The visitor to the city of Preveza can stroll through the alleys of the historical centre with their architectural diversity, which constitutes a heritage of the city’s history over the centuries and bears the imprint of the various conquerors whose influence is apparent: narrow streets of another age, nineteenth century mansions with their remarkable architecture along with houses with insular features. The cobbled alley of Seitan Bazaar with its traditional “ouzeri” (ouzo serving places) is a famous area in the town. During the Turkish occupation, the inhabitants of the area would smear the alleyway with whatever fat they had so that the Turkish soldiers patrolling in their iron-nailed shoes would fall down. One Turkish officer who fell victim to the inhabitants’ trick shouted “Seitan Bazaar!” which means “Devil’s Bazaar!”, hence the name of the alley.
The beaches of the area are ideal places for surfing or sailing, water skiing, sea parapenting, boat hiring, and fishing. Furthermore, there are facilities for tennis, basketball, volleyball and other sports as well as entertainment centres. Hotels, rooms to rent of all classes and camping grounds offer the visitor the opportunity to enjoy comfortable service and accommodation.
Along the paved harbour, which affords a view of the Ambracian Gulf, and in the nearby narrow alleys there are excellent traditional tavernas and ouzeris where the visitor can enjoy the local specialties and fresh fish, or simply have a coffee at one of the many tasteful cafes along the waterfront.
The city of Preveza
Preveza is the capital of the Prefecture of Preveza and one of the harbours of Epirus. Geographically, it is situated in a strategic position in the centre of the coastal region of northwestern Greece. It is known for Ancient Nicopolis, the Acheron River and the Necromanteion (Oracle of the Dead).
From the city one may reach coasts of the Ionian Sea and beaches which stretch to a total length of over 50 km just a short distance from the Preveza-Igoumenitsa motorway. Furthermore, one may reach the Ambracian Gulf with its numerous lagoons to its north side while the nearby estuaries of Louros and Arachthos are of exceptional ecological interest. South of Preveza is the island of Lefkada, 30 minutes’ drive, while to the northwest lie small seashore semi-mountainous settlements. The traditional summer resort of Parga is a 45 minutes’ drive away.
Historical & Environment Facts
Preveza is directly opposite Actium where in 31 BC one of the greatest naval battles of antiquity took place. It was the battle that determined who would gain control over the Roman Empire: Octavian, consequently called Caesar Augustus, or Mark Antony. To commemorate his victory, Octavian built a new brilliant city called Nicopolis, which thrived in the following centuries with a population exceeding 300,000 inhabitants. The destruction of Nicopolis, almost 10 centuries later, brought to light the city of Preveza. In the fourteenth century, this historical succession was expressed when the area with the ruins of Nicopolis was already being referred to as Old Preveza.
Preveza is adorned with significant Christian temples, such as the churches of Agios Nikolaos and Agios Athanasios, as well as the metropolitan temple of Agios Charalambos with its exceptional paintings and the wooden carved gold-plated iconostasis. Adjacent to the church is the Venetian Clock Tower, a landmark of the city, built in 1752.
For those who have a passion for history and antiquity, Preveza offers the unique experience of a tour within Ancient Nicopolis with its basilicas, the famous mosaics which attest to the grandour of a glorious city that thrived up to the tenth/eleventh century, the ancient theatre, the well-preserved stadium and the Monument of Augustus, while the new Archaeological Museum of Nicopolis hosts a fascinating treasure of archeological finds. Other monuments of the city worth mentioning are, among others, the venetian fort of Agios Andreas (eighteenth century), and the castles of Agios Georgios and Pantocratoras, as well as the Vrysoula rampart, which were built in 1807 by Ali Pasha.
Preveza “breathes” thanks to the Ambracian Gulf, an ecosystem of exceptional biological, ecological and aesthetical value, the Ionian coasts, and the surrounding forests. In the picturesque streets of Preveza there are old mansions, gardens and flower-filled yards, while its surroundings offer olive groves, exquisite beaches, and archaeological sites. Somewhere in the area, Marcus Aurelius built his villa to dedicate himself to writing. Today, the city is developing into a modern administrative, economic and cultural centre of a wider area, while at the same time preserving its character thanks to which it has become known as a “green city”.