The region of Preveza

Preveza is the capital of the Prefecture of Preveza and one of the harbours of Epirus. Geographically, it is situated in a strategic position in the centre of the coastal region of northwestern Greece. It is known for Ancient Nicopolis, the Acheron River and the Necromanteion (Oracle of the Dead). It is on the southern tip of the prefecture which has a wedge-like shape and ends in a peninsula with two arms stretching across the entrance to the Ambracian Gulf. From the city one may reach coasts of the Ionian Sea and beaches which stretch to a total length of over 50 km just a short distance from the Preveza-Igoumenitsa motorway. Furthermore, one may reach the Ambracian Gulf with its numerous lagoons to its north side while the nearby estuaries of Louros and Arachthos are of exceptional ecological interest. South of Preveza is Aitoloacarnania and the island of Lefkada while to the northwest lie small seashore semi-mountainous settlements. The traditional summer resort of Parga is a one-hour drive away.

Preveza is directly opposite Actium where in 31 BC one of the greatest naval battles of antiquity took place. It was the battle that determined who would gain control over the Roman Empire: Octavian, consequently called Caesar Augustus, or Mark Antony. To commemorate his victory, Octavian built a new brilliant city called Nicopolis, which thrived in the following centuries with a population exceeding 300,000 inhabitants. The destruction of Nicopolis, almost 10 centuries later, brought to light the city of Preveza. In the fourteenth century, this historical succession was expressed when the area with the ruins of Nicopolis was already being referred to as Old Preveza.

The new city also constituted part of the famous Despotate of Epirus until its demise. Venice, as a sea-power, foreseeing the significance of Preveza took it from the Turks, and fortified it with their famous Venetian forts. Due to its position, the city also became the apple of discord between French and Ali Pasha of Ioannina. In 1912, it was liberated and became part of the modern Greek state. Today, the Municipality of Preveza has approximately 30,000 inhabitants. Preveza has an insular character, as three of its sides are surrounded by sea; sea that is said to still give off the perfume of Cleopatra who accompanied Marc Antony to the naval battle of Actium.

Preveza "breathes" thanks to the Ambracian Gulf, an ecosystem of exceptional biological, ecological and aesthetical value, the Ionian coasts, and the surrounding forests. In the picturesque streets of Preveza there are old mansions, gardens and flower-filled yards, while its surroundings offer olive groves, exquisite beaches, and archaeological sites. Somewhere in the area, Marcus Aurelius built his villa to dedicate himself to writing. Today, the city is developing into a modern administrative, economic and cultural centre of a wider area, while at the same time preserving its character thanks to which it has become known as a "green city".