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Nafplio or Anapli was the first capital of modern Grece, capital ofArgolis and the main port of the eastern Peloponnese. According to the census of 2001 had 13.822 inhabotants. It is one of the most picturesque cities in the country, and was the capital of Greece in the years 1828-1833. Apart from its administrative function it is also an important tourist centre, busy all year round.
According to legend, the city takes its name from its founder,Nafplios, the son of Poseidon and Aminomi. In ancient timesNafplio was basically overshadowed by Argos, which used it as a port from the 7th century BC.
During Byzantine times and from the 11th century onwards, its importance as a major trading centre increased steadily. A very important figure in the history of the city was Leo Sgouros, the ruler of Nafplio from about 1200. Wishing to extend his authority, he reached as far as Larissa in 1204. Further advancement was curtailed by the crusaders of the 4th crusade, who seized all the lands he has conquered, including Nafplio, between 1210 and 1212.
From then on, Nafplio went through a series of occupations: first the Franks, then the Venetians for a short while, before retaking the city.
The city of Nafplio, or the Napoli di Romania as it was named by the Venetians, took shape during the first Venetian occupation, when, towards the end of the 15th century, artificial banks were built into the sea to form the lower city. Today, this area is regarded as the historical centre of the modern city. Until that time habitation had only been possible on the rock of Acronauplia. Other notable works of the period are the Castello di Toro and the Bourtzi.
The city reached the peak of its glory when it became the capital of the Greek state from 1827 to 1834. On the 8th January 1828 the first governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias, alighted at Nafplio. The city was full of cafes, and in the salons of notable local families there were balls and literary soirees. A printing press was established and for a short while there was a reading room.
On 27th September 1831 Ioannis Kapodistrias was murdered outside the church of Agios Spiridon and, on 25th January 1833, the people of Nafplio welcomed Otto, the first king of Greece. He remained inNafplio for a short while, until around the end of 1834 when the capital of Greece was moved to Athens.
The last time that Nafplio became the centre of events was in 1862, when, during February of the year, the Nauplian revolution against Otto broke out. This event became known as Nafpliaka.
After the Naupliaka, the city once again fell into decline. Nowadays,Nafplio is a provincial town, which, over the last few years, has developed into a popular destination for greek and foreign tourists.
The Old or Lower town extends from the Acronauplia, from the old railway station to the bastion of "Pente Adelphia" or the "five brothers" and is essentially the historical centre of the modern city ofNafplio. Until 1470, the area was marshy and was flooded by the sea, with the exception of the Psaromachalas neighbourhood on the lower north-west slopes of the Acronauplia.
Towards the end of the 15th century, at the time of the first Venetian occupation, it was decided to extend the city, using artificial sandbanks and foundations made of wooden poles.
This area became known as the lower city, to distinguish it from the castle of Acronauplia, which was on higher ground. It was surrounded by seaside walls which were re-enforced with bastions.
Generally the buildings have been repaired and altered, which makes it very difficult to determine the exact date of original construction. Changes in military technology lead to the systematic demolition of the walls of the lower city. This was started in 1866 and was completed in 1930. The only surviving bastion of the lower city's defences is the "Five Brothers".