Xerxes Canal

The Athos peninsula in northeastern Greece, that juts into the Aegean Sea for some 50 kilometers, was once bisected by a canal a hundred feet wide. The canal was built by king Xerxes I of Persia in the 5th century BC as part of the preparations for his intended invasion of Greece in 480 BC. The motivation behind this monumental earth-moving project stemmed from the disastrous experience of Persian commander Mardonios, who, twelve years earlier, attempted to navigate his fleet around the perilous cliffs of the Athos peninsula during the First Persian invasion of Greece. The peninsula's treacherous waters claimed a considerable portion of King Darius's fleet—some 300 ships and 20,000 men—during a storm.

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The Xerxes canal as it would have appeared if it still existed. Image credit: Konstantinos Tamateas/Wikimedia Commons

Source: amusingplanet.com

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