The Peloponnese Peninsula

The Peloponnese

Greece is not a big  country, but offers a wide variety of landscapes, as it combines the mountainous regions with endless beaches and many islands (its coastline is as long as Africa's!). For geographical and historical reasons, Greek regions share some interesting differences among them, as far as their natural and cultural "terrain" is concerned (e.g. between the Cyclades in the Aegean and the islands of the Ionian Sea).

Greece also has a long history and a multitude of monuments that date from many historic periods and are literally scattered throughout the entire country.
It is quite a challenge for any visitor to acquire a complete knowledge of the entire picture in the 10-15 days he usually spends here.

  The Peloponnese for travellers

... is not only the most beautiful area of Greece; it is, at the same time, the charming synopsis of Greek nature and the rich epitome of Greek history - with 200 km of fine, sandy beaches in the Ionian Sea and 250 km of bays and rocky or sandy creeks in the Aegean.
Driving from the west to the east, visitors will pass through valleys of citrus groves and forests of fir-trees, chestnut trees and oaks on serene plateaus, to end up swimming in the Aegean Sea, before the water of the Ionian Sea even has time to dry off their skin!
During your trip, you will also encounter the beautiful fishing villages of the Ionian and the Aegean Sea, the farmers of the local plains and the cattle-breeders of the central Peloponnese.

History of Patra & Achaia

Before the creation of the city which was named Patra, the physical advantages of the area had attracted many people. These first inhabitants were named by the ancient just "indigenous" or "Egialis", that is people of the seaside. According to the tradition their first king was Evmilos to whom Triptolemos had taught the cultivation of the land. Triptolemos had come here by a chariot leaded by dragons. He used this chariot to plow the land. So he taught Evmilos how to plow his land which was later named "Aroi" (plowing). Aroi was one of the three settlements which constituted Patra. Evmilos had one son, Antheia, which took the chariot when Triptolemos was asleep, but he fell and died. Evmilos and Triptolemos built then another city which was named after Antheia. Between Aroi and Antheia, a third city, Mesatis, was founded. Later, the first Greeks, the Iones, arrived. Their king Ion, married to Eliki, the daughter of the Egialion, Selinoudos, and after his death he ascended the throne. The residents of Egialia were named Iones and they create a city of 12 settlements, whose capital was named after the Queen, Eliki. A great festival, Panionia, was organized here, to honor Elikionio Poseidon. Iones also honored Artemi who they used to call Triklaria and her worship ceremony contained primitive characteristics.

In the Trojan War Iones had followed Agamemnon. After the fall of Mikines and with the invasion of Iraklides, Doris expelled Achaians in Argolida and in Lakonia.

The Achaians' leader, Tisamenos, was killed at the besiege of Eliki. www.eliki.writernetwork.com  They retained the system of the 12 settlements. Their region which had come from Lakonia, was ruled by Patreas, son of Prevgenos and ninth descendant of the mythical Lakedemonos. Patreas became king of Arois and of its area, he fortified the city and united it with two other cities : Antheia and Mesati. The new settlement was named Mesati. All these had been reported by Pafsanias. However, Stravon had claimed that seven and not three cities constituted Patra. Some modern researchers believe that the tradition about Patrea is an etymological myth and they associate the name of the city with the well known "Patre", the name of the aristocratic regions of Korinthos.

Achaic city constituted by twelve settlements

was unified  by religious bonds. Their common sanctuary was, firstly, Eliki and, then, the sanctuary of Posidonas Elikionios. After the destruction of Eliki (373 BC) Zeus Amarios or Omagirios became their protector. According to the tradition, Agamemnon had gathered here the leaders of Greeks before the Trojan expedition. Royalty was retained from the age of Tisamenos to king Ogigon, but the latter's children dissatisfied the Achaians and as a result the royalty declined. Since then, the Achaians' constitution had been democratic. Their laws were considered to be very ethical and they were examples for their colonies. Their democratic ethics explain their friendship with the Athenians.

In the Persian Wars, their role wasn't important but their participation in the Peloponnisian War was very significant. The strategic importance of the port was evident. The Athenians had Nafpakto as their main support whereas the Korintheans tired to control the port of Patra. In the summer of 429 BC the opponents, the Athenians and the Korintheans, met each other at the Patraikos gulf. The result of the naval battle that followed, was the victory of the Athenian fleet. The significance of the port was even more evident at the events of the second period of the Peloponnisean War. Alkiviadis, having achieved an alliance between Athens and Argos, the Achaians of their love for the democratic laws of Athens and he convinced them to build long walls like those of Pireus, in order to connect their city with the sea (and thus with Athens), whereas he himself planned to fortify Rio (419 BC).

After the Spartians' victory near to Mantinia (418 BC), the aristocrats predominated in Achaia. In 417 BC the Achaians allied with the Lakedemonious and during the 4th century they usually followed them.

Finally, the Achaic Association fell apart in 324 BC. It didn't exist at the Lamiakos War.

Gradually the center of the Achaic association was moved in Aigio and in Korinthos.

In the meantime, their opponent, the Etolic Association, had been organized. Etolic army landed in Patra and then it arrived in Arcadia. The pillages by the Etolians caused a great enterprise against them. But the Etolians had already moved in Messinia and from there they went to Patra (220 BC).

A new historic period started for Patra and for Achaia when the Romans interfered to the Greek status quo.

Soulpikios Galvas looted Greece in 208 BC. When the king of Siria, Antiohos, convinced the Greeks to revolt, Katon achieved the obedience of Korinthos, Aigio and of Patra (192 BC) and he managed to defeat Antioho at Thermopiles.

After the conquest of Korinthos by Mommios and the subjection of Greece (146 BC), the Achaic Association fell apart and Greece became a Roman province named Achaia.

The population of Patra, due to their ignorance and in consideration, abandoned the city and many of them committed suicide. For almost one century Patra was just a port. After the battle at Farsala, Katon and other democrats wanted to resist to Patra, but the city was evacuated when the enemy approached it. Patra continued to be an exile place and Kikeron didn't have good impressions of it. Its port was still a significant one.

Antonios and Kleopatra spent there the winter before the naval battle at Aktio.

During the ruling of Rome by Augustos, Patra flourished. He founded Nikopolis at Aktio and he reinforced Patra by colonizing the whole area with the population of Ripes, a town that he demolished. Patra became an independent city, civitas libera.

Its full name was Colonia Aroe Augusta Patrensium. Many neighboring villages and towns were attached to Patra. The trade was the main source of wealth and many merchants established their shops and companies at the port. The women of Patra were praised for their beauty and diligence.

Neurons provided Patra with the so called "new freedom".

The new coins that were created at the mints of Patra, portrayed the emperor on the one side and Zeus on the other. Neuron arrived at Patra on his way to Olympia and the population of Patra applauded him. The new coins portrayed Neuron as Apollo and Hercules. Vespasianos banned the right of producing coins at Patra but Domitianos, later, allowed them to do it. Adrianos, who visited Patra, was also portrayed on their coins as Restitute Achaiae.

The Peloponnese is the only Greek region dotted with the legacies of the many civilizations which took root in it.  As the centre of Mycenaean civilization, the Olympic Games and military force of Sparta, it still preserves many ancient Greek sites, crumbling Byzantine cities, Frankish and Venetian fortresses as well as monuments from the yoke of the Turks. This is where the Greek War of Independence against the Turks began in 1821 and don't forget that it was one of the region's cities, Nafplio, that became the first capital of the modern Greek state. Moreover, the Peloponnese was the birthplace of the historically unique experiment of the Achaean League, the authentic predecessor of the European Union, while its coasts witnessed the most crucial naval battle for the future of Europe, the naval battle of Nafpaktos.

The Peloponnese offers a wide range of organized hotel groups, campings right on the beach, guest houses, rooms to let and many ecotourism destinations .


Greek cuisine, Cafes & Bars in Patras

 
Along the coastal zone, the pedestrian streets, most squares, the Upper city, the countryside and the beaches close to the city (Monodendri, Vrachneika, Rio) you will find many restaurants, taverns and grill restaurants of European and Greek cuisine to choose from.
The city centre, on the other hand, is full of pizzerias and fast foods.
The local delicacies are a blend of three different cuisines: the agricultural inland with its fresh products, the occidental cuisine with influences from the Ionian Islands and the oriental flavors brought in by the immigrants from Asia Minor.
Patras is also proud for four of the 22 Greek wines categorized as Appellation of Controlled Origin in the winegrowing region of Achaia and Aegialia near Aegion ( Best white wine here: ASPROLITHI by Oenoforos Rouvalis in Aegion) and also for the fact that it is the first city that developed a wine industry in Greece.
Today, Patras has made its name for a variety of small but high quality wineries scattered around the city. Today, Achaia Clauss, together with 27 other local wineries, still produce excellent, high-quality wines, in the 30.000 acres of Achaean vineyards - thus preserving the internationally acknowledged fame of Patras (since 1990) as a winemaking city.

The region is widely known for the production of three wines categorized as Appellation of Controlled Origin and one wine categorized as Appellation of Origin of Superior Quality.

Try for example the famous ASPROLITHI ( white stones ) from Rouvalis Oenoforos in Aegion !


Activities & Sports in Achaia Peloponnese

 
MOUNTAINEERING, HIKING, CLIMBING, SKIING, MOUNTAIN BIKE

60% of Achaia's prefecture is covered by three large mountain chains: Chelmos (2.138 m.), Panachaikos (1.924 m.) and Erymanthos (2.220 m.). Thus, visitors are offered the opportunity to go mountaineering, rock-climbing, skiing (for three months a year), trekking in the international long distance Trail (E4), cycling and mountain-biking.
Mount Panachaikos, which lies near the city of Patras, offers future climbers a lot of action. There are three ascents to the top (of medium difficulty level):
a) From the village of Pournarokastro, one can reach the mountain shelter of Psarthi, that belongs to the Greek Mountain Club, then continue up, towards the mountain of Ai-Giorgis (1.806 m.) and finally return through the village of Ano Kastritsi,
or b) continue climbing from Pournarokastro until Vodia and Prassoudi mountain shelters, and end up in Palavou Pyrgou location (1.926 m. above sea level)
or c) from Ano Kastritsi, climb up until the location of Pigi Paschalianon, which ends at Dritselo, at the shelter of Prassoudi (1.594 m.).
On Mount Erymanthos, which borders on the prefecture of Ilia, climbers will be faced with several challenges. There are four ascents to the top (of medium to high difficulty level): starting from Miha village, climbers head for Muggila peak until the final stop, at the top of Olenos mountain (2.224m.).
Another ascent starts from the historic village Kalentzi up to Profitis Ilias (2.214m.), and towards Mount Erymanthos.
The third ascent to Mount Erymanthos is easier and starts from the village of Alepochori, where climbers follow the path parallel to Katarraktis until they reach the Monastery of Taxiarches (1.000m.).
Finally, starting from Metochi Vlassias, you reach Kallifoni peak (1.996m.). The beautiful Mount Erymanthos can be discovered through other ascents, as well.
Whenever experienced climbers approach new members who wish to learn climbing, one of the first mountains they suggest is definitely Mount Chelmos.
There are four main ascents to the top (of medium to high difficulty level):

first, one can start climbing from the Kalavryta Ski Resort, in order to reach Idata Stigos (2.100m.). Then, he can follow the trail that starts from the Mountain Shelter-Neraidorachi-Psili Korifi-Mavrolimni or start climbing from Peristera or Solos and end up in Idata Stigos.

Klokos Peak from Fteri near Aigion


Another ascent starts from the village of Fteri Aigiou and ends on the Klokos peak (1.777m.).
The most famous route, however, is known as the E4 trail, starts from the village of Diakopto (in Kalavryta area) and ends in Lykouria village, while it passes through the villages Zachlorou, Kalavryta, Kato Loussoi, Planitero, Arbouna, Ag. Nikolaos, Tourlada and Krinofyta. Apart from the above trails, Mount Chelmos has many other ascents to offer demanding climbers. Mount Afrodissio offers 3 ascents of medium difficulty: a) from the springs of Ladonas river and via Pagrati village, one can reach Klima Pafsania (860m.) or b) starting from Skepasto (700m.) and passing through Panagia Plataniotissa, we follow the route up to the Monastery of Makellaria.7


Ferries & Transport Informations:

PATRAS Port S.A. Port Services Building, South Port - 26333 - Patras-Τelefon: (+30) 2610 365113

Email: info@patrasport.gr - All modern car-ferries from Patras to Italy ( Ancona, Bari, Brindisi .

Bus-station is 200m from the harbour: Telephone KTEL Busse: (+30) 2610 623888
Railway Station is opposite of the harbour: Railway-Station Patras: (+30) 2610 639110, 639108

More travel informations:

  www.greeka.com     www.visitgreece.gr     www.greekfestival.gr  www.eliki.writernetwork.com           www.superfast.com

Holidayhome Peloponnese: hannovera@mail.de