All travelers to Greece are attracted to the Corinth Canal, which is unique as an active historical place. The canal was built in the second half of the 19th century, between 1881 and 1893, providing a direct connection between the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea and the Gulf of Corinth in the Ionian Sea. It is situated in the south of mainland Greece. The canal was dug across the Isthmus of Corinth (which connects the Peloponnese to central Greece) and named after the nearby city of Corinth. The canal is 6 km long and 8 m deep (water depth), with 76 m walls. Its width is 25 m at sea level and 21 m at the bottom. The walls of the Corinth Canal did not have to be strengthened since they were formed naturally, by limestone. 2,500 workers from all over Greece toiled to build the canal. It opened as early as 1893. According to historical records, many people had thought of building the canal before: Periander, the Tyrant of Corinth (7th century B. C.), Demetrius I Poliorcetes (307 B. C.), Julius Caesar, Caligula, Emperor Nero (67 B. C.), the Byzantines and the Venetians.

Construction of the Corinth Canal

Construction of the Corinth Canal

Source of the image - Wikipedia.

Their attempts are understandable: the Corinth Canal reduced the distance for ships by 400 km. In 1821, Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first President of Greece, was also making large-scale plans regarding the canal, being aware of its potential significance the Greece’s development. Kapodistrias invited a French engineer to develop the project, but abandoned the idea due to economic problems. Later, Hungarian architects Istvan Türr and Bela Gerster were asked to design the canal. They had developed the plan for the Panama Canal project. The construction was started by a French company. A Greek company led by Andreas Syngros helped complete the construction within a record-short time. 

The canal’s banks are connected with a railway bridge and three road bridges.

The canal's capacity has declined though. It is impassable for large ocean vessels that are 20 m wide or more. At present, the Corinth Canal is only used as a tourist attraction. Small motor boats with tourists travel through the canal several times a day. Cruise ships require a towboat to pass through since there is a risk of erosion for the walls of the canal. The canal's annual traffic is up to 15,000 vessels.

Historical facts:

In February 2018, there was a landslide following heavy rains, which resulted in a temporary canal closure for traffic. In October, 2019, the 22.5 m wide MS Braemar with tonnage of over 24,000 tons managed to cruise through the canal. It was the only ship of that size that has ever passed through the Corinth Canal. There are no plans to repeat the event.


Based on open sources.

Source of the image in the text and on the homepage - Wikipedia.