The city’s strong character, so fascinating for the visitor, is due to the fact that it is washed on three sides by the sea. Traditional buildings dominate the waterfront of the harbour, while quaint old houses, narrow streets, local tavernas and coffee-shops compose its tranquil interior.
Preveza is a town in the region of Epirus, northwestern Greece, located at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf. It is the capital of the regional unit of Preveza, which is part of the region of Epirus. The Aktio-Preveza Immersed Tunnel, the first and so far only undersea tunnel in Greece, was completed in 2002 and connects Preveza to Aktio in western Acarnania in the region of Aetolia-Acarnania. The ruins of the ancient city of Nicopolis lie 7 kilometres north of the city.
Despite the three different views, which have been put forward by the academic society on the origin of the name «Preveza», the most accepted view is that Preveza means Passage, and that the word reached this form from the Slavic, through the Albanian language.
The first view suggests that the name «Preveza» originates from the Slavic word prěvozъ, which means passage. This view is adopted mainly by: Max Vasmer, Diogenis Chariton, Fyodor Uspensky, Ioannis Demaratos, Peter Soustal & Johannes Koder, Alexios G. Savvides, Elias Vasilas, Nikos D. Karabelas, Demosthenis A. Donos, and others.
The second view suggests that the name originates from the old Albanian word prevëzë -za, which means paggage, transition, crossing over. This view is adopted mainly by: Petros Fourikis, Konstantinos Amantos, Max Vasmer, Peter Soustal & Johannes Koder, Alexis G.K. Savvides, Nikos D. Karableas, Demosthenis A. Donos, and others.
The third view suggests that the word originates from the Italian word prevesione, which means provision, supply.
In antiquity, the south-southwestern part of Epirus was inhabited by the Greek tribe of Cassopeans, part of a larger tribe, the Thesprotians. Their capital city was Cassope (today, near the village of Kamarina). At the southernmost part of Epirus, king Pyrrhus founded, in 290 BC, the town of Berenikea or Berenike, named after his mother-in-law Berenice I of Egypt. Today, it is believed that Berenikea lies on the hills near the village of Michalitsi, following the excavations by Sotirios Dakaris in 1965. The Ionian Sea, near Berenikea, was the site of the naval Battle of Actium, on 2 September 31 BC, in which Octavian’s forces defeated those of Mark Antony and queen Cleopatra of Egypt. The ancient city of Nicopolis ( «Victory City») was built, nearby, by Augustus to commemorate his victory. The city is believed to have, at its peak, a population of 150,000. In AD 90, Epictetus arrived at Nicopolis, after been banished by the Roman emperor Domitian, and established a school of philosophy. One of his students, Arrian, became a famous historian and recorded all of his works.
Today Preveza is a commercial harbour and tourist hub, with a marina, 4 Museums, two cinemas, an open theatre, a music Hall (OASIS), many clubs, taverns and cafes, benefiting from its proximity to the nearby Aktion National Airport and the nearby island of Lefkada, a major tourist destination. There are in the city University of Financial (TEI) and Commercial Navy Academy. The Aktio-Preveza Immersed Tunnel, opened on 2002, is an important work of infrastructure for what has traditionally been a remote and underdeveloped region, and links Preveza to Actium (Greek: Aktio) on the southern shore of the Ambracian Gulf, greatly shortening the distance of the trip to Lefkada.
Photos: Giannis Vellis