About Patra

About Patra

Patra holiday with Greeka.com: The picturesque town of Patra receives many visitors every year who choose this destination for their holidays.

Patra in a few words...

Patra (or Patras) is the third largest town in Greece (after Athens and Thessaloniki) and one of the biggest ports of the country. Due ot its geographical location, the port of Patra connects Greece with the Ionian islands and towns of Italy (Bari, Brindisi, Ancona, Venice and Trieste).

In fact, the town of Patra Greece owes its cultural and economical development to this port. Being the capital of Achaia Prefecture, Patras is usually visited as a transportation hub or for its Carnival, the most famous Carnival in Greece that takes place in February or May. Carnival celebrations last for about six weeks and include performances, concerts and a big parade the last Sunday of the Carnival. This parade starts from Olga Square at noon and ends late in the evening. All people are dressed with costumes and a festive atmosphere dominates all over the city.

The town took its name from Patrea, who settled there along with other Achaeans in the ancient times. The town didn't actually have an important role in the Greek history till 146 BC, when it was conquered by the Romans. That time, it flourished as a trade centre and many public works were constructed, such as the Roman Odeon and the Roman Theatre that still survive in Patra.

Also in 66 AD, Apostle Andrew was crucified by the Romans in Patra, at a site close to the port, to deny his religious faith. At that site, the church of Saint Andrew stands today.

The developement of Patra continued in the Byzantine Times, During the Turksih rule, from the 15th till the 19th century, its Castle was fortified. After the liberation of Patras in the late 1820s, the town was rebuilt according to an architectural plan of Stamatis Voulgaris. Parallel streets were contructed, ample squares and beautiful gardens were designed and the town was divided in two parts, the Upper (Ano Poli) and the Lower (Kato Poli) Town.

Ano Poli keeps its traditional style, with Neoclassical and Venetian residences, stairs and oaved paths. Kato Poli is more modern and busy. The Square of King George is the centre of Patra and most of the shopping area is concentrated there. Another popular square is Psilalonia with a more relaxing atmosphere and nice view to the whole city. On the highest point of Patras, there is a large Medieval Castle. Cultural events take place there in summer.

Another characteristic of Patras is the vivid nightlife and its large student community. Patra hosts the third largest university in Greece and a technological institution, which bring a lot of youth in the town. Beautiful beaches and traditional mountainous villages surround the town. Patra is also close to the archaeological site of Olympia and Kalavryta, a popular winter destination, so it constitutes a great base for excursions.

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