ARTA - LEGENDS AND TRADITIONS
The prefecture of Arta is the second largest, after Ioannina and is known for its historic bridge. It borders the prefecture of Ioannina, Preveza, Trikala, Karditsa, Etoloakarnania and the Amvrakikos Gulf. It has an important Byzantine tradition from the time of the Despotate of Epirus. The city of Arta is the capital of the prefecture built on the bank of the river Arachthos and the slopes of Xirovouni and Tzoumerka. It is a historic city of Byzantium with a characteristic castle that rises in the center. The city is built on the same site that in antiquity there was one of the most important cities in the region, Amvrakia. Mountains, rivers, lagoons, habitats, forests, running water and plains are the natural wealth of the prefecture. The city is built on the ruins of ancient Amvrakia, with the river Arachthos and the historic bridge surrounding it on three sides.
Amvrakia was surrounded by walls that are a sample of medieval influence and the monument today consists of 3 parts: the main fortress and two small external walls. The inner fort or Acropolis (Uts Kale) was also a refuge at that time. The castle, despite its sieges from time to time, is maintained in excellent condition and is one of the best attractions in the area. The temple of Apollo is located in the center of the modern city. From Christian times it served as a quarry. The theater of Amvrakia dating to the end of the 4th BC. early 3rd BC ai. is located in the center and has an orchestra, part of the concave and lanes as well as part of the pillar of the foreground. Panagia Parigoritissa of the 13th century is the most important Byzantine church of the prefecture dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin, from which 16 cells that serve as warehouses survive.
The legendary bridge of Arta, built in 1606, is located almost inside the modern city and is known for its unique architecture and the legend of the Master Builder who built his wife to land the bridge. Arachthos and Louros cross the city forming beautiful valleys, lakes and waterfalls. It is the 8th river in Greece which is known since antiquity. Unique experience is hiking on the route surrounded by forests, springs with clear waters, impressive mountain slopes and gorges. Amvrakikos gulf, the second largest gulf in Greece, is one of the richest ecosystems in the Mediterranean. About 30 pairs of the rare and endangered species of silver pelicans nest in the Tsoukalio lagoon.
On the left bank of the river Arachthos is the imposing Platanos also known as the Platanos of Ali Pasha. It is a centuries-old plane tree, in the shadow of which, Ali Pasha sat and since 1976 it has been declared a protected natural monument. Its dense foliage stretches over 200 square meters, forming a shadow for those who sit to enjoy the view of the Bridge. On the steep ridge of Pindos is Tzoumerka one of the most beautiful winter tourist destinations characterized by peaks that exceed 2,000 meters. The Tzoumerka Mountains are part of the Pindus mountain range and are the natural border between Epirus and Thessaly. The 30 villages belonging to Tzoumerka are surrounded by gorges, mountains and rivers and have a rich flora with firs, oaks, arbutus, hazelnuts, plane trees, as well as gorges and rocky areas.
The ecosystem is home to rare bird species and rare species of vertebrates and invertebrates, which are of great environmental interest for which it is part of the Natura 2000 program. It is an ideal destination for nature lovers seeking alternative tourism while on the shores of the Amvrakikos Gulf Koronisia beach with the homonymous village. At the Skoufa Historical Museum, each room is dedicated to an era of the city. Under the auspices of the association, the Folklore Museum and the Library also operate with over 25 thousand volumes of books. In the museum there are representations from the daily life of the inhabitants enriched with tools, utensils and other objects as well as traditional costumes, carnival costumes and a room dedicated to the Arta Bridge.
The municipal gallery "G. Moralis "since 2010 is located in the building that hosted the fire service. It has 2 rooms, one is dedicated to the permanent collection and the second hosts periodic exhibitions from time to time. The Archaeological Museum is located on the banks of the river Arachthos with archaeological finds from Arta and the wider area, which was hosted at the Parigoritissa Monastery. The exhibits of the museum are divided into 3 large sections concerning public life, private life and the burials of the inhabitants. In the village of Vlacherna there is the church of Panagia Vlacherna of the 12th century, with two tombs where probably despots of Epirus are buried. Agnanta 55 km from Arta is a village full of firs, plane trees, pines and arbutus. The rich vegetation and the running waters are characteristics of the village that are an attraction for many travelers.
Vourgareli 58km from the city is one of the largest villages of Tzoumerka. It is at an altitude of 800 m and is characterized by rich vegetation, running water and scenic elements. Syrrako, the mixed city of legends and traditions, is built in an inaccessible place on the slope under a dove, built by stone craftsmen, creating a characteristic image. Below the mountain range of South Pindos is Tzoumerka and between the river Acheloos and Arachthos is the village of Athamanio. The technical lake of Pournari completes the imposing landscape that presents a multitude of Byzantine monuments that transport the visitor to other eras. The waterfall is built at 800 meters, in the Athenian mountains while the older name was Schorefstana. In 1926 it got its current name from the cliffs.
It may not be as touristically developed as other Greek cities, but it has the advantage of an authentic place. Arta is an ideal destination for those who want to get in touch with nature during their holidays. The rivers Arachthos and Acheloos, visitors can do rafting, canoeing and kayaking but also unique walks. For those looking for extreme sports can paraglide in Grobovo, as well as other air sports with the Arta Air School. Also ,with the help of instructors they can horse ride enjoying nature. In the prefecture of Arta ,the citrus, kiwi, dairy, traditional products and the tsipouro from the local variety Zambela are famous for their quality. In traditional cuisine, the characteristics are the mutton on the spit, the kontosouvli, the kokoretsi, the chicken,the shrimp and the tsalafouti from Sheep milk.