Patras is Greece's third-largest city and the regional capital of Western Greece, in the northern Peloponnese, 215 km west of Athens. The city is built at the foothills of Mount Panachaikon, overlooking the Gulf of Patras. The core settlement has a history spanning for four millenniums; in the Roman period it had become a cosmopolitan center of the eastern Mediterranean whilst, according to the Christian tradition, it was also the place where Saint Andrew was crucified. Patras and its region is home to various Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Monuments, including the Roman Odeon, the Fortress of Rio and the Fortress of Patras.
Dubbed as Greece's Gate to the West, Patras is a commercial hub, while its busy port is a nodal point for trade and communication with Italy and the rest of Western Europe. The Rio-Antirio bridge connects Patras' easternmost suburb of Rio to the town of Antirrio, connecting the Peloponnese peninsula with mainland Greece.
Every year, in February, the city hosts one of Europe's largest carnivals: notable features of the Patras Carnival include its mammoth satirical floats and balls and parades, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors in a Mediterranean climate. Patras is also famous for supporting an indigenous cultural scene active mainly in the performing arts and modern urban literature. It was European Capital of Culture in 2006.
The first traces of settlement in Patras date to as early as the third millennium BC, in the area of modern Aroe. Patras flourished for the first time in the Post-Helladic or Mycenean period (1580–11). Ancient Patras was formed by the unification of three Mycenaean villages in modern Aroe; namely Antheia (from mythological Antheia) and Mesatis. Mythology has it that after the Dorian invasion, a group of Achaeans from Laconia led by the eponymous Patreus established a colony. In antiquity Patras remained a farming city. It was in Roman times that it became an important port.
After 280 BC and prior to the Roman occupation of Greece, Patras played a significant role in the foundation of the second "Achaean League", along with the cities of Dyme, Tritaea and Pharai. Later on, and following the Roman occupation of Greece in 146 BC, Patras played a key role, and Augustus refounded the city as a Roman colony in the area. In addition, Patras has been a Christian center since the early days of Christianity, and it is the city where Saint Andrew was crucified.
In the Byzantine era Patras continued to be an important port as well as an industrial centre. In 1205 the city was captured by William of Champlitte and Villehardouin, and became a part of the principality of Achaea. It became the seat of the Barony of Patras, and its Latin archbishop primate of the principality. In 1408, Patras became Venetian, until it was recaptured in 1430 by the Despotate of Morea and its despot Constantine Palaiologos, who thus succeeded in recovering for the Byzantine Empire the whole of the Morea, apart from Venetian possessions.
Patras remained a part of the Despotate of Morea until 1458, when it was conquered by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Though Sultan Mehmet granted the city special privileges and tax reductions, it never became a major center of commerce. Venice and Genoa attacked and captured it several times in the 15th and 16th centuries, but never re-established their rule effectively, except for a period of Venetian rule in 1687–1715.
Patras was one of the first cities in which the Greek Revolution began in 1821; the Ottoman garrison, confined to the citadel, held out until 1828. Finally the city was surrendered on 7 October 1828 to the French expeditionary force in the Peloponnese, under the command of General Maison.
Patras developed quickly into the second-largest urban centre in late-19th-century Greece. The city benefited from its role as the main export port for the agricultural produce of the Peloponnese.
In the early 20th century, Patras developed fast and became the first Greek city to introduce public streetlights and electrified tramways. The war effort necessitated by the first World War hampered the city's development and also created uncontrollable urban sprawl after the influx of displaced persons from Asia Minor after the 1922 population exchange between Greece and Turkey.
In the Second World War the city was a major target of Italian air raids. In the Axis occupation period, a German military command was established and German and Italian troops stationed in the city. After the liberation in October 1944, the city grew fast to recover.
Patras and its region is home to various Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Monuments.
The Roman Odeon, the most significant ancient monument, is in the upper town and was built around 160 AD. It has been restored and partially reconstructed, and is used as an open-air theatre for performances and concerts in the summer.
The medieval Patras Castle, in the ancient acropolis overlooking the city, was initially built in the 6th century AD by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, having many additions from the period of the Frankish and Venetian rule of the city, up to as far as the time of the Despotate of Morea and later the Ottoman Empire. Its current outline dates back to the second Venetian rule of the town (1687–1715). Today, its interior is used as a public garden.
The Roman Amphitheater, near the Roman Odeon, dating from the 1st century AD, at a period of the biggest development of Roman Patras.
The church of Saint Andrew of Patras was founded in 1908 by King George I and was inaugurated in 1974. It is dedicated to Saint Andrew, the patron of the city. It is the second-largest temple of Byzantine style in the Balkans (after the Cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade). The central cupola is 46 m tall and is the base for a 5-meter gold-plated cross and twelve smaller ones, symbolizing Christ and the twelve apostles. A congregation of at least 5000 can attend a sermon within the church.
The Achaia Clauss wine industry and tasting center, which is on the outskirts in Petroto village. It was founded in 1861 by the Bavarian Gustav Clauss and is most famous for its Mavrodaphne.
The Roman aqueduct that led from the springs of Romanos to the acropolis. The aqueduct measured 6.5 km from the water cistern to the castle. For the greater part of this distance, the water passed through an underground channel, passing over valleys and gorges on carefully constructed archways, parts of which still stand.
The Turkish baths building from 16th century, still retain their initial use, and are one of the oldest Turkish baths surviving in Europe.
How to visit Patras
We at Monterrasol Travel welcome you to see Patras during multiday private car tour. Contact us if you would like to customize your tour to Patras.
We have developed several tours that visiting this beautiful place. But, if you have a special conditions or any from these tours fit you, please do not hesitate to contact us, we can organize a tour exactly as you would like. And remember, we have no problems to take you from almost any place where you stay, hotel or private accommodation.
Greece discovery round trip via ancient towns, beaches, castles and monasteries from Igoumenitsa via Parga, Patras, Corinth, Delphi, Meteora. Visit Parga castle and enjoy Parga beach, walk in Arta castle, see Mesolongi sea lake and ancient Makinia, climb on Nafpaktos castle and touch statue of Cervantes, take an images of Antirrio fortress and longest bridge of the fully suspended type, walk in Patras fortress and pray in St Andrew cathedral, wonder on Corinth canal and old Acrocorinth fortress, walk the passages of medieval town Livadeia and next day morning visit in mountains old Hosios Loukas UNESCO monastery, ask Delphi oracle and see the place of the feat of Leonidas, and next day visit unique UNESCO complex of monasteries in Meteora.
This off-season balanced tour is aimed for people who interesting in the history of Greece, to walk that ancient historical places where are roots of culture of our civilization. During this tour we will visit 6 places that are on the list of UNESCO. Many other we going to visit places now expecting to be on UNESCO list; such places are prepared, available for public for fraction of cost, and are on so called UNESCO tentative list.
This 14 days tour will allow you to meet amazing south Balkans countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, and of course beautiful Greece. The route will pass through Trebinje, Podgorica, Durres, Ioannina, Nafpaktos, Olympia, Sparta, Nafplio and other towns. We will see old castles, monasteries, archaeological sites, and amazing coastal line. At summer time we will stop on beaches to take a rest, refresh and enjoy the crystal clear water.
This off-season tour is for people who would like to get to know deeply the history of Greece and walk that ancient historical places where are roots of culture of our civilization. Around the world such places are on the list of UNESCO. And many other places now expecting to be on UNESCO list; such places are prepared, available for public for fraction of cost, and are on so called UNESCO tentative list.
During this tour we going to visit main UNESCO places and UNESCO tentative list places, located in Greece mainland. Greece is so rich with history that visit all UNESCO places in one tour will take very long time. Because of that we, Monterrasol Travel, created this tour to be able to visit the main UNESCO places in one tour.
In this tour we will travel 15 days by Adriatic coast of Montenegro and Albania, and discover Greece mainland and Peloponnese. Meet during the tour ancient monasteries and castles, enjoy amazing beaches, touch stones of old places in 3 countries.
Discover Greece in big 15 days tour. During this all seasons Greece tour from Igoumenitsa, we will visit most of main attractions of Greece mainland and Peloponnese peninsula. Prepare yourself for beautiful beaches, old castles and monasteries, , and ancient archaeological places. Visit Delphi oracle, say hello to Sparta and king Leonidas.
Balkan route from Dubrovnik to Athens in 16 days. Visit Bosnia, Montenegro, pass hills of Albania, and discover fortresses and ancient towns of Greece. Bosnian old towns and monasteries, Montenegro oldest monastery, hills of Albania, and discover greek fortresses, beaches, monasteries and archaeological sites.
This off-season tour is focused on people who would like to get to know deeply the history of Greece and walk that ancient historical places where are roots of culture of our civilization. Around the world such places are on the list of UNESCO. And many other places now expecting to be on UNESCO list; such places are prepared, available for public for fraction of cost, and are on so called UNESCO tentative list.
During this tour we going to visit most of UNESCO places and UNESCO tentative list places, located in Greece mainland. Greece is so rich with history that visit all UNESCO places in one tour will take very long time. Because of that we, Monterrasol Travel, created this tour to be able to visit the most of UNESCO places in one tour.
From 1 Feb 2019 we load on our site the description of new place: Monemvasia, Greece. We have visited this beautiful place few times and we definitely like to be there, and we are welcome you to have a trip there with us!
Monemvasia is a town and a municipality in Laconia, Greece. The town is located on a small island off the east coast of the Peloponnese. The island is linked to the mainland by a short causeway 200m in length. Its area consists mostly of a large plateau some 100 meters above sea level, up to 300 m wide and 1 km long, the site of a powerful medieval fortress. The town walls and many Byzantine churches remain from the medieval period.