Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Corinth Canal

On March 14, we toured The Corinth Canal, the six-kilometer canal that connects The Gulf Of Corinth with The Aegean Sea.

The Corinth Canal cuts through The Isthmus Of Corinth, which connects the Greece mainland with The Peloponnesian Peninsula. The purpose of the Canal is to provide passage for ships through The Isthmus Of Corinth, thereby eliminating the need to sail 400 kilometers around The Peloponnese.

Plans for a canal through The Isthmus Of Corinth go back 2600 years. Numerous rulers from Greek and Roman antiquity—including Demetrius I, Julius Caesar and Nero—foresaw the need for such a canal. Preliminary work for the canal was conducted over several centuries and substantial excavations were undertaken in the 1st Century A.D., only to be abandoned in 68 A.D. shortly after Nero’s death.

The Corinth Canal came to fruition only in modern times. Plans were prepared in the 1870’s, construction began in 1881, and the Canal was completed in 1893. Today’s canal path is identical to that projected in Nero’s time.

Still in use, The Corinth Canal is too narrow (it is 21 meters wide) to accommodate modern freighters. The Canal is used today primarily by tourists ships. Almost 1000 ships traverse the Canal each month.

Numerous conventional and suspension bridges span the Canal. In addition, there are submersible bridges at each end that allow vehicular traffic to cross the Canal. The submersible bridges are lowered to the bottom of the Canal when ships enter and exit the passageway.

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