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A few words about Patras:
Patra (ΠΑΤΡΑ in Greek) is the third largest city of Greece, and also the
capital of the Achaea region of Greece. Patra, or Patras, is located in the
southwest part of Greece in Peloponnesos. It is also the seat of the Province
of West Greece and Ionian Islands. Patra has a population of over 200,000 and
is an important commercial center and a busy port, with regular car-ferry
services to and from Italy. Distance from Athens is 215 km W, 94 km (old: 100
km) NE of Pyrgos, 7 km S of Rio, 134 km slightly W of Corinth, 77 km NW of
Kalavryta and 144 km NW of Tripoli.
Patra in AntiquityPatra is a town with a history of more than 3,000 years. The
ancient city of Patras was originally formed by the unification of three
Mycenaean villages: Aroe, Antheia and Mesatis. After the Dorian invasion a
group of Achaeans from Laconia, led by Patreas, established a colony and the
city took its name from their leader. During Antiquity, Patras remained a
farming region but in Roman times it became an important port.
Saint Andrew came to Patras to preach Christianity during the reign of Emperor
Nero and was crucified as a martyr. He is considered the protector of the
city. (A large byzantine-style basilica was built in the 1970s in his honor,
on the traditional place of his crucifixion.)
Byzantine and Ottoman PatraDuring the Byzantine period Patras continued to be an
important port as well as an industrial center. Patras was invaded by the
Turks in 1460. The first period of Turkish rule (1460 -1687) was a miserable
one but from 1715 and on there was a revival of trade and so in the 18th
century it became a prosperous town again economically based on agriculture
and trade. Later Patras played an active part in the Independence struggle
against the Ottomans (1821).
Modern PatraThe town nowadays remains divided into the Upper and Lower
part with broad flights of steps, as well as streets, giving access between
the two levels. The upper part is the older and more picturesque but the lower
part is attractively laid out with plenty of squares, notably the square of
Psila Alonia and Georgiou I square. There are a lot of neoclassical buildings
like the theatre "Apollon" in Georgiou I Square, the Town Hall, the
headquarters of the Local Trade Association and the Justice Court
The most interesting ancient monument in Patras is the Roman Odeon, now
reconstructed and used as an open-air theatre for performances and concerts
during the summer period. Overlooking the whole town is a ruined Castle, a
relic of the Venetian invasion of the town (1687-1715). In current times, its
interior is laid out as a public garden.
Patras is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Greece. It offers its
resident a lot of facilities such as shopping centers, picturesque cafes,
pubs, discos, restaurants as well as educational and cultural facilities such
as schools, colleges, a university, a library, two theatres and some galleries
and cinemas. Two state-funded hospitals exist in the city: Saint Andreus, the
oldest of the two is named after the city's protector sant and it resides on
the south side of the city. The University Hospital of Rio is a university
hospital, where med-students inter and specialise in their major. It resides
on the north-eastern part of the city, inside the city's University Park.
One of the biggest tourist attractions of Patras, is the carnival festival,
held every year in February-March. It is one of the most famous in the world
coming just after Rio de Janeiro and Venice.
A new beltway, the length of which is 20 km, was first opened in 2002 to
alleviate decrease traffic passing through the city.
There are around 10 local radio stations and 4 television stations, 1 covering
the entire south-western region of Greece and 3 stations that broadcast only
in the prefecture of Achaia. The main newspapers are the Peloponnisos and
Patras' industrial area is 20 km south of downtown, and is located between the
16th km of GR-9 and Fares/Phares (pro. FAH-rehs).
The length of rail is around 12 km. A train station is lying west of downtown
between the port and Othonos-Amalias Avenue. A little north is a freight yard
with about ten tracks. Its length is around 400 m. It is situated near the
park and Athinon Street.
There is a small amusement park located next to Glaukos river.
Much of Patras' coastline has streets running alongside. Roads include Akte
Dymaion in the south, and Iroon Polytechneiou in the north. Unfortunately, due
to bad urban design planning and lack of ability on the part of the City
Council to supervise and enforce laws, which in turn is due to the lack of
financial planning, most of the city's coastal areas are being illegally
occupied by shops which are illegally build on the coastline. The Greek
constitution of 2001 declares that the Greek coastline is a "National
Treasure" and as such it belongs to the People. As happens with most laws in
Greece, few Greek citizens pay attention to that Article.
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