Corinth – The Ancient City of Apostle Paul

Posted in Europe | April 15, 2010 | 1

Located some 48 miles away from Athens, Corinth is an ancient city on the thin strip of land called the Isthmus of Corinth connecting the Peloponnese and the mainland. In ancient Greece, Corinth was not only an important city historically, but also religiously where Apostle Paul carried on his missionary work. Therefore, it goes without saying that the city offers many places of attractions for tourists and pilgrims worldwide. As of now, Corinth is the second largest city in the Peloponnese.

My Visit

I drove for just few minutes from the present Corinth city to reach the site of its ancient ruins scattered around the foot of the Acrocorinth rock forming a natural acropolis. Today, the buildings that you can see are Roman instead of Greek, which belongs to the flourished era that came after ransack by Julius Caesar who then erected many original Greek edifices. However, much of these buildings had collapsed due to the frequent earthquakes. The timings of Arcocorinth are daily from 8 am to 7 pm, while that of the Ancient Corinth is daily from 8 am to 8 pm in summers and 8 am to 3 pm in winters.

First, I headed to visit the ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite located on the Acrocorinth rock although much less of it is seen today. It was found that the temple once held over 1,000 holy prostitutes demonstrating the city’s status of opulence. On the same site, you can also see the relics of a minaret made from stone and protective old walls.

Next was the turn to visit the most magnificent ruin of this ancient city, the 6th-century BC Temple of Apollo, which is the major landmark too in the city. It is situated on a hill dominating the ruins of the Roman marketplace and is among the most ancient stone temple in the nation. Out of the total of 38 Doric columns, today I could see only 7 of them. Although the temple was successfully active during the time of Paul, gradually it saw its decline and was damaged by earthquakes.

Then, I explored the Temple of Octavia known as Temple E to the experts, whose only partial foundation and some pillars are left today. It was devoted to the sister of Emperor Augustus (27 B.C. – 14 A.D.) and symbolizes the royal sect of Rome widespread all over the domain. There is a holy spring along the north side of the Roman Forum close to the Lechaion Road. Once been above the ground in the 5th century B.C., the spring was hidden under the building activities and there is a small shrine linked to a private passage utilized by the priests.

Speaking about the Roman Forum, the Bema is a local platform where St. Paul had defended his case as he was dragged by the Corinthians in front of the Roman governor Gallio in 52 A.D. Another major ruin of the Peirene Fountain that used to supply water to the ancient city is still standing in the forum. It was also a meeting place of the locals in those days and that its frescoes of 2nd century restored swimming fish is yet visible and a niche in the wall is seen that might have held a statue. The name of the fountain is backed by a legend according to which a woman named Peirene, after losing her son, wept in such a manner that she lastly dissipate into the present spring.

Next, I saw the Asklepieion in the city wall to the north of the Theater. It is the temple dedicated to the god of healing with a small temple of 4th century B.C. The temple is built in a colonnaded courtyard and its second courtyard holds many dining rooms. Terra-cotta votive offerings were found that indicated miserable body parts now seen in the museum.

Lastly, I visited the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth that is the home of an interesting series of religious artifacts along with the inscriptions of Gallio and Erastus, a synagogue inscription, menorah reliefs, and votive offerings of terracotta.


Visit the Ancient Corinth on Sundays between November 1 and March 31 as there is no fee. Otherwise, it is €6 including entry to the museum. However, you can visit the rock without any fee.

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