The region has been known for its wines from ancient times. The wider region of Nemea is one of the largest vinicultural zones of Greece producing the well-known Protected Designation of Origin PDO Nemea wines from the Agiorgitiko grape variety. In the wine region of Nemea, also the famous black Corinthian raisins grow, 90% of which are exported to Europe, Canada, and the USA.
According to mythology, Hercules accomplished the first of his ten Labors by killing the lion of Nemea.
In 576 BCE, next to today’s site of ancient Nemea there was the renowned sanctuary of Zeus. In the area surrounding the temple, there were guesthouses, a bath, and a stadium where games were conducted biannually starting in 573 BCE. During the athletic competitions, a holy truce was declared prohibiting military conflict among the Greek cities as in Olympia.
In Byzantine times, Nemea was frequently under attack from Slavs and Bulgarians, hindering, however, their further advance. Nemea was initially conquered by the Romans and, afterwards, by the Turks. It was liberated in 1822, the year that the last Turkish troops withdrew.