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Patras
Country Greece
State Peloponnese
City Patras
Type of Location Multiple
About the Location  

Patras is Greece's third largest urban area and the regional capital of West Greece,located in northern Peloponnese,215 kilometers west of Athens.The city is built at the foothills of Mount Panachaikon, overlooking the Gulf of Patras.The Patras metropolitan area is a conurbation of 222,460 inhabitants.The core settlement has a history spanning four millennia.In the Roman period it had become a cosmopolitan centre of the eastern Mediterranean whilst, according to Christian tradition, it was also the place of Saint Andrew's martyrdom.Dubbed 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 city has two public universities and one Technological Institute,hosting a large student population and rendering Patras a major scientific centre with a field of excellence in technological education.

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 and most colourful carnivals; notable features of the Patras Carnival include its mammoth-sized satirical floats and extravagant balls and parades, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors in a pleasant Mediterranean climate, with relatively cool yet humid summers and rather mild winters. 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 2006.

Patras has a Mediterranean climate. It features the typical mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers, with spring and autumn being pleasant transitional seasons. Autumn in Patras however is wetter than spring.The first traces of settlement in Patras date as early as in the 3rd millennium BC, in the area of modern Aroe. Patras flourished for the first time during the Post-Helladic or Mycenean period (1580–1100 BC). Ancient Patras was formed by the unification of three Mycenaean villages located in modern Aroe; namely Antheia and Mesatis. Mythology has it that after the Dorian invasion, a group of Achaea from Laconia led by the eponymous Patreus established a colony. During antiquity, Patras remained a farming city. It would be in Roman times that it was to become an important port.

During Byzantine times Patras continued to be an important port as well as an industrial centre.One of the most scholarly philosophers and theologians of the time, Arethas of Caesarea was born at Patrae, at around 860. By the 9th century there are strong signs the city was prosperous: the widow Danielis from Patras had accumulated immense wealth in land ownership, the carpet and textile industry, and offered critical support in the ascent of Basil I the Macedonian to the Byzantine throne.

   
How to Reach  

By Air

Araxos airport is located about 40 km from the city. It is mainly a military airport, since it's in a Hellenic Air Force air base (used by the 116 Combat Wing), and is used as a civilian airport too, mainly in the summer, to service certain charter flights.A startup floatplane company, Air Sea Lines, operating DHC 6 de Havilland Twin Otters, has set up a seasonal base at the Patras marina, linking the city with several Ionian Islands and the city of Ioannina in Epirus. Onwards services from Corfu run to Brindisi in Italy.

By Train

A narrow gauge train line runs through Patras southwards to Olympia and Kalamata and westwards to Athens and the port of Pireas. the Slow Train to Athens costs about 5 € and it takes you there in 4 to 5 hours.

By Road

Patras is located in the northeastern corner of the Peloponnese is connected to Athens by road via Corinth on the 8a National Road (corresponding to the E65 and E94 European Routes.To the south, Patras is connected by road to Amalias,Pyrgos and Olympia and further to Kalamata.The construction of a new bridge linking Rion (on the Peloponnese) to Antirrion (on the Central Greek mainland) has been in operation since 2004 and carries the E55 European route, linking Patras with points in Central Greece and Epirus (and onward to Albania) including the port of Igoumenitsa.

   
Key places to visit  
Archaeological Museum of Patras,Patras Castle,Saint Andrew church,Georgiou I Square,Spinney of Patras,Psilalonia square,Odeon,King George square
Places to Visit  

Archaeological Museum of Patras

The New Archaeological Museum of Patras is located in the city of Patras,Greece.It opened on July 24, 2009. The construction plans for the museum was initially announced by the then Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri.However,the construction plans did not materialise until 2004.Built on a 28,000 square metre plot of land, with 8,000 square metres of interior spaces,it is the second largest museum of Greece.The area surrounding the museum compromises of a 500 square metre pool,a shiny metallic dome and greenery. In the near future, the vacant land next to the museum will be turned into a cultural park.

Patras Castle

was built around the mid-6th century above the ruins of the ancient acropolis, on a low outlying hill of the Panachaiko Mountain and ca. 800 m from the sea.The castle covers 22,725 m2 and consists of a triangular outer wall, strengthened by towers and gates and further protected originally by a moat, and an inner compound on the northeastern corner, also protected by a moat.

Saint Andrew church

Is a Greek Orthodox basilica in the east side of the city of Patras in Greece.Construction of the church, of Greek Byzantine style, began in 1908 under the supervision of the architect Anastasios Metaxas, followed by Georgios Nomikos.It was inaugurated in 1974.It is the largest church in Greece and the second largest Byzantine-style church in the Balkans,after the Cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade.It holds relics of the apostle Saint Andrew,which were sent there from St. Peter's Basilica, Rome in September, 1964, on the orders of Pope Paul VI.

Georgiou I Square

The central square and the heart of the city.Its was called Othonos Square, but when George I ascended to the throne, the square was named after him.In 1875,the square's fountains were installed at a cost of 70,000 drachmas each, a huge amount for the finances of Greece and Patra at the time.It was the centre of political and cultural happenings, the venue that hosted all significant activities.Today, Georgiou Square continues to be the square of political gatherings, rallies, cultural events and most importantly, the square were Carnival-related events take place.

Spinney of Patras

Is situated in a pine-tree-covered hill, which is dubbed "the Gulf of Patras' veranda" due to the panoramic view it offers.One can admire the view of Patra, the Port, the Patras Gulf, the lower coasts of Mesolonghi and the mountains of Roumeli.The spinney is ideal for recreational walks and jogging,with its specially formed paths and the shade offered by the tall trees.The pine trees that cover the spinney were planted in March 1916 by students of Patras' Primary Schools under the supervision of Austrian forest specialist Steggel.

Odeon

Is the name for several ancient Greek and Roman buildings built for singing exercises, musical shows and poetry competitions.They were generally small in size,especially compared with a full-size ancient Greek theatre.

   
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