The Corinth Canal, connecting the bays of the two seas – the Ionian and Aegean – is one of the most remarkable sights of Greece, well known to all who are involved in navigation.
A dream that has passed through the ages
The history of the world’s smallest and at the same time the shortest shipping channel in Europe is truly unique, because the idea of creating it visited the minds of ingenious commanders and rulers at the dawn of the existence of ancient Greek civilization, but it was possible to realize it only at the end of the 19th century.
Corinth Canal in Greece
The construction of the Corinth Canal for many centuries was an impossible dream of many rulers of Greece. One of the first documentary references to such a grandiose project dates back to the 7th century BC. True, grandiose plans were not destined to come true then, since the oracle of Delphi announced that such a creation would cause the terrible wrath of the gods, and the Greek rulers were seriously afraid of his prophecies, and they did not want to contradict the will of the gods.
The Corinth Canal for many centuries existed only as an unrealized project
So the idea and froze for centuries. Although similar to the Greeks, attempts to dig a canal to connect the two seas were made by Julius Caesar, who captured these places, and somewhat later by Nero, the arson of Rome, and many other rulers.
The brainchild of two shipping channels
Only at the end of the 19th century did the old idea of creating the Corinth Canal start again. A French company was involved in the construction, which, together with Greek sponsors, in record time (over 12 years) created a masterpiece that for many centuries existed only in ideas.
Corinth Canal – the world’s narrowest shipping canal
Since 1893, ships began to sail along the Corinth Canal, and seafarers, thanks to its creation, were able to shorten the route by 400 km. Curiously, the creators of the Suez and Panama Canals worked on the development of this project, so the Greek channel is often called their “brainchild.”
Voyage along the Corinth Canal covers a path only 6 km long, but what are the conditions! Skippers have to walk in a narrow space (up to 25 m on the surface and up to 21 on the seabed) limited by natural limestone walls (up to 76 m high), which more resembles a canyon in the mountains than a navigable canal.
The Corinth Canal is more like a canyon than a shipping canal
It is especially spectacular when along the Corinth Canal with incredible caution (limestone walls are so easily eroded by strong waves), overall vessels pass in tow. And the skippers themselves have to observe the utmost care in order to navigate the ship through the narrowest shipping channel in the world.
Corinth Canal – one of the most popular marine attractions of Greece
But even though this Greek canal has long lost its economic significance, it is especially popular among tourist ships (sailing lovers especially love this route), and at least 11 thousand boats of various sizes fit into the width of 20 m cross it over the year.