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Also called Ipsous, Stemnitsa is one of the most beautiful towns in southern Greece, wondrously perched 3,444 feet above sea level amid a forest of fir and chestnut trees. For centuries the stone village was one of the Balkans' best-known metalworking centers, and today a minuscule school is still staffed by local artisans. Above the lively square rises the bell tower of the church of Ayios
Giorgios, and at the top of a nearby hill is the monument to fighters in the 1821 War of Independence against the Turks. Stemnitsa, in fact, claims to have been the capital of Greece for a few weeks in 1821, when it was the center for rebels who successfully routed the Turks. The views throughout the town are phenomenal, especially at night, when the village lies beneath of canopy of bright stars.
West of the isthmus, the countryside opens up into a low-lying coastal plain around the head of the gulf of Corinth. Modern Corinth, near the...