Rio is a suburb of Patra. It is located about 7km away from the city towards Athens. For many years we used to take the ferry to cross to other side (mainland Greece) but since 2004 the amazing Rio bridge is a better much faster alternative. The bridge is officially called Charilaos Trikupis, the prime minister that dreamed about the bridge back in 1889 and suggested the bridge at the end of 19th century but couldn’t build it because it wasn’t technically possible at that time. The bridge is a must see anyway, as it is an engineering masterpiece. The area that the bridge was built is over a spot with high seismic activity so the engineers had to think about several diffirent and complicated methods for the safety of the bridge (I think it can survive up to 8,5 in Richter level). It is about 3km long (2,880meters) and you have to pay 13,20 euros every time for tolls (ouch!).
If you drive to Rio don’t miss the castle of Rio that is located between the east and west pier. Inside the castle is a cute chapel of Zoodohu Pigis.
You can find some cafes and restaurants at Rio so you can have your breakfast/lunch there before continue on your to Athens/Patras or the other side of the bridge.
One of the nicest short trips near the city is a visit to Achaia Clauss winery. It is located on green hill 8km south east from the center. The buildings inside are a fine example of industrial architecture. Achaia Clauss was built in 1861 and it was the first winery in Greece. The winery was built by the german Gustav Clauss that came from Germany in 1854 to work in a german exportation factory of currant.
It products some of the most famous greek wines. The view is great from there but the most important reason to visit the place is to taste some famous local wines like the sweet Mavrodafni etc Last time we tasted a lot of them and I bought several bottle of fine white semisweet wine (I couldn’t find the same on stores, Mavrodafni is easy to find everywhere). The prices are low too.
As you enter by car the first thing you notice is the vineyards, then you will pass the castle like entrance and see the historic buildings, the bust of Clauss and you can tour the cellar for the huge wooden barrels that date back from 1873 (I wonder how is the taste of a wine of that era!). Most of our visit was inside Kava Daniliidis. There we tasted the wines and we bought some of them. The factory is open daily 09.00-20.00 (may-september 11.00-20.00)
Directions:Achaia Clauss is located at Petroto village, 8km SE from Patras. From city center drive up on Gounaris street, at the end follow Kalavriton avenue and after 3-4 km you will see a sign. You can also take bus N.7 from Patras at Ermou & Haralampi streets
Some parts of Patras are still under excavation. The history of the city goes way back in time so a lot of interesting things are hidden under the modern city, you can find many spots that date back from the Roman era.
Just a few steps away from the Roman Odeum you can see part of the Ancient Amphitheatre/Stadium. It dates (probably) from the 1st century AD and it was a big stadium, you can see/imagine how it was from different points, the stadium is located between Pantanasis and Gerokostopoulou streets (pics 1-2-3). It covers an area of 200m x 90m and it was this stadium that Kaisareia games took place (dedicated to Ceasar upon the 100 years anniversary of Patras colony from Rome)
The Roman Nymfea are nothing special for the visitor (you can skip them, but I wanted to check every corner of the city) as they are still under excavation. The first one is located at Germanou street 36-40(pic 4). It used to be a huge building from the 3rd century and housed many gardens and fountains.
The second Nymfeo is located at I.Vlahou 3 & Kanari street (pic 5) and it was probably part of a huge group of hot springs. The early byzantine era the are was used for a church and later for a cemetery.
The Obliu monastery is located 15km away from Patra city. It is hide up at 750m, in a beautiful green area. We enjoyed driving up there although some turns of the road were difficult and partly dirt at the end.
The monastery was built at 1315 from monk Ioakim and his students. There was a small chapel and next to it they built two tiny cells where they were living as monks. It was that chapel that had a painting of Virgin Mary showing her with a very sweet face. The locals from the mountain villages of the area were calling her Ompile which means sweet in arvanitic dialect.
But it was only in 1601 that the cathedral was built there while the others building around it were added in 1689 and the north part at 1754. The monastery was burnt by the ottomans in 1770 and then again in 1821 during the greek revolution against the ottoman empire. Many documents and paintings were lost forever but the monks took whatever was saved and transferred them to other monasteries at Ionian sea islands (that belongs to England that period) and returned back in 1828. It was only in 1865 when the bell tower was added (it was forbidden to bell by the ottomans).
Unfortunately, the monastery was destroyed again during the WWII by the Germans because some Greeks were hiding there.
There are 6 monks living there but we spent a lot of time near the entrance which was full of goats (pic 2) and other friendly animals :)
Even if you are not planning a trip into Steria Ellada taking you to Napfaktos, Galaxidi, or Arta, Agrinion, Vonitsa, Prevessa, Parga, Igoumenitsa...you must at least take a ride across the bridge! When you get across from the Patra side, turn down towards the left, into the small village and walk along the beach. If the weather is good, you can stop and have a coffee or a meal at one of the sea side taverna.
The view from this side is perfect!
The photos below were taken on a day in early December, 2005 when I had gone along with my friends to pick up their son who was returning from his first term in England. Being afraid of flying, he was making the journey overland! What a torture for his parents, but he didn't seem to mind at all, so I suppose that is what matters most. If you must or just like travelling...who said you always have to fly!? How he made the trip in the winter, through the tunnel, train, more trains, boat, busses...well, that's another story on another page!
For now, just sit back, have your coffee of tea and relax.
Patras, thanks to its character as a port, a student town and a regional metropolis, is known for good nightlife.
What is lesser known than the Patras nights, is the Patras knights.
The region around Patras, Achaia, together with neighbouring Elis (the onetime unified department of Achaeo-Elis), was the heart of Frankish presence in Southern Greece in the 13th and 14th centuries BC.
The French family of Villehardouin founded the principality of Achaia soon after the conquest of Greece (then the East Roman, or Byzantine, Empire) symbolized by the fall of Constantinople (today Istanbul) to the crusaders in 1204.
Other French families also associated their names with the region. Today, this important period of history has been immortalized in place names such as Santomeri (from the French family of Saint-Omer), Arla and other villages and small towns in the region.
Santomeri is at the side of the strangely-shaped mountain called Skollis, SSW of Patras. To get there you have to drive from Patras towards Pyrgos and then take a left turn at the industrial zone. It is a nice uphill drive that leads you to the plateau dominated by Mt. Skollis.
6th EGMYO-Meeting 2006 in Patras / Greece
8-17 April, 2006
The 6th meeting of the European Guitar and Mandolin Youth Orchestra (EGMYO) is taking place in Patras / Greece from 8 to 17th april 2006 (arrival at Saturday 8 april and departure at Monday 17 april). The Patras Orchestra will organize the transport between Athens and Patras.
Once again we invite young people from all European countries, aged between 16 to 27 years, who are interested in rehearsing a high quality music program during this period and to give public performances of this music at the end of the meeting period. In the programm there are some cultural events organized by our Greek friends of Plucked String Orchestra Municipality of Patras.
Following performances have been suggested for the program of which 4-5 pieces will be chosen. The selection depends on the availability of the music sheets:
* Erik 't Hart -Wild at heart
* Claudio Mandonico -new composition
* Michael Travlos -Fading Memories -Concertante for Solo Guitar, Plucked String Orchestra
* Robert Hangstrom -Suite for Plucked String Orchestra
* Christopher Grafschmidt -new composition
The artistic lecturers are:
* Marco Ludemann, conductor (Netherlands)
* Mari Fe Pavon, Mandolin (Spain)
* Juan Carlos Munoz, Mandolin (Luxembourg)
* Annemie Hermans, Mandola (Netherlands)
* Mirko Schrader, Guitar (Germany)
Permitted instruments are:
* Laud Espagnol
* Double bass
Conditions of Participation:
* Advanced performance level and experience as orchestral player
* Participant's contribution amounting 220,00 euros
* Travel expenses to Patras on own account
* Interested in meeting the youth of other countries
Moreover, we await all participants coming to this EGMYO-meeting being well prepared on the music sheets which we have sent before.
A few Kilometers from Patras is Rion suburb. Rion is an important transport junction (it connectes the 'Peloponnese' with the 'Sterea Hellas').
Rion has also a beautiful castle, and a lot of summer bars, disco-clubs and Cafes, you can visit them and drink a coffee or a coctail. It has also a lot of restaurants, you can visit them and eat tradional and others food.
Near Patras, there are many great beaches, excellent villages next to the sea. Swimming, surfing,fun, drinking ...!
Try 'Kalogria Beach'. You dont'n know what you 're missing.
There is a medieval fortress in Rio, on the cape near the bridge connecting with mainland Greece.
The fortification was built by Beyazit II in 1499. In 1532 it was taken by Andrea Doria, admiral of the Spanish Navy, and then taken again by the Turks, the Knights of Malta and Venetians, again by the Turks, until 1828. It has suffered repairs and reforms along time and has been used as a prison and during the WWII the Germans established themselves there.
I was the only person visiting the fortress at that time, a Sunday afternoon of late September. A strange feeling of solitude invaded me and as soon as I explored the fortress I left.
If you have the chance, watch a basket ball game. Patras, has a great basketball team 'APOLLON' (ÁÐÏËËÙÍ ÐÁÔÑÙÍ).-
A new bridge joining Peloponessus and main land is being built betwen Rio and Antirio. Nowadays, there are a lot of ferries between the 2 shores, that take 15 minutes to cross.