...A place rich in tradition, history, natural beauty...
A land rich in history, tradition and natural beauty, the prefecture of Arta is situated in the heart of northwestern Greece.
The capital city of Arta, sharing the same name as the prefecture, is steeped in history. The modern town has been built on the ruins of Ancient Amvrakia, where in 295 BC the mighty King Pyrrhus of Epirus transferred the capital of his kingdom.
During the late Byzantine era, Arta became the capital of the Despotate of Epirus. Its rich Byzantine past can be traced today via its many monuments that stand as a testament to its history and culture.
Arta has many 12th and 13th century churches, fine examples of Byzantine art, most famous of which are the Church of Panagia Parigoritissa (built during the reign of the dynasty of Comnenos Doukas in an architectural style unique throughout the Balkans); the church of Saint Theodora (the wife of Despot Michael II Comnenos); the domed basilica of Panagia of Vlacherna lavishly decorated with 13th century frescos (it contains the tombs of the Byzantine Despots); the 13th century Abbey of Kato Panagia and a church dedicated to Saint Basil, both decorated with splendid frescoes of the same era.
TThe famous landmark of Arta, its centuries-old, legendary stone-bridge spanning the width of Arachthos river, is a visual delight dominating the western entrance to the city. At a short distance to the south, the Amvrakikos Gulf, a place of unique beauty with fertile lagoons and wetlands protected by the RAMSAR Convention, is one of the major wintering grounds of waterfowl in Eastern Mediterranean.
To the north, the magnificent Tzoumerka and Radovyzia mountains are dotted with charming villages and offer endless opportunity for hikes and walking trails amidst ravishing scenery including streams, plane trees and fir-tree forests, waterfalls and arched stone-bridges.
The untamed waters of the Arachthos river intersect huge mountain masses and breathtaking gorges on the Tzoumerka mountains and delight extreme-sports enthusiasts who can combine adventure with an idyllic stay at some tranquil mountain village. The prefecture of Arta is a land with friendly and hospitable people, always beguiling visitors with its unspoiled nature and hidden charms.