Nafplion (Ναύπλιο), in the Peloponnese in Greece, is a seaport town that has expanded up the hillsides near the north end of the Argolic Gulf (Argolikos Bay). The town was the capital of Greece from 1829 to 1834. Nafplion, with a population of (13,822) is the capital of the prefecture of Argolis and the province of Nafplion.
Many sources, especially those dealing with the ancient city, refer to it by its Latin name of Nauplion. In other languages it is known variously as Nauplia, Navplion, Nauplio, Nafplion and Anapli; these names would have been current in English during the periods of Venetian and Ottoman domination. In Italian, Nafplion is known as Napoli di Romania, the last two words referring to the ancient name ("Romania") formerly used to define those territories occupied by the Byzantine Empire, and serving to distinguish the town from the other Napoli (i.e. Naples) in Italy.
The area surrounding Nafplion has been inhabited since ancient times though little sign of this remains within the town. The town has been a stronghold at several times in history.
The Akronafplia has walls dating from pre-classical times. Subsequently, Byzantines, Franks, Venetians, and Ottomans added to the fortifications. Nafplion was taken in 1212 by the French crusaders of the Principality of Achaea, then in 1388 was sold to the Venetians. During the subsequent 150 years, the lower city was expanded and fortified, and new fortifications added to Akronauplia. The city was surrendered to the Ottomans in 1540. At that period, Nafplion looked very much like the 16th century image shown below to the right. The Venetians retook Nafplion in 1685, and strengthened the city 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.
During the Greek War of Independence, Nafplion was a major Ottoman stronghold and was besieged for a year by Theodoros Kolokotronis. Akronauplia, and then Palamidi, finally surrendered because of starvation. After its capture, because of its strong fortifications, it became the seat of the provisional governments of Greece, and Kapodistrias made it the official capital of Greece in 1829. After his assassination there in 1831 a period of anarchy followed, until the arrival of King Otto and the establishment of the new Kingdom of Greece. Nafplion remained the capital of the kingdom until 1834, when King Otto decided to move the capital to Athens.
Tourism emerged slowly in the 1960s, but not to the same degree as around other areas of Greece; nevertheless, it tends to attact a number of tourists from Germany and the Scandinavian countries in particular. Nafplion 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.
Nafplion 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. There are frequent bus services from/to Athens (KTEL).
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The building of the National Bank of Greece is probably the only building in the world built in the Mycenaean Revival architectural style.