City of Patra
Patra is Greece’s third-largest city and the regional capital of Western Greece, in the northern Peloponnese, 215 km (134 mi) west of Athens. The city is built at the foothills of Mount Panachaikon, overlooking the Gulf of Patras.
Patra as Greece’s Gate to the West, is a commercial hub, while its busy port is a nodal point for trade and communication with Italy and the rest of Western Europe.
University of Patras
The city has two public universities and one Technological Institute, hosting a large student population and rendering Patra an important scientific centre with a field of excellence in technological education.
The Rio-Antirio bridge connects Patras’ easternmost suburb of Rio to the town of Antirio, connecting the Peloponnese peninsula with mainland Greece.
Every year, in February, the city hosts one of Europe’s largest carnivals: notable features of the Patra’s Carnival include its mammoth satirical floats and balls and parades, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors in a Mediterranean climate. Patra is also famous for supporting an indigenous cultural scene active mainly in the performing arts and modern urban literature.
Patra was European Capital of Culture in 2006.
Apart from the Patra’s carnival, the cultural activity of Patra also includes the Patras International Festival (with various artistic activities, mainly in the fields of theatre and music). Patra has various cultural institutes such as the Visual Arts Workshop, the icon painting school, the Carnival Float Workshop, the Municipal Library, the Municipal Gallery, along with many private art galleries. The architectural heritage of the city is dominated by neo-classicism, but also includes structures from other periods. Patras is also a pilot city of the Council of Europe and EU Intercultural cities programme.
The Roman Odeon
The Roman Odeon, the most significant ancient monument, is in the upper town and was built around 160 AD, in the reign of either Antoninus Pius or Marcus Aurelius. 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).
Saint Andrew’s church
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 (151 ft) tall and is the base for a 5-metre (16 ft) gold-plated cross and twelve smaller ones, symbolising Christ and the twelve apostles. A congregation of at least 5,000 can attend a sermon within the church.
Archaeological Museum of Patras
The Patras Archaeological Museum exhibits the history of Patras from the prehistoric era to the late Roman period. The city hosts many museums, including the Patras Archaeological Museum, the History and Ethnology Museum, the Folk Art Museum, the Press Museum and the Technology Museum, the latter in the campus of Patras University.
The Achaia Clauss is a worldwide famous 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 fortified red wine, Mavrodaphne. Since its establishment the site has always been a popular destination for visitors and continues to be so.
Patras has several sports facilities and important teams in almost all the major Greek leagues. Panachaiki Gymnastiki Enosi, Apollon Patras, E.A. Patras and NO Patras are historically the major sports clubs based in the city, specialising in football, basketball, volleyball and water polo. The city’s national stadium, Pampeloponnisiako Stadium, was renovated and expanded in 2004.
International Circuit Kart
Since 2009, a new event, the Patras International Circuit Kart takes place every September, turning the city streets into a circuit.
The Patras Lighthouse, a reconstructed «Faros» (Lighthouse), which is the symbol of the city.