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Regardless of the direction from which you approach the southern half of the Peloponnese, history, along with the practicalities of the road network in this part of Greece, suggests you're sure to at least pass through the outskirts of Tripoli. In the days of the Ottoman Empire, this crossroads was the capital of the Turkish pasha of the Peloponnese, and during the War of Independence it was the first target of Greek revolutionaries. They captured it in 1821 after a six-month siege, but the town went back and forth between the warring sides until 1827, when Ibrahim Pasha's retreating troops burned it to the ground.
Tripoli is a workaday town with few attractions to keep you here, although if you do hang around, you'll get an eyeful of Greek life. Its most attractive feature is the mountain scenery, with attendant hillside villages, that surrounds it; you will soon understand why this region is nicknamed the Switzerland of Greece. Unless you run out of daylight, you'll probably want to move on from Tripoli to one of these villages.
Catch an authentic Greek experience by visiting one of the kafeneia (coffeehouses) on Agiou Vasiliou Square. Here Greek men smoke, play cards, and talk politics; women may feel a little uncomfortable but will be treated with great respect if they enter. You can also grab a quick and juicy (and very inexpensive) souvlaki at E Gonia in a corner of the square (gonia means "corner" in Greek).
Elsewhere in Peloponnese
- Ancient Corinth
- Ancient Messene
- Ancient Nemea
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