Ancient Nemea, like Olympia, was a Sanctuary where athletic games were held in honour of Zeus which were later known as the Panhellenic Festival Games.
In mythology, Nemea was famous as the home of the Nemean Lion, which was killed by the hero Heracles and as the place where the infant Opheltes, lying on a bed of parsley, was killed by a serpent while his nurse fetched water.
The Temple of Nemean Zeus (the god of shepherds and shepherding not the philanderer) was built around 330 BC and only three of the original columns remained. In 2002, two columns were reconstructed and in 2012 another four. The sanctuary of Zeus has had ongoing excavations since 1973: the great open-air altar, baths, and ancient accommodation for visitors can be seen. The temple stands on the site of an Archaic period temple, of which only a foundation wall is still visible.
The stadium has more recently been uncovered (in 1974) and was painstakingly excavated over a number of years. It is notable for its vaulted entrance tunnel complete with ancient graffiti on the walls, starting line and changing rooms. The revival of the Nemean Games has been a successful event for some years and it is possible to participate in the next (6th) Nemean Games. Registrations should be made before May 1, 2016.
In addition to its antiquities, Nemea is famous for its Agiorgitiko wine which is exported all over the world. There are many wineries, mostly family owned and operated, and we will visit one of them for a tasting after your visit to the archaeological site.
The town of Argos is just about 12 kms from Nafplio and is the oldest continually inhabited town in Europe having been inhabited for 6000 years. It isn't the prettiest of towns but the history is in abundance, it isn't possible to walk anywhere in Argos without stumbling upon some ancient ruins. Visit the town on a Wednesady or a Saturday and have a look around the large market which sells produce, household items and clothing and at the same time check out the museum, the agora, the two theatres and roman baths. The centre of Argos has been recently completely overhauled and the main square is now a lovely place to sit and enjoy a coffee or lunch.
Built over the Erasino river, the Church of Zoodochos Pigis is also known as the Church of Panagia Spiliotissa as half of it is built in a cave. The Erasinos River during, except for during the Summer months, forms a lake in front of the church making a beautiful scene. This cave has been inhabited from the Stone age and was again used by Kolokotronis during the revolution as a hideout and also by sheep at some time. It is when the sheep were inabitatns that the icon of the Virgin Mary was found deep in the cave and the church was built. A lovely place to visit.