470)
Napoli di Romania (Nafplio) (1388–1540)
Lepanto (Naupactus) (1407–1540)
Kingdom of the
Crete (1205–1669), then only Souda,
Duchy of the Archipelago
Duchy of the Archipelago (1383–1537/79), then only Sifnos
Soldaia (Sudak) (13th century – 1365)
Fourth Crusade & Frankokratia
Prefectural capitals of Greece