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...the extensive wetlands and the unspoiled natural environment...
The Prefecture of Preveza on Greece’s northwestern coast is a region of extreme natural beauty combining splendid resorts, creamy-cliff beaches, verdant forests, picturesque towns, mountain villages and turquoise-water getaways with a rich historical and cultural heritage. The capital city of Preveza, sharing the same name as the prefecture, is built around a small port at the entrance to the Amvrakikos Bay.
The cathedral church of Agios Ioannis with its artistic altar screen and the Venetian Clock Tower are worth a visit. Nikopolis lies 7 kms from Preveza and its ruins mark the site of the large ancient city built by the Roman Emperor Octavius in the 1st century BC. The city walls have survived in fairly good condition and there are traces of two theatres, a stadium, a gymnasium and temples dedicated to Aris (Mars) and Poseidon. In addition, there are remains of four Early Christian basilicas showing very attractive mosaics.
From Nikopolis one can proceed to the village of Kanali with a fine swimming beach. Beyond it is the village of Zalongo where a famous monument stands in memory of the women of Souli who on December 18, 1803, leapt to their death off a high cliff rather than be captured by the Turks. The ruins of the ancient city of Kassopi - it was destroyed by the Romans in 167 B.C. - lie near Zalongo. Messopotamos is a village 45 kms from Preveza at the junction of the Aheron and Kokitos rivers where the ancient necromantic oracle stood. It was the only of its kind known in ancient Greece.
According to mythology, this was the spot where Charon rowed the dead across the subterranean lake and took them to Hades. Excavations have brought to light a labyrinthine building with corridors, chambers, colonnades and a sanctuary. The picturesque town of Parga lies 64 kms from Preveza. It has been built amphitheatrically round a bay and is flanked by small inlets and coves, sandy beaches and islets off shore with thickly wooded hills all around which make it look like a set piece for a landscape painter. The Venetian fortress next to the town is worth a visit and so is Erimokastro perched on a conical hill while, in the church of Agii Apostoli, there are many ecclesiastical relics and a 12th century icon of the Virgin, Mary.
The Aheron Delta, a stretch of land and water boasting a Natura 2000 listing, the Aheron Narrows and the Amvrakikos Gulf are areas of great ecological value. Three rivers (Aheron, Louros and Arachthos) flow into the northern shore of the Amvrakikos Gulf forming the chain of lagoons and wetlands that make-up a natural park, one of the largest protected areas in Europe. The gulf is virtually a closed basin and one of the most significant waterfowl habitats in Greece. It consists of brackish lagoons, a sandy coastal strip, salt marsh, reed beds, wet meadows, mudflats and remnant patches of alluvial forest. Its rich flora, the variety and rarity of the fauna, the large number of species and rare fowl make up an ecosystem of exceptional importance protected under the RAMSAR Convention. The islets in the Gulf are a refuge for indigenous and migratory birds, including some species on the verge of extinction in Europe. The majestic Dalmatian Pelican nests in the Amvrakikos Gulf lagoons, while migrating birds of all kinds recognize the lagoons as their annual resting stop during their travels. Small populations of Caretta Caretta turtles, Spotted Eagles, Lesser Spotted Eagles, Pygmy Cormorants, and Bitterns honor the estuary with their presence and transcend it to a special site. The shallow waters of the Gulf sustain the local populations of small villages with their riches. Most families around the area make their living by fishing and farming the fertile lands around the sea.
A variety of quality accommodation is available especially along the coastline, as well as a great choice of activities, such as rafting, trekking, horseback riding, walking and cycling, hiking and mountain climbing. Various events take place in the region year-round with traditional song and dancing, open to all visitors. The most important are the Women’s Carnival, Traditional Koulouma, Preveza’s International Choral Festival, the August’s annual sardine festival and cultural events including music, dance and theatre.
Specialties of the local cuisine include “kakavia” (fish and seafood stew), pies made with wild greens, a type of bread called “kourkoutopsomo” and “galaktoboureko” (custard pudding).