Preveza is a town in the periphery of Epirus, northwestern Greece, located at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf. It is the capital of the peripheral unit of Preveza, which is part of the periphery of Epirus. An immersed tunnel, completed in 2002 which runs between Preveza and Actium, connects the town Preveza to western Acarnania in Aetolia-Acarnania region. The ruins of the ancient city of Nicopolis lie 7 km north of the city.
Coordinates: 38°57′N 20°44′E (1) Preveza (2) Zirou (3) Parga
In antiquity, the area of Preveza was inhabited by the Greek tribe of the Cassopeans, part of Thesprotians. Their capital city was Cassope (near today’s village of Kamarina). In the Louros District also exists a spectacular city, the Trikastron Citadel, built on three lines of defence walls of 9 meters height.
Near the site of modern Preveza in 290 BC King Pyrrhus of Epirus founded the town of Berenikia or Berenike, after his mother-in-law Berenice I of Egypt. Today it is widely accepted, that Berenike city lies on the hills of Michalitsi village, after Sotirios Dakaris excavations in 1965, and research and publications of Harry Gouvas in 2006, and 2009.
The Ambracian Gulf near Verenikia and the near part of Ionian sea, was the site of the Naval Battle of Actium, on 2 September 31 BC, in which Octavian’s (later Augustus) forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Queen Cleopatra of Egypt. Ancient Nicopolis “Victory City” was built nearby to commemorate Augustus’ victory, and today it is believed that had a total population of 150.000. (read more about the history of Preveza…)
Nikopolis: Εight km north of Preveza, in a lush green landscape extending 900 hectares, lies Nicopolis, which was founded after the momentous naval battle that took place on 2 September 31 BC at Aktium. (read more…)
The term Dance of Zalongo refers to an event in Greek history involving a mass suicide of women from Souli and their children during the Souliote war of 1803, near the village of Zalongo in Epirus. The name also refers to popular dance song commemorating the event. The same event made and impact in Albanian history. There is also an Albanian song and dance on the same topic, called Vaji i Zallogut (“Dance of Zalongo”).
During the Souliote War in December 1803, the Souliotes began evacuating Souli after their defeat by Ali Pasha’s forces. During the evacuation, a small group of Souliot women and their children were trapped by Ottoman troops in the mountains of Zalongo in Epirus. In order to avoid capture and enslavement, the women threw first their children and then themselves off a steep cliff, committing suicide. According to the legend, they jumped down the precipice one after the other. while singing and dancing. The incident soon became known across Europe. At the Paris Salon of 1827, the French artist Ary Scheffer exhibited two Romantic paintings, one of which was entitled Les Femme souliotes (“The Souliot Women”). Today, a monument on the site of Mount Zalongo in Kassope commemorates their sacrifice.
Necromanteion: Situated close to ancient Ephyra, on the top of a small hill, on the northwestern side of which lies the present day village of Mesopotamos, is the most important and most ancient Oracle of the Dead of Antiquity, the Nekyomanteion (nekys, dead) of Acheron. It was here that the ancients located the Gates of the Underworld which led to the kingdom of Hades (Pluto), who ascended to the Upper World only to abduct the beautiful Persephone. Charon, the ferryman of Hades carried dead souls across the Acheron river to the entrance of Hades, after having received a coin (the obol) which was placed in or on the mouth of the dead by their relatives to pay for passage.
The Ambracian Gulf, also known as the Gulf of Arta or the Gulf of Actium, is a gulf of the Ionian sea in northwestern Greece. About 40 km long and 15 km wide, it is one of the largest enclosed gulfs in Greece. The towns of Preveza, Amphilochia (formerly Karvassaras), and Vonitsa lie on its shores. The Ambracian Gulf is an almost enclosed, and therefore protected, expanse of sea which is connected to salt water lakes via controlled mouths. Two important rivers – the Louros, and the Arachthos – flow into the gulf. The low-lying land which surrounds the gulf and the salt water lakes to the north has saline soil. The Ambracian Gulf provides great opportunities for increasing fish farming activity because of the particular physicochemical conditions which prevail there.
Nature & Fauna
Bottlenose dolphins: An abundant community of bottlenose dolphins lives in the Ambracian Gulf. Intensive photo-identification work showed that these dolphins have high levels of site fidelity within the Gulf. Individual movements in and out of the Gulf are limited, probably owing to dramatic differences between the shallow, highly productive, turbid waters of the Gulf and the deeper, oligotrophic, limpid Ionian Sea open waters. Population size is about 150 individuals.
The Gulf is reportedly facing problems including alteration of water balance, chemical pollution, eutrophication and illegal fishing, resulting in significant ecosystem changes. However, dolphins appear to be thriving, likely due to the abundance of suitable prey – sardines in particular.
Activities in Preveza
Hiking & Birdwatching: The village of Stronyli lies to the west of the Ambracian Gulf, close to the Louros River. The hiking route starts at the village and ends at the Strongyli hill where there is an observatory.
The call of songbirds (the Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Roufus Bush Robin etc) accompanies walkers along their route. Using the telescope in the observatory, one can observe raptors like the Marsh Harrier and, with a bit of luck, Lesser Spotted Eagles in the spring and summer. Halfway up the hill is the Church of Agia Aikaterini (1872). This is a single aisle church with a wooden roof. Next to it is a bell tower, built in 1867.
Lake Ziros: is located 2 kilometres to the west of the Filippiada-Ioannina national road, opposite the community of Pantanassa in Arta. Its name is of Slavic origin (Ozero = lake in Russian). Lake Ziros is an important and stunning natural attraction, which is relatively unknown to the public because it is not shown on tourist maps with a scale below 1:300,000. The buildings of Ziropolis were designed by Austrian architects in 1955. The lake is approximately 1000 m long and 500 m wide and has an elliptical shape. It has a depth of over 25 m at its deepest point. Until 1965, when it was almost destroyed by an earthquake, Ziropolis was an important educational, cultural and economic centre in the region. In 1994-1995, the lake was used for water skiing competitions by the Ioannina Nautical Club, but this was stopped after complaints from the Preveza Environmental Society because they were polluting the waters with petrol and oil, and the noise of the engines was disturbing birds in the surrounding forests. On 25 May 1997, for the first time, a trip was made around the coastline of the lake with Swedish inkas canoes.
Horseback riding: At the stadium of Potamias beside the Acheron river you will find a organized riding center, which during the summer months offers the opportunity for riding trips in the riverbed near Glyki.
Hanggliding – Parapente: By own efforts local enthousiasts operate flights with gliders even with improvised facilities from the top of the Prophet Elijah in the town of Skiadas in Louros. The basic conditions exist, as there are prospects to create a circuit up there perfect for lovers of the sport but for others as well as the uninitiated will find some “schools” for paraglider flyers. How to get there: The approach to take-off point is relatively easy because the road consist of asphalt nearly to the top. In particular the strap located on the highway Preveza – Ioannina is easy, then follow the main road 6 for Vrisoula, for about 17 km and then another 9 km on for Skiadas and then the climb onto the top of the Prophet Elijah is about 1.5 km dirt road.
The Aktio–Preveza Undersea Tunnel is an undersea road tunnel across the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf in western Greece. It links Epirus and the city of Preveza on the north shore of the gulf with the cape of Aktio (Actium) in Aetolia-Acarnania, in Central Greece. Completed in 2002, the tunnel is an important piece of infrastructure in a previously underdeveloped region, and greatly shortens the travel distance between the two sides of the gulf, which previously was only possible by ferry. It is the first and so far only undersea tunnel in Greece.