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Patras, Greece - the largest city and port in the Peloponnese

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We continue traveling around the country, and again look at a place about which I already wrote a little.

City of Patras, Greece - The capital of Nome Achaias in the Peloponnese, a busy port and a starting point for relaxing in the best resorts of the peninsula. In terms of population, it is inferior only to Athens and Thessaloniki. And tourists are drawn here all year round: winter is the time for sightseeing and visiting the famous carnivals, and in summer you can explore the nearby beaches. What is attractive about Patras and what is worth knowing when traveling to this city?

Patras consist of two parts - the Upper City and the Lower. The lower city includes the port and coastal areas, and the Upper - the areas around the castle in the foothills of the Panahaikos ridge. Both parts are connected by stairs.

Medieval Castle of Patras

One of the main attractions of Patras is a medieval castle. It was built on the highest point of the city, on the hill of Panahaika on the site of the ancient Acropolis, at a distance of 800 m from the sea. At different times, it was owned by the Franks, Turks and Byzantines. Until the 20th century and world wars, the castle defended the city and was constantly used as a defensive structure.

Patras, view from the castle. Photo: Eusebius (Guillaume Piolle), Wikipedia

It is believed that the first stone of the castle was laid back under Justinian, but only in the Middle Ages the crusaders expanded the structure and carried out a number of transformations. Today the castle is open to the public and has a small theater where cultural events are held in the summer. Its location provides stunning views of Patras and the port.

Like every self-respecting medieval castle, the castle in Patras has its own ghost. Residents of Patra consider him the spirit-defender of the city, and his name is Patrinella. It is associated with a strange sculpture, which is located in a niche of the southern wall of the castle. The sculpture consists of a torso of a Roman warrior and a head, which is attributed to another sculpture of an earlier era. It is believed that the head belonged to a sculpture of Zeus or Patreas, the mythical founder of Patras. Previously, this figure could be seen from everywhere from the city, and she seemed to be watching everyone from above. Now, from the eyes of the townspeople, modern buildings are hiding it.

Despite the fact that the figure is male, Patrinella is considered the spirit of a girl who was once captured and died in the castle. Locals say that Patrinella appears on moonless nights in the city streets, crying and ringing the chains dragging behind her. In this way, the spirit warns the townspeople of the impending disaster. It is also said that Patrinella defended the city from plague and cholera epidemics.

Ancient Odeon, Patras

Important Roman monument Patras - odeonfacing a statue of Apollo. Since the city survived many destructions, the odeon was accidentally discovered only at sunset of the 19th century by workers who were digging land for the construction of the port. The restoration of the Roman find continued until 1956. Along with the odeon, all nearby areas were declared an archaeological park. Now Patras odeon functions as the main venue of the International Festival - every summer it transforms the cultural life of the city.

Cathedral of St. Andrew

Church of St. Andrew the First-Called

The main religious attraction of the city is undoubtedly the cathedral of Agios Andreas, named after the patron saint of St. Andrew the First-Called and built on the site of his death. The temple holds up to 7,000 believers, and is one of the largest in Europe. It was laid in 1908, and construction was completed in 1974, it is designed in the Byzantine style with numerous arches and a bell tower. Now in the cathedral are stored parts of the St. Andrew’s cross and power.

In the Cathedral of St. Andrew, Patra

Nearby you can see the earlier basilica church dedicated to the Apostle Andrew and dating from 1835. This church was built on the site of the crucifixion of the apostle, in the same place the ancient temple of the goddess Dimitra previously existed. There was also the source of Dimitra, later - the source of St. Andrew. He is now next to the old church.

They celebrate the name day of St. Andrew on November 30, this day for the residents of Patras is a city holiday and an official weekend.

Apollo Theater

Undoubtedly, Patra is also one of the main attractions Apollo Theater on the square of St. George. This theater today is one of the three theaters in Greece of the Neoclassical period, the other two are the Apollo Theater on the island of Syros (1864) and the Malliaropulio Theater in Tripoli (1910). This theater was built in 1872 at the expense of the residents of the city, and now it is the main stage of the Municipal Drama Theater Patras. Its premises are also used during the Pancake Week.

Apollo Theater, Patras

Worth a look at Museum of Folk Artwhose purpose is to preserve the cultural heritage of Patras. It presents tools from rural areas, original furniture, products of patras masters, household items. The exhibition is accompanied by photographs of explanatory texts that will tell interesting facts about Patras. Often, visitors are given master classes, for example, on the manufacture of shoes and traditional crafts.

Another of the attractions of Patras can be called a beautiful lighthouse on the coast near the Church of St. Andrew, the famous winery Achaya Klaus, Ipsilah Alonya Square. I wrote about the famous Rio-Antirio bridge here. Guest Patras will find many picturesque corners throughout the city!

Entertainment in Patras for every taste

Patra has long been famous for its universities, so life here is student-like fun. The city has numerous nightclubs, and a distinctive feature of Greek youth is a love of national music, the motives of which slip in almost all modern hits. It is better to have fun on Aiu Nicolaou Street - from all the institutions standing here, you can hear a variety of rhythms. There are stylish restaurants and lively bars on the street. However, in the summer no less than those who want to relax in the town of Rio - this resort town attracts a lot of tourists. In the afternoon in Rio you can see the famous bridge connecting the mainland and the Peloponnese.

Not only summer, but also winter is attractive in Patras for entertainment. On January 17, here, as usual, one of the most prominent and largest carnivals in the world starts. It has more than 150 years of history and captures the townspeople right up to Clean Monday. And this means that 1.5 months in Patras are all kinds of festivities, processions, contests, costume events.

Carnival in Patras

Tasting the cuisine of the region is also a kind of entertainment that does not leave anyone indifferent. Patras combines southern and island recipes, the traditions of Central Greece. The result is an interesting mixture of flavors and ingredients. Here you should try a hearty pie with feta, pumpkin pie with raisins, marinated and braised in wine flounder, apricots cooked in a mixture of ouzo, honey, lemon zest and grape juice. Especially famous for:

  • Tentura is a local cinnamon liquor that is usually served after meals.
  • Lukumi is a local Turkish delight made from natural ingredients, in the manufacture of which Patras have a long tradition.
  • Mavrodafni wine - a sweet red aromatic wine that is made from black grape varieties grown in the Peloponnese.

Beaches Near Patras

There is a city beach directly in Patras - you need to look for it at 1 km from the center. In summer, it, as the closest beach, is crowded with residents of Patras and tourists. It is well organized and allows you to diversify your stay with beach bars and sports activities. If you move away from Patras 29 km towards Corinth, you can get to Lambiri - a clean beach that is popular with tourists.

It is small and known for cool underwater currents, but despite this, Lambiri love families with children. Hotels and fish taverns are located nearby, and the coast is surrounded by greenery and flowering shrubs. Families can also recommend Rodini Beach (16 km from Patras).

16 km off Patras from Psaphopyrgos - a beach in the village of the same name. The coast here is clean, and nearby are excellent fish taverns. Since the quiet Psaphopyrgos lives in agriculture and mainly in fishing, it is always calm, there are no noisy bars, but there are water activities.

The exact opposite is Rio, 8 km from the city. Bars are open here all night, and the beach is crowded with youth and fun companies.

One of the most beautiful beaches west of Patras is Yanniscari. It is surrounded by a lush forest and washed by the clear sea. However, you have to get on a dirt road, which, however, does not stop connoisseurs of natural beauty and a relaxing holiday.

Yaniskari Beach, Ahaia

No less interesting is the beach of Kalogria, near Yanniscari, 48 km from Patras. It is recognized as one of the largest sandy beaches in Greece. The spacious coast is strewn with golden sand and surrounded by forests, for tourists there are both organized and "wild" sites. Here you can relax with children, play sports or just enjoy the clear sea.

About halfway to the described beaches, you will find another popular and well-organized beach - Kato Achaya. He will please fans of a civilized holiday with a variety of beach bars and cafes, offering a wide variety of services to vacationers.

How to get to Patras?

Patras has an airport, but it serves a few European destinations - you can’t fly directly from Russia. Therefore, it is most convenient to travel by plane from Athens or spend several hours and travel from the capital by car or bus (more than 250 km), which can be reached by train. Another way is by ferry from the Ionian Islands (Zakynthos, Corfu). Also, Patras as a major port is connected by communication with Italy (Venice, Brindisi, Bari).

From Patras it is very easy and convenient to visit the nearest attractions and interesting cities: Delphi, Ancient Olympia, Navpaktos, Kalavrita, Andravida ... Plan for more time to explore this interesting part of Greece!
Suitable hotels look here:

Sights

The city of Patras is a pleasant place with good hotels and developed tourist infrastructure. The city is divided into Upper and Lower. The main attractions are located at the top.

The historic center of the ancient Upper Town is a well-preserved ancient castle, erected in the second half of the VI century on the highest point of Panahaiki Hill, on the ruins of an ancient acropolis. Until the 20th century, the building was used to defend the city, withstanding numerous sieges.

Today, the castle has a small theater; the courtyard has been turned into a public park. The favorable location of one of the most striking sights of Greece allows you to consider not only Patras, but also the opposite shores from its sites. The views from the castle are worth it to climb the stairs.

The attraction is open to visitors. from 8:00 to 15:00, admission is free. Travelers recommend going to the castle in the morning, putting on comfortable shoes and taking water with them, since there is nowhere to buy it at the place.

Another art object of the Upper City is the Odeon. The time of its construction falls on the heyday of the Roman Empire - the second half of the 2nd century AD. Due to wars, battles and earthquakes, the amphitheater was seriously damaged, the structure was “buried” for a long time under other buildings, but in 1889 the Odeon was accidentally discovered during the construction of the dam.

In 1956, after the restoration of the landmark, the amphitheater gives a good idea of ​​the ancient Roman times. Today, the Odeon seats more than 2,000 spectators and serves as a venue for city events.

The attraction is located next to the castle of Patras, admission is free.

This is a modern large cathedral and one of the main attractions of the city of Patras. The temple is located near the promenade, half an hour from the center. Its architecture is really impressive, as is the interior decoration.

The relics of St. Andrew the First-Called are stored in the church - under glass in a metal capsule. People constantly come to the church to pray and touch the shrine, but there are no crowds of tourists. On the territory of the attraction there is a holy spring from which anyone can drink water.

Having learned about which saint is the patron saint of Patra, many tourists come here on December 13, when its residents celebrate City Day, starting with a procession from the temple to the center.

The theater is a historic building, designed by the German architect Ernst Zillertal in 1872. At first, famous Italian actors performed in the theater with their shows and productions. And since 1910, the popular troupes from Greece began to dominate the Apollo scene.

The theater is designed for 250 people. In addition to theatrical performances, musical performances are held here throughout the year.

Attraction address: Plateia Georgiou A 17, Patras 26223, Greece.

The Museum of Archeology in Patras has a rich collection of artifacts that create an idea of ​​the history and culture of the city. Much attention is paid to the social aspect of the life of the inhabitants of the city, in particular the funerary tradition.

In most cases, the most striking impression on visitors is caused by mosaics of Romanesque times.

Where to find the attraction: 38-40 Athinon, Patras 264 42, Greece.

Working hours: from 8:00 to 20:00.

Cost of visit: 6 euros, for students and children admission is free.

In addition, the beautiful Pharos lighthouse, located opposite the church of St. Andrew, is noteworthy. Also noteworthy is the old Achaia Clauss winery, famous throughout Greece, in whose cellars exclusive wines are stored.

For lovers of shopping in Patras there is a huge number of souvenir shops, antique salons and diverse stores for every taste, which is justified for the port city with booming trade and affordable prices.

Weather and climate

The location of the city made its climate very favorable for tourism - a moderate and warm Mediterranean. Anyone who is not a fan of hot weather should come to Patras, where the average annual temperature is + 16 ° C.

Summer is pretty cool, the average monthly temperature is + 25-26 ° С. The hottest months are July and August, on some days the thermometer can rise to + 40 ° C, but this is rare. Winter in Patras is relatively warm, most often rainfall in December. The average temperature is + 15-16 ° C. January is considered the most “icy” month with a temperature in the region of + 10 ° С.

Patras is not a resort (in the common sense), but an administrative and logistic center, but the city has a beach, where in the summer months it is difficult to turn around due to the influx of people who want to sunbathe and dive into the fresh waters of the Ionian Sea. And yet, locals prefer to swim on the coast of the Gulf of Corinth.

How to get to Patras

Patras operates its own Patras Araxos Airport, located at a military base 50 km south of the city and owned by the Greek armed forces. It accepts exclusively charter flights from several European cities. It is much more convenient to fly to the airport in Athens - it and Patras are separated by 250 km, which will help to overcome the train, bus or car.

It’s logical and romantic to reach the seaport, boarding a ferry from the Ionian Islands, and since Greece “communicates” with Italy through Patras, you can choose a ship that departs from Venice, Brindisi, Bari or Ancona (port cities of Italy).

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General information

The city is located in the very north of the Peloponnesian Peninsula. It is the third largest city in Greece. Here is one of the most developed ports in the region, from where there is a sea connection with Italian cities and the islands of the Ionian archipelago.

The city has an ancient history. The first settlements in this place appeared before our era, and already during the time of the Roman Empire a large seaport appeared here.

The climate in this region is quite comfortable. Winters are mild with more rainfall than in summer. In January, the air cools down to 10 ° C.

Major Attractions

Over its centuries-old history, the city had to witness many historical events. Founded by the ancient Greeks, Patras subsequently became part of the Roman Empire.

In later times, Byzantines, Venetians, Turks and other peoples visited here. Well preserved sights belonging to different eras, people and religions. We will tell you what to see a tourist in this interesting and beautiful city.

Cathedral of St. Andrew the First-Called

The most famous landmark of the city. This is the largest temple in Greece and one of the largest in all Balkan countries.

The relics of the saint and relics with particles of the cross on which the apostle was crucified are stored in the cathedral. This is a working temple, anyone can visit it.

Ancient Roman Odeon

The ancient Roman Odeon is located in the Upper Town. The construction dates back to 160 BC. During the Roman Empire, theater performances, gladiator fights and other events took place here. For many centuries, it turned out to be forgotten and only in the XIX century it was accidentally discovered during construction work. After the restoration, the Odeon was opened to the public.

Now it is one of the main attractions of the city. In summer The Odeon becomes the venue for the City Arts Festival. Getting here is easy from anywhere in the city.

Rion Andirion Bridge

The Rion Andirion Bridge is one of the city's modern attractions. It was opened in 2004, ahead of the Olympic Games in Athens.

This openwork cable-stayed bridge connects the shores of the Corinth Canal. Its length is almost 2.5 km. During the construction, the most modern techniques were used to give the design seismic stability and reliability.

A medieval fortress rises on the hill of Panahaika, where the Acropolis used to be. The construction of the castle began under the emperor Justinian, however, most of the work was done much later.

The Crusaders built a real stronghold here during the Crusades. The fortress once saw sieges and assaults and repeatedly passed from hand to hand.

Now it is not only an outstanding attraction of the city, but also, thanks to its location on a hill, an excellent observation platform, from where excellent views of the surroundings open.

Winery Achaya Clauss

Winery Achaya Clauss today is one of the largest wineries in the region. The wines produced here are exported to many countries of the world. The founder of the winery was German wine enthusiast Gustav Clauss. In 1854, he bought a plot of land in the vicinity of Patras, broke vineyards there and began wine production.

The most famous brands that are produced here are Mavrodafni, Muscat, Demestika. They have repeatedly received various medals and prizes at international competitions.

Visit the winery with a guided tour. It is located 8 km southeast of the central part of the city, in the town of Petrotone. It is best to get here by car.

The aqueduct was built during the Roman Empire. According to it, water was supplied for the needs of citizens. The source was an artificial reservoir, which was formed after the construction of a dam on the Dikoniaris River, 10 km from the city.

Several arch sites located in the old part of the city have reached our days. Now it is one of the most interesting historical sights of the city.

Lighthouse in Patras

One of the most recognizable places in the city. His photos have long been a real business card of the city. An impressive 17-meter stone building was erected in 1878, but in 1972 during the modernization of the port, the lighthouse was destroyed. In 1999, the building was restored. It is an exact copy of the destroyed object.

For its intended purpose these days it is not used. In summer, there is an observation deck on the top floor, which offers interesting views of the city.

The lighthouse is located in the old part of the city, on the coast, not far from the Cathedral of St. Andrew, it is not difficult to get here.

Pantocrator Church

Another famous Christian temple of the city. In the X century, a church was built on the site of the Roman temple of Zeus. His prototype was the famous Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.

After the capture of Greece by the Turks, the church was turned into a mosque. As a result of hostilities, the temple was almost completely destroyed. But already in the years 1835-1840 a new cathedral was built, which is an exact copy of the original temple.

Now it is a functioning Orthodox church.

Theater Apollo

The main cultural attraction of the city. It was built in 1872. Funds for its construction were raised by the townspeople. The building is an excellent example of neoclassical style. The author of the project was the famous German architect Ernst Ziller.

Performances and performances of musical groups are regularly held here, which attract not only local residents, but also tourists.

The Apollo Theater is located in the central part of the city, on George I Square.

Carnival in Patras can also be considered one of the main attractions of this city. This is one of the most famous and largest European carnivals. It usually starts on January 17th. The festivities last almost a month and a half, until Pure Thursday. All this time, the streets of the city become the arena for all kinds of festivities, holiday concerts and processions.

This event has been celebrated for over 150 years. Participation in the carnival is an unforgettable event that will remain in the memory of any person for a long time. However, tourists need to keep in mind that housing prices are increasing sharply at this time, so you should book it as soon as possible.

Museum of Folk Art

It has at its disposal a rich collection of household items, tools and furniture. Its main mission is to preserve the cultural heritage and folk traditions.

Various master classes are regularly held for visitors, where you can watch and participate in the manufacture of pottery shoes and other folk crafts yourself.

The museum is located in the central part of the city at the intersection of Koritsas and Maurokordatou streets.

Archaeological Museum

Located in the central part of the city. Here are the exhibits found during excavations of the city's surroundings - the remains of dishes, amphora vessels. There is a good exposition of sculptural works.

The museum is located on N.E.O. Patron.

Corinth Canal

Of the interesting places that you can visit in the vicinity of the city, the Corinth Canal, which connects the Ionian Sea with the Aegean, should be noted. Its length is more than 400 km. The construction was completed in 1882. It is most convenient to get here by car.

The distance from the city is about 130 km.

Mega Spileon

At a distance of 75 km from the city is the most ancient monastery of Greece - Mega Spileon.

You can get there by car or train. In the latter case, you need to get off at Diakopton station, from where a tourist mini-train runs to the village of Zahlaru. Tickets for it cost 17 euros for a round trip. A mountain path leads from Zahlar to the monastery.

What to see with children?

Patras cannot boast of large children's entertainment complexes. However, you can have a good time here with the kids. Near the city center is beautiful and well-kept beach. It has all the necessary infrastructure, including entertainment for the whole family.

At a distance of 30 km towards Corinth is another good place to relax -Lambiri. This picturesque place will be excellent options for swimming in clear water and relaxing surrounded by beautiful nature. It is most convenient to get here by car.

Calagoria considered one of the longest sandy beaches of Greece. This place is located next to the small town of Yanniskari, which is about 50 km from Patras. The coast is covered with fine golden sand, a forest grows nearby, which makes the air here especially healing.

Tourists reviews

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Patras can offer the tourist a lot of diverse opportunities for an excellent pastime. Numerous temples and cathedrals, a comfortable climate and developed infrastructure will not leave anyone indifferent.

Ancient Roman Odeon

The building is a well-preserved ancient architectural monument. It was built during the prosperity of the Roman Empire in the middle of the 2nd century A.D. External natural factors and wars destroyed the building, turning a piece of land into a low hillock. But at the end of the 19th century, odeon was discovered. During excavations, original Roman mosaic products and other man-made objects were found.

Temple of St. Andrew

The Cathedral of St. Andrew was opened in the second half of the XX century on the large square of George I. The height of the temple is truly exceptional in its beauty and grandeur is 46 meters. Its central dome with a gilded cross is perfectly visible from all sides. The 12 smaller bell domes symbolize the apostles of Christ. The sanctuary was built using Byzantine motifs and accommodates 5.5 thousand believers. The Divine Cathedral is a famous attraction.

In ancient times, the apostle Andrew preached Christianity in Greece. In recent years, he lived in Patras, where he also suffered a painful death on a sloping cross. His relics and a particle of the cross are stored in the temple.

The cathedral is distinguished by the beauty of the interior. Daylight, penetrating through the high windows of the facade and the main dome, gives unusual lighting to the mosaic interior. The floor is decorated with images of fish, plants and animals. The vault is decorated with a carved wooden chandelier.

Ancient Roman Aqueduct

Another historical attraction is the aqueduct. Patras has always been considered an important seaport for shipping between Greece and Italy. During the period of prosperity in the II-III centuries A.D. with a high population, he needed a lot of water. Therefore, the Romans built an aqueduct of a length of 6500 m. The artificial dam at the source of the Dikoniaris River acted as communicating vessels. One of the elements of the ancient wall to this day serves in the modern reservoir.

Museum of Folk Art

In a small room of the museum exhibits, artifacts and household items are presented to familiarize and study the life of the local population in different time periods. There is also an exhibition of photographs with interpretations about interesting facts of life and development of the city. Often held mastery classes in the manufacture of national costumes and shoes.

Theater "Apollon"

A significant place for residents of the city is the Apollon Theater. It is the center of cultural and social life. Built in 1872 in a neoclassical style, it hosts music concerts and theater performances.

Apollo, a well-preserved building of the 19th century, is considered not only a landmark. Every year, the theater hosts balls and masquerades. The Boerboel carnival ball is very popular. These are colorful costumes, and masks on their faces, and entire dance performances.

Patras Carnival

A grand event that is known throughout the world. It lasts three weeks before Easter and represents several events. Incendiary dances and spontaneous games, competitions and demonstrations, entertainment and fun parades are held here. The procession ends with the burning of a scarecrow in the port area. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to the city to watch this wonderful festival.

Recreation and entertainment

Patras is a transit point located on the coast of the turquoise sea. But not suitable for swimming because of the cool water and rocky shore. There is one beach in the city center and several comfortable places with cozy hotels and taverns in the surrounding area. Some beaches are suitable for water sports and fishing.

Tourists are most attracted by trips to ancient historical places, often held festivals and carnivals, as well as entertainment in numerous nightclubs and bars with national cuisine and music.

City of Patras (Greece)

Patras is the third largest city in Greece, located in the north-west of the Peloponesse Peninsula. Due to its geographical position and large port, it is considered the "western gate" of the country. Patras is the largest city of Peloponessa with vibrant nightlife, a large university and several interesting historical sights. The symbol of the city is a medieval castle located on a hill above the historic center, and the church of St. Andrey. Near Patras are the ruins of ancient Olympia and the picturesque coastal town of Nafpaktos.

Geography and climate

Patras are located in southern Greece in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula on the shores of the bay of Patraikos. The distance to Athens is about 180 km. The climate is Mediterranean. Summer is warm but not hot. Winters are mild with an average temperature of 5-10 ° C.

City panorama

Practical information

  1. The population is more than 160 thousand people.
  2. Area - 57.41 km 2.
  3. The language is Greek.
  4. Currency is Euro.
  5. The visa is Schengen.
  6. Time - UTC +2, in the summer +3.
  7. Patras is one of the best cities in Greece for shopping. The largest shopping center is Notos Galleries.
  8. Patras are famous for the wines of the Achaia Clauss factory. The most popular variety is Mavrodafni.
  9. Food is cheaper than in Athens. In the old town, you can easily find good places with simple and delicious Greek cuisine.
  10. Patras is considered not the safest city in Greece. Although since the 90s, everything has changed for the better and walking here is not more dangerous than in Athens or Thessaloniki.
  11. School desks are known for their carnival, which is one of the largest in Europe. It is held in the second half of January.

Patras were founded in the 6th century BC. come from Sparta. Although modern research indicates the first settlements dating to the third millennium BC. In 62 A.D. here the Apostle Andrew the First-Called was tortured. In the Roman period, Patras became one of the most important trading cities in the Mediterranean. Under the Romans, an odeon, an amphitheater, and engineering systems were built here.

Patras

In the 3rd century BC the city is declining. The new heyday of Patras began in the 9th century. In 1205, the city began to belong to the Achaean principality. From 1408 to 1430, the Venetians ruled Patras. In 1458, the city was captured by the Turks, and in 1687 again came under the rule of Venice. In 1715, Patras again became part of the Ottoman Empire. The city became Greek during the war of liberation in 1821-1829.

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