The prefecture of Arta is one of the four prefectures of Epirus and is located at the northwest far end in Greece.
On the one part stand the imposing mountains Tzoumerka with the beautiful alpine places, forests full of firs and planes, while on the other part is located the Ambracian Gulf, one of the most important wetlands in Europe. Apart from the picturesque places, the mountains, the rivers, the water falls, the valleys and the lagoons the prefecture of Arta has a great history proved by the archaeological sites, the byzantine monuments, the castles and the churches.
The city of Arta is built on the spot of the ancient Ambracia, which was established by the Corinthians in the beginning of the 6th century B.C. In the 3rd century B.C the king Pyrrhus moved there the capital of the Molossians’ state. Its actual name appears during Byzantine times. In 1204 it became the capital of the Despotate of Epirus and entered into a period of great prosperity. During that era were built the castle, the Byzantine monuments, the churches and the Bridge of Arta which “all day they were building it and in the night it would collapse”.
Later Arta passed to many conquerors and in 1449 is enslaved by the Turks, although it continued to maintain some privileges and was an important commercial centre.
Arta played a leading role during the Greek War of Independence in 1821. Many historic battles were held in the prefecture as the one at Seltsou Monastery in 1804 and at Peta in 1822. The liberation of Arta and the east part of the prefecture took place in 1881, while the rest part was set free during the Balkan Wars in 1913.
In the city of Arta
- The Fortification walls of Ancient Ambracia, dated back to 4th century B.C. that had followed the flow of Arachthos river and parts of it are saved until nowadays.
- The castle of Arta at the Fortification walls of Ambracia, built in the 13th century by the Byzantine emperor Michael II, preserved in an excellent condition.
- The temple of Apollo in the centre of Arta. It is considered the most important sanctuary of the ancient Ambracia and is dated back to 500 B.C.
- The small theatre of Ancient Ambracia, dated back to the end of 4th century B.C.-3rd century B.C.
- The southwest Cemetery of Ancient Ambracia
- Panagia Parigoritissa, a Byzantine church of unique architecture, built in the 13th century by the emperor Nikephoros I Komnenos Doukas and his wife Anna Palaiologina Kantakouzene. It was dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and was the catholicon of a monastery, parts of which are saved until nowadays.
- The church of Aghia Theodora patron-saint of the town. The church was the catholicon of a monastery that was founded in the 13th century by the Queen of the Despotato, Theodora and it was dedicated to Aghios Georgios. After the death of her husband, Theodora lived there as a nun until the end of her life and the church was named after her.
- The Byzantine Church of Aghios Vasilios, dated back to 14th century
- The monastery of Kato Panagia, dated back to 13th century.
- The Byzantine church of Aghios Vasilios Gefiras, dated back to 900 at the region Top Alti
- The Bridge of Arta that unites the shores of Arachthos. The legendary bridge, according to tradition the head builder had to bury alive inside it his beautiful wife in order to settle it, is indissolubly connected to the town, a bridge of unique architecture and beauty. The foundations show that in the same spot was a bridge since ancient times. Its actual form is a result of the restoration made in 1612.
- At Arachthos’ shores close by The Bridge, the plane tree of Arta or The Plane of Ali Pasha as according to tradition underneath its shadow used to sit Ali Pasha watching hanged over its branches those who had condemned to death.
In the rest of the prefecture
- The church of Chrisospiliotissa at the picturesque spot Tzoumerka close by the village Gourgiana with the amazing murals dated back to 1801
- The church of Megalochari, at the homonymous village where on January 25, 1854 the chief captains of the region declared the revolution against the Turks.
- The Seltou Monastery close by the village Piges. The church was built in 1697. Built at the top of a steep hill, was the shelter for 1000 Souliotes who in 1801 turned to the monastery in order to be saved by the Turkalbanians of Ali Pasha. The monastery was conquered after four months of siege. Most of the men were killed while the women and the children fell in a chasm in order no to be caught by the Turks.
- The monastery of Aghios Georgios at Vourganeli built in the 18th century with murals dated back to 1714 and the wooden carved iconostasis. The place where the chieftains declared the Greek Revolution in 1821.
- The church of Panagia Blacherna at the village Blacherna. It was founded in 11th century and renovated in 13th century. It was named after Panagia of Blachernae in Constantinople.
- Aghios Dimitrios Katsouri, the most ancient monument of the Byzantine Arta, dated back to 9th-10th century at the village Plisioi
- The Red Church of Panagia at Vourgareli of Byzantine architecture dated back to the 13th century
- Panagia of Rodia dated back to 13th century built at the shores of the homonymous lagoon nearby the village Kirkizates.
- Panagia of Koronisia dated back to 10th century
- The Byzantine church of Panagia Brioni at Neochoraki
- The monastery of Pantanassa nearby Filipiada dated back to 13th century
- The monastery of the Dormition of The Mother of God at the alpine village Skoulikaria, birth place of Georgios Karaiskakis.
- The ancient town of Orraon, nearby Ammotopos. It used to be the city of the Molossians with fortification characteristics, built in a strategic position and used to connect the mainland with the sea. In its interior are saved mansion residences, in some of them even the second floor, semblances of roads, tanks, administrative buildings etc
- The Ambracian Gulf with the wetlands and the lagoons. In the estuaries of the rivers Louros and Arachthos in an area of 220.000 stremmata are located unique wetlands, lagoons, riparian zones that compose a unique ecosystem. The most important wetlands are Tsoukario and Logarou that are under protection according to Ramsar Convention. In 2003 it was founded the Centre of Environmental Education of Arachthos that has its headquarters in Aliki.
- Tzoumerka or Athamanika. Nearby the village Katarraktis is located the forest village “Kedros”
- The valley of Acheloos river
- The village Rodavgi with the amazing view to Tzoumerka, famous for its amazing sunrises.
From Athens and Thessaloniki
Arta KTEL (Public Bus Service)
0030 26810 27348
Macedonia KTEL (Public Bus Service)
Macedonia Public Bus Service
0030 2310 595406
Athens KTEL (Public Bus Service) – Kifisos station
0030 210 5133139
Nearest airport Aktio in Preveza
Area: 1.662 sq km
Arta prefecture administratively belongs to the Region of Epirus.