The Land Gate
Underneath the imposing walls of Acronafplia and in front of the first buildings of the Old City, there is a monument which will definitely capture your sight; it is the Land Gate. It can easily be a meeting point, during your holidays in the city of Nafplion.
The story of its name
While admiring it, a simple question might come to your mind; why is it called the Land Gate, while there is no sea around? Well, no matter how odd it probably seems nowadays, the gate was the only entrance to the city of Nafplion. In front of the gate there was a wide sea canal, in which small boats moored. The canal started from the walls of Acronafplia, on the left of the gate, and reached the naval yard (At the same place, today lies a swimming pool). The Gate was of paramount importance during the age of the Venetian rule. It closed immediately at sunset and the regulations were strict: people who reached the gate after sunset, were not allowed to enter the city and had to seek shelter outside the walls. A military outpost in its interior side safeguarded the city.
Its construction and its demolition
Using local granite, the Venetians constructed the Land Gate in 1687. Its upper part was decorated with the winged lion of St. Mark, surrounded by the coats of arms of the lords of Nafplion and Venice. On its left part, a plate was fitted as a commemoration of the liberation of Nafplion by the commander-in-chief Morosini in 1687.
The Gate was demolished from 1894 to 1897 and the sea canal was gradually filled with soil. Only some of the original parts of the gate and of its sculptures are saved today. The most impressive among them is the lion of St. Mark-unfortunately without its head, wings and tail- and the coat of arms of governor Grimani, on which the date 1708 has been inscribed. Nowadays, the Land Gate has been reconstructed.
Did you know that?
It was right in front of the Gate, that the authorities of the city offered its keys to the 18-year-old king Otto, on the 25th January/6th February 1833.
The part of the city which was protected by the Land Gate was called Varosi (from the word varos that means suburb).
An outstanding photo of the Land Gate is preserved at "Palamides", Progressive Association of Nafplio.