Restless and passionate, like its busy port ―«Greece’s Gate to the West” as they have always called it”. Aristocratic and refined, a true heir to an important trading and industrial urban culture that grew to its greatest heights during the 19th century.
The capital of Achaia Prefecture and the region of Western Greece, Patras is unique Mediterranean city full of charming contrasts.
Youthful and abundant, like every town with its own university. A city surrendered to a feverish rhythm throughout the year, preparing for its Carnival celebrations, the most spectacular feast in the Mediterranean with a history of 180 years. Patras’ Carnival is inspired by the Venetian celebrations and brings pride to the people of Patras.
The locals here a living “la dolce vita”. The town’s restaurants, bars and music halls are bursting with life all year long. The people of Patras have an artistic inclination; that’s a fact! Several theatrical groups operate in the city, while it is not by chance that most of today’s popular Greek music bands come from Patras.
Built on the northwest coast of the Peloponnese, in the shadow of mount Panachaiko and overlooking the great blue Gulf of Patras, this metropolis has a long and glorious history of more than three millenniums. In the course of time, this mythical city of the Achaean hero Patreus, and a significant centre of the late Mycenaean civilization, Patras has lived through days of glory as a famous roman colony, has fallen under the Frankish, Byzantine, Turkish and Venetian rule and has acted as the bulwark of the Greek Revolution of 1821. On the other hand, the city of Patras became one of the most important economic, industrial and cultural centres in modern Greece.
Mythology has left its traces in the city’s urban layout. In the area of Ano Poli with its two-storey houses, picturesque alleyways and arches, the charm of the roman and medieval character of the city still remains. The hill of Dasylio, verdant with pine trees, from where you can look over to the port and the great bridge or Rio-Antirio, one of the world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges. The imposing Byzantine castle of the 6th century, “haunted” by the legend of Patrinela. The emblematic Byzantine church of Pantokratoras built in the 9th century, with its copper-green domes and sublime frescoes. The elegant Roman Odeon, dating from the 1st century AD, the most beautiful Odeon after that of Herodes Atticus in Athens, according to Pausanias, the Greek traveller and geographer. The Turkish baths, the only ones in Greece that have been operating uninterruptedly ever since 1400.
The heart of modern Patras beats in Kato Poli, designed in the 19th century based exclusively on the standards of the large European city centres, with large cobblestone squares, elegant neoclassical buildings, fabulous high streets with the magnificent restored neoclassical buildings, impressive arcades with painted roofs and masterpieces of industrial architecture of the Interwar period that currently house cultural centres and entertainment venues.
Walk around the main square of Agios Georgios with is bronze winged lions in the twin fountains and admire the Apollon Theatre (1872), designed by Ernst Ziller, a micrograph of the La Scala in Milan. Visit the majestic Cathedral of the patron Saint Andreas (1974), one of the largest churches in the Balkans, a pilgrimage site for Orthodox Christians who come from all over the world. Step in the New Archaeological Museum to admire the great collection of roman mosaics found in the Greek territory. Enjoy the sunset next to the beautiful stone Lighthouse, another symbol of the city’s culture. Discover how this city transforms and puts on its many faces, one after the other.