The Corinth Canal, which separates mainland Greece from the Peloponnese, will reopen in early July after a number of landslides last year left the passageway inaccessible for over a year.
The canal will reopen on July 5th and will remain accessible until October, when it will close again for further restoration works, Greek Deputy Minister of Development and Investment Christos Dimas said in a statement.
“The goal is for the canal to reopen in July and for it to be used safely at least for the entirety of the summer,” Dimas stated.
This is significant, as the canal is used primarily by personal boats and cruise lines, making it vital for tourism in Greece.
Corinth Canal to reopen for the summer
The Corinth Canal is one of the most important pieces of infrastructure in the entire nation, and its long closure has been disastrous for transport and tourism in the country.
The landslides were particularly destructive, as massive boulders from the side of the Peloponnese fell into the canal.
Massive reconstruction projects have been implemented at the Corinth Canal after the landslides. The plan, which costs over 30 million euros, was approved in December of last year, and construction began in February.
The reconstruction will not only fix the damage caused by the landslides but will also strengthen the canal’s existing structures.
“Within only one year, we as a ministry were able to follow through with all of the necessary procedures in order for the restoration plan to become reality,” the Deputy Minister stated.
Greek Deputy Minister of National Defense Nikos Chardalias also praised the reconstruction efforts at the canal and stressed the importance of the canal’s opening for the Greek economy, particularly ahead of the summer tourism season.
The history of the canal
Opened on July 25, 1893, the Corinth Canal is one of the most important infrastructure works of the modern Greek State, instantly changing all major maritime activity in the country.
Construction works started in 1882 and the canal was inaugurated by then Prime Minister Sotirios Sotiropoulos. Yet, it was completed by his predecessor Charilaos Trikoupis whose term had ended only two months before that date.
Before the canal was built, ships from the Ionian Sea headed to Athens or the Aegean islands had to go around the Peloponnese peninsula and vice versa.
After 1893, cargo and passenger ships would only have to cross the Isthmus of Corinth and reach their destination much more quickly.