Corinth Canal

The Corinth Canal separates mainland Greece from the Peloponnese peninsula.

  • 3.1 Movies
  • 3.2 The channel hopping

Construction and use

For the 1893 built up in the years 1881, 6346 m long channel one by undermining the Isthmus of Corinth, the Isthmus of Corinth so-called, at its narrowest point. The construction of the canal was carried out under the supervision of the Hungarian István Türr engineers and Bela Gerster. In memory of the Hungarian builders the two stone tablets on the channel are also described in Hungarian. Since then, the Corinth canal connecting the Saronic Gulf with the Gulf of Corinth. To obtain this passage and possibility to spare so the approximately 400 km long journey around the Peloponnese, they took it upon themselves to up to 84 m in depth through input received from rocks. This one reached a depth of about 8 m. The channel bed is in the level of the water level about 24.6 m wide, but narrows down to the bottom at about 21 m, while the upper inner width of the incision site is on average 75 m. The steep walls of the canal at an angle of 71 ° -77 ° rise up to 79 m in height. At the height of five bridges cross the canal.

Noteworthy are also the lowered bridges on both flat ends of the channel. When a ship is approaching, they are sunk by a motor-driven rod in the channel.

Destruction in 1944 and reconstruction

1944 broke the German Wehrmacht part of the cliff and all the bridges over the canal. To make a subsequent rebuilding locomotives and railroad cars were also thrown into the canal and placed mines. The reconstruction was started with the help of the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1946 and concluded in November 1948; while hundreds of thousands of tons of rubble had to be removed.

Today's meaning

Brought the channel, so he has now lost a huge relief for navigation with it, because through him the dangerous Umfahrt the Peloponnese was saved around Cape Malea important time of its construction. Reasons for this are:

  • The dimensions of the channel only allow the passage of smaller ships.
  • The Umfahrt the Peloponnese is now done on courses that extend further from the coast; Therefore, it is not nearly as dangerous, and the motorization of vessels minimizes the amount of time.
  • The soft rock of the channel walls in need of stabilization, and the eastern entrance ( Saronic Gulf) urgently needs to be repaired.

Nevertheless, the volume of traffic in the channel is remarkable. Despite the relatively high transit fees (for private yachts 80 € to 9 m in length ( LOA), each additional meter 23-27 € (2012 ) ) these straight waterway is still a day of about 30 ships, or about 11,000 ships a year passes, . The majority of these are ferries and tourist boats.

To observe this structure from the frog perspective, with its steep and seemingly nearby cliffs, is a special experience, which also belongs to the range of many Greece cruises.

Passing through the Canal


Ship is towed through the channel


The idea of a canal of Corinth can look back on a 2,600 -year history. On - traditional - the beginning who is the tyrant Periander of Corinth. However, he has never dared to try. Instead offered in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, a Schiffskarrenweg, the so-called Diolkos, the way to avoid a circumnavigation of the peninsula.

In Roman times it attacked the idea of a canal to connect the Saronic to the Corinthian Gulf on again. Plans Caligula ( 37-41 AD), Nero ( 54-68 AD) and Hadrian were under Caesar, elaborated ( 76-138 AD). While it was only when early drafts at Caesar and Hadrian, the actions of the other two Roman emperors continued:

  • 40 AD Caligula sent some of its engineers to the Isthmus of Corinth, to perform specific measurements. However, the result was devastating: They came to the conclusion that the water level of the Corinthian Gulf is a lot higher than that of the Saronic Gulf, so that for a breakthrough quite certainly the island of Aegina and perhaps even parts would be flooded by Attica. The project was left as a precaution fall.
  • 67 AD Nero ordered several thousand workers - there is talk of about 6,000 Jewish slaves - the Isthmus. He is said to have made with a gold-plated shovel the first stitch. The plan was that workers from two sides should work your Coming to the center of the isthmus to here to meet and then to create the final breakthrough. After three months, however, the work of the project has been set since Nero was now deceased and his successors Galba ( 68 AD ) and Otho (69 AD), too risky and too expensive appeared. The remains were formed during construction of the present channel and are no longer visible.

The Greek writer Pausanias (about 115-180 AD) tells in his travelogue " Perégesis tes Hellados " clearly gleeful about the trials of the previous channel projects: " The isthmus at Corinth extends on one side to the great sea of [ the ancient port town ] Cenchreae and on the other side to the [ Corinthian ] Golf in [ the ancient port town ] Lechaion. This is the land therein lies the mainland. Those who tried, however, to make the Peloponnese to the island, have set the trial of the trench through the isthmus always before. And in the places where they tried, their attempts are still visible today. Until the actual rock but they are never come, and the land is still more land, just as it is by nature " (Book 2, 1, 5 - free transfer from the original Greek ).

Following the failed efforts of antiquity until the Venetians considered again to pierce the Isthmus in order to improve their interests as a dealer in the Greek territory. However, they gave these plans in the face of the challenges to be rock masses soon.

Only in the 19th century with its achievements of industrialization, particularly the invention of dynamite (1866 ) or the blasting gelatine (1876 ) by Alfred Nobel, it was possible to realize the old dream of the stitch through the isthmus into reality. The banker Andreas Syngros donated this much of the construction costs.

Response from the public


  • John Fernhout ( John Ferno ) was shooting for RCA Records in 1950 a short film about the reconstruction.
  • Claude Chabrol began with the movie The road from Corinth to the Greece of the 1960s, a cinematic monument.

The channel hopping

On 8 April 2010, the Australian freestyle motocross rider Robbie Maddison jumped his dirt bike, a Honda CR 500, Corinth Canal. He catapulted himself, after he had accelerated his motorcycle on a 400 m long starting line to a speed of 125 km / h deeper by means of a ramp on the 80 m channel and landed safely on the landing hill 85 meters away on the other side. The highest flight point was about 95 m. Hundreds of onlookers watched the spectacle.