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Preveza from the air. The cape of Actium and the airport can be seen in the lower right.
Preveza from the air. The cape of Actium and the airport can be seen in the lower right.
Official seal of Preveza
Preveza is located in Greece
Country Greece
Administrative region Epirus
Regional unit Preveza
 • Mayor Christos Bailes (2011–2014)
 • Municipality 381.6 km2 (147.3 sq mi)
 • Municipal unit 66.8 km2 (25.8 sq mi)
Elevation 8 m (26 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Municipality 31,733
 • Municipality density 83/km2 (220/sq mi)
 • Municipal unit 22,853
 • Municipal unit density 340/km2 (890/sq mi)
 • Population 20795
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 481 00
Area code(s) 26820
Vehicle registration ΡΖ

Preveza (Greek: Πρέβεζα) 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 (4 miles) north of the city.


  • Origin of the name 1
  • Municipality 2
  • History 3
    • Antiquity 3.1
    • Medieval period 3.2
    • First Ottoman Period 3.3
    • Venetian intervention 3.4
    • 1797: Year of French Revolutionary rule, Ali Pasha's conquest and massacre 3.5
    • Second Ottoman Period 3.6
    • Annexation to Greece 3.7
    • Second World War 3.8
    • Modern period 3.9
  • Notable sights 4
  • Notable natives and residents 5
  • Transport 6
  • Historical population statistics 7
  • International relations 8
    • Twin towns – Sister cities 8.1
  • Gallery 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • Sources 12
  • External links 13

Origin of the name

The name Πρέβεζα Preveza is of uncertain etymology. There are three hypotheses about its origin:

  • from the old Slavic word prevoz meaning "crossing, passage" (Diogenes Charitonos and Fyodor Uspeski);[2] or
  • from the old Albanian word prevëzë-za, meaning transportation (Petros Fourikis and Konstantinos Amantos);[2] or
  • from the Latin word prevesione, meaning sustenance (victuals) (Max Vasmer, Peter Schustall, Johannes Conter).[3][4]


The present municipality Preveza was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 3 former municipalities, that became municipal units (constituent communities in brackets):[5]

  • Louros (Ano Rachi, Kotsanopoulo, Louros, Neo Sfinoto, Oropos, Revmatia, Skiadas, Stefani, Trikastro, Vrysoula)
  • Preveza (Flampoura, Michalitsi, Mytikas, Nicopolis, Preveza)
  • Zalongo (Cheimadio, Ekklissies, Kamarina, Kanali, Kryopigi, Myrsini, Nea Sampsounta, Nea Sinopi, Riza, Vrachos)



Preveza Port Sunrise, Photo Harry Gouvas
The Battle of Actium, by Laureys a Castro (1672), Oil Paint in National Maritime Museum of Greenwich, London (Director's Office).[3]
The Battle of Preveza (1538) by Ohannes Umed Behzad, painted in 1866.

In antiquity, the area of Preveza was inhabited by the Greek tribe of the Cassopeans, part of larger tribe of the Thesprotians. Their capital city was Cassope (near today's village of Kamarina). Near the site of modern Preveza in 290 BC King Pyrrhus of Epirus founded the town of Berenikea or Berenike, named after his mother-in-law Berenice I of Egypt.,[6][7] Today it is believed that Berenikea lies on the hills of the village of Michalitsi village, following the excavations of Sotirios Dakaris in 1965 (The Leo of Michalitsi, etc.). The Ambracian Gulf near Berenikea was the site of the naval Battle of Actium, on 2 September 31 BC, in which Octavian's (later Augustus) forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Queen Cleopatra of Egypt. Ancient Nicopolis (Νικόπολις, "Victory City") was built nearby by Augustus to commemorate his victory,[8] and today it is believed that at its peak it had a total population of 150,000.[9] In AD 90, after banishment by the Emperor Domitian, the philosopher Epictetus arrived in Preveza and established a school of philosophy. One from his students, Arrian became a famous historian and recorded all the works of Epictetus.[3]

Medieval period

Nicopolis continued under Roman and later Byzantine rule, experiencing brief periods of Bulgarian rule in the 10th century (920–922, 977–983, 996–997). According to one theory, modern Preveza grew around a military outpost built in the 9th century by the Bulgarians, following their conquest of Nicopolis.[10] The city was first attested in the Chronicle of the Morea (1292).[11] However, Hammond places the foundation of Preveza much later, at the end of the 14th century, possibly by Albanians.[12] After 1204, it came under the Despotate of Epirus (1204–1230, 1241–1338, 1356–1358), the Second Bulgarian Empire (1230–1241), the Serbian Empire (1348–1356), and the Despotate of Arta (1358–1401). It then came under Venetian rule until captured by the Ottomans.

First Ottoman Period

The Ottomans refounded Preveza probably in 1477, with a subsequent strengthening of the fortifications in 1495.[13] The naval Battle of Preveza was fought off the shores of Preveza in 29 September 1538, where the Ottoman fleet of Hayreddin Barbarossa defeated a united Christian fleet under the Genoese captain Andrea Doria. This day is a Turkish Navy National Holiday, and some of today Turkish submarines called "Preveze".

Venetian intervention

Venetian map of Preveza, 1687
Preveza and other Venetian possessions of the Ionian Sea.

Preveza was hotly contested in several Ottoman-Venetian Wars. In September 1684, at the early part of the Morean War, the Venetians, aided by Greek irregulars, crossed from the island of Lefkada (Santa Maura) and captured Preveza as well as Vonitsa, which gave them control of Acarnania - an important morale booster towards the main campaign in the Morea.[14] However, at the end of the war in 1699 Preveza was handed back to Ottoman rule. Venice captured Preveza again in 1717, during its next war with the Ottomans and was this time able to hold on to the town and fort it - a meager achievement in a war which otherwise went very badly for the Republic. Venetian rule would persist until the very end of the Venetian Republic itself in 1797. During this period, in 1779, the Orthodox missionary Kosmas visited Preveza where it is said he founded a Greek school, which would be the only school of the city during the 18th century.[15] At the end of the 18th century, Preveza became a transit center of trade with western Europe (particularly France), which resulted in the increase of its population to approximately 10,000–12,000.[16]

1797: Year of French Revolutionary rule, Ali Pasha's conquest and massacre

The Venetian clock tower of the city.
Battle of Nicopolis (1798)
Part of French Revolutionary Wars (specifically related to French Campaign in Egypt and Syria)
Date 12 October 1798
Location Environs of Preveza, near the ruins of Nicopolis
Result Decisive Ottoman victory (Preveza was captured by Ottomans)
French Army
Preveza Greek Civil Guard
Ottoman Pashalik of Yanina
Commanders and leaders
General La Salchette
Captain Christakis commanded the Souliote warriors
Ali Pasha Tepelena
Mukhtar Pasha
280 French Grenadiers
200 Preveza Civil Guards
60 Souliote warriors
Casualties and losses
Heavily decimated in battle and in the massacre which followed unknown

Following the Ioannina, surviving French and rebel prisoners were given the unpleasant role of walking at the head of the procession, holding the cut and salted heads of their companions, under the shouts and jeers of Ioannina's pro-Ottoman residents.[19] From Ioannina, nine captured French grenadiers, and two officers were sent chained to Istanbul for questioning. One of them, Captain Louis-Auguste Camus de Richemont, was later released, possibly mediated by the mother of Napoleon Bonaparte, Maria Letizia Bonaparte, and eventually became a general. Some popularly circulating tales, of doubtful historical authenticity, link this incident with the origins of the Spoonmaker's Diamond, one of the most closely guarded treasures of Istanbul's Topkapı Palace.[19] Though Preveza would remain under Ottoman rule for more than a century, this event – both the short period of Greek militias active in the city and the shock of the massacre that followed – and the influence of the ideas of the French Revolution had a part in the development of Greek nationalism towards the Greek War of Independence, which broke out three decades later.

Second Ottoman Period

1892 decree signed by the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II which documents possession of a state farm in Preveza passing to the Sultan's ownership.

From 1798 to 1820, Preveza was under the rule of the semi-independent Ali Pasha Tepelena. Following his death in 1822 at Ioannina, Preveza was more directly controlled from Istanbul. Preveza became the seat of a province (the Sanjak of Preveze) in 1863, until the year 1912 when the city joined Greece. In 1835, educational activity in the city revived with the foundation of a new Greek school, the Theophaneios, named after its sponsor, Anastassios Theophanis. In the following decades, this school became a centre of education in the surrounding area and in 1851 it also hosted a female and a secondary school.[21]

According to the meeting there in January 1879[29] and in February 28, 1879, signed a petition with a threat to take arms to prevent an annexation of Preveza to Greece.[30] As a result of the unrest created, led by Abdyl Frashëri, another Albanian national figure, the local Ottoman governor was recalled.[31] Abedin Dino was also recalled from Preveza, while the recently arrived Albanians left the city and returned to their homelands.[32]

The discussions between the two sides continued latter in Constantinople, but the Ottoman side disagreed with the proposed border by using as an excuse the unrest created by Albanian representatives.[33] In March 1881, the Ottoman side proposed the cession of Panagiotis Danglis and Spyros Spyromilios, aimed at the annexation of the region to Greece[35] by supplying local Greeks with firearms.[36]

From 1881 to 1912 the main sectors of the local economy witnessed dramatic decline and the port of the city lost most of its former commercial significance. However, education was still flourishing with two schools operating: one boys' and one girls' school. The school system of the city was primarily financed by Anastasios Theofanis, notable member of the diaspora.[37]

Annexation to Greece

Siege of Preveza during the Balkan Wars, 1912

The city of Preveza remained under Ottoman control until finally taken by the Greek Army on 21 October 1912, during the First Balkan War. The city was liberated after the Battle of Nicopolis, by the Greek forces under Colonel Papagiotis Spiliadis. A garrison of the 8th Infantry Division was stationed in the city by December. Later on in the same war, on 8 February 1913, the inhabitants of Preveza were involved in the first instance in world history of a pilot being shot down in combat. The Russian pilot N. de Sackoff, flying for the Greeks, had his biplane hit by ground fire following a bomb run on the walls of Fort Bizani near Ioannina. He came down near Preveza, and with the help of local townspeople repaired his plane and resumed his flight back to base.[38] In the following months there arrived in Preveza the famous Swiss photographer Frederic Boissonnas, and a lot of photographs from this period are available today. Preveza along with the rest of southern Epirus formally became part of Greece via the Treaty of London in 1913.

After the Balkan Wars the harbor of Preveza became a significant regional commercial center in western Greece. Moreover, local labor unions were created during the Interwar period.[37]

Second World War

Along with the rest of Greece, Preveza was occupied by Fascist Italy (1941–1943) and Nazi Germany (1943–1944) during World War II. After the departure of the Wehrmacht from Preveza, in September 1944, an episode of the Greek Civil War known as the Battle of Preveza took place, lasting for 16 days, between armed partisans of the right-wing EDES and the left-wing EAM-ELAS. The fights stopped after the Convention of Cazerta between Great Britain and the two main Greek resistance groups, EDES and ELAS.

Modern period

The port.
View of the promenade.

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: Άκτιο, Aktio) on the southern shore of the Ambracian Gulf, greatly shortening the distance of the trip to Lefkada.

Notable sights

The Acheron River canyon. Photo: Harry Gouvas
The ancient Cassope.Photo: Harry Gouvas
The Roman Odeon of Nicopolis
Mosaic from the Roman villa of Manius Antoninus, Nicopolis. Photo Harry Gouvas

Notable natives and residents


Preveza is linked by road to Igoumenitsa and other coastal settlements through the E55 national road, and is also linked with other cities in Epirus such as Ioannina and Arta. The Aktio-Preveza Undersea Tunnel links Preveza by road to Aetolia-Acarnania in Central Greece. Preveza also has a small commercial and passenger port and is served by the nearby Aktion National Airport, which also serves the island of Lefkada.

Historical population statistics

Year Community Municipal unit Municipality
1981 13,624
1991 13,341 16,886
2001 17,724 19,605
2011 20,795 22,853 31,733

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Preveza is a founding member of the Douzelage, a unique town twinning association of 24 towns across the European Union. This active town twinning began in 1991 and there are regular events, such as a produce market from each of the other countries and festivals.[39][40] Discussions regarding membership are also in hand with three further towns (Agros in Cyprus, Škofja Loka in Slovenia and Tryavna in Bulgaria).


See also


  1. ^ "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority. 
  2. ^ a b Petros Fourikis: "Nikopolis Preveza" first edition, Athens 1930
  3. ^ a b c d Harry Gouvas: "History of Preveza Prefecture", edition 2009, ISBN 978-960-87328-2-7
  4. ^ Max Vasmer: "Die Slaven in Griechenland", 1970 (reprint), p. 64 "Preveza"
  5. ^ Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
  6. ^ Plutarch: Life of King Pyrrhus, Kaktos editions, Athens
  7. ^ Green, Peter (1993). Alexander to Actium: the historical evolution of the Hellenistic age. Hellenistic culture and society.  
  8. ^ Plutarch: Life of Marc Antony, vol.III
  9. ^ Konstantinos Zachos: "Ancient Nicopolis", The Greek Ministry of Culture,2003
  10. ^ Guide Bleu, Greece. Hachette-Livre, 2000. p.680
  11. ^ Isager Jacob. Foundation and destruction, Nikopolis and Northwestern Greece. Danish Institute at Athens, 2001, ISBN 978-87-7288-734-0, p. 47.
  12. ^ Hammond, Nicholas Geoffrey (1967). Epirus: The Geography, The Ancient Remains, The History and the Topography of Epirus and Adjacent Areas. Oxford University Press. p. 46. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  13. ^ Isager Jacob: "Foundation and destruction, Nikopolis and Northwestern Greece". Danish Institute at Athens, 2001, ISBN 978-87-7288-734-0, p. 60.
  14. ^ Finlay, p. 209
  15. ^ Sakellariou M.V.:"Epirus, 4,000 years of Greek history and civilisation", Ekdotikē Athēnōn, 1997, ISBN 978-960-213-371-2, p. 306
  16. ^ Mikropoulos A. Tassos:Elevating and Safeguarding Culture Using Tools of the Information Society: Dusty traces of the Muslim culture. Earthlab. ISBN 978-960-233-187-3, p. 313-315.
  17. ^ Kostas Filos: Collection of private letters of the 18th century, "The Museum of Arts and Sciences Harry Gouvas", in Preveza
  18. ^ Fleming Katherine Elizabeth: The Muslim Bonaparte: Diplomacy and Orientalism in Ali Pasha's Greece. Princeton University Press, 1999. ISBN 978-0-691-00194-4, p. 99
  19. ^ a b c d Dr.Harry Gouvas:"History of Preveza Prefecture", 2009, ISBN 978-960-87328-2-7
  20. ^ Nikos Karabelas: "Foreign travellers in Preveza", Newspaper Kathimerini, 28 January 2001
  21. ^ Sakellariou M. V.: "Epirus, 4,000 years of Greek history and civilisation". Ekdotikē Athēnōn, 1997, ISBN 978-960-213-371-2, p. 306
  22. ^ Kondis, 1976, p. 21: "In February 1879, Greek and Turkish commissioners met at Preveza in accordance with the Congress recommendation; five meetings were held, but all failed completely."
  23. ^ Kondis, 1976, p. 24: "Just before the start of the Berlin Conference the Porte, in order to use Albanian unrest for delaying purposes, appointed a member of the Albanian League, Abded Din Pasha Dino, a big landlord from Epirus, as foreign minister. In secret directives Abded Din Pasha promised to the Albanian League the support of the Porte in its conflict with Greece."
  24. ^ Skoulidas p. 152: "Μεγάλη υπήρξε και η κινητοποίηση του Abeddin bey Dino, ο οποίος συγκέντρωσε στην Πρέβεζα αλβανούς ηγέτες από ολόκληρο τον αλβανικό και τον ηπειρωτικό χώρο, οι οποίοι διαμαρτύρονταν για την ενδεχόμενη προσάρτηση της Ηπείρου στην Ελλάδα. Υπήρξαν ελληνικές εκτιμήσεις, με τη συνδρομή του ιταλού υποπρόξενου Corti, ότι ο Abeddin βρισκόταν στα όρια της χρεοκοπίας και ότι θα μπορούσε να εξαγοραστεί με 100 χιλιάδες φράγκα, όμως οι σχετικές κινήσεις δεν προχώρησαν υπό το πνεύμα μήπως υπάρξουν επιπλοκές στις διαπραγματεύσεις, τις οποίες οι ελληνικές θεωρήσεις"
  25. ^ Medlicott William Norton. Bismarck, Gladstone, and the Concert of Europe University of London, Athlone Press, 1956, p. 77
  26. ^ Kondis, 1976, p. 24
  27. ^ Jelavich, Barbara (1989). History of the Balkans: Eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Joint Committee on Eastern Europe Publication Series.  
  28. ^ Skendi, Stavro (1967). The Albanian national awakening, 1878–1912.  
  29. ^ Anamali, Skënder and Prifti, Kristaq. Historia e popullit shqiptar në katër vëllime. Botimet Toena, 2002, ISBN 99927-1-622-3.
  30. ^ Gawrych, George (2006). The crescent and the eagle: Ottoman rule, Islam and the Albanians, 1874–1913. I.B.Tauris. p. 54.  
  31. ^ Ortayli, İlber (1998). Belleten. Belleten 62. Türk Tarih Kurumu. p. 153. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  32. ^ Skoulidas, 2001, p. 157: "Η Υψηλή Πύλη, για άγνωστους λόγους που ενδεχομένως σχετίζονταν με την σημαντική κινητοποίηση και παρουσία Αλβανών στην Πρέβεζα που θα μπορούσε να καταστεί επικίνδυνη για τα συμφέροντα της, ανακάλεσε τον Abeddiii bey Dino στην Κων/λη και στη θέση του έστειλε τον Costali Pasha, προκαλώντας τη δυσαρέσκεια του Vessel bey Dino, του καδή της Πρέβεζας και άλλων αλβανών προκρίτων , οι οποίοι στη συνέχεια αποχώρησαν στις ιδιαίτερες πατρίδες τους..."
  33. ^ Kondis, 1976, p. 25: "In the Berlin Conference as was the case at Preveza and Constantinople matters dragged out. Turkey was willing to make a small concession in Thessaly but she refused to cede any territory from the vilayet of Janina to Greece. Albanian unrest was again used as an excuse."
  34. ^ Skoulidas, 2001, p. 164: "Η στάση της αυτοκρατορίας μεταβλήθηκε στα τέλη του Μαρτίου 1881 όταν και παρουσίασε μία νέα πρόταση: παραχώρηση στην Ελλάδα της Θεσσαλίας και του τμήματος του καζά Άρτας ανατολικά του Αράχθου, αλλά όχι μεγαλύτερο τμήμα από την Ήπειρο. Μία πρόταση, η οποία ήταν και αυτή που εφαρμόστηκε τελικά. Η μεταβολή της στάσεως που ακολούθησε η Οθωμανική αυτοκρατορία δεν μπορεί να εξηγηθεί χωρίς να ληφθεί υπόψη η μεταβολή στις σχέσεις Οθωμανών και Αλβανών, οι οποίες σταδιακά είχαν οδηγηθεί σε ρήξη."
  35. ^ Sakellariou, M. V. (1997). Epirus, 4000 years of Greek history and civilization. Ekdotike Athenon. p. 310.  
  36. ^ Sakellariou, M. V. (1997). Epirus, 4000 years of Greek history and civilization. Ekdotike Athenon. p. 360.  
  37. ^ a b Πρέβεζα Η Καθημερινή, Επτά Ημέρες, 2001, p. 7-8
  38. ^ Baker, David, "Flight and Flying: A Chronology", Facts On File, Inc., New York, New York, 1994, Library of Congress card number 92-31491, ISBN 0-8160-1854-5, page 61.
  39. ^ " Home". Retrieved 2009-10-21. 
  40. ^ " Member Towns". Retrieved 2009-10-21. 


  • Kondis, Basil (1976). Greece and Albania: 1908-1914. Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies, New York University. 
  • Skoulidas, Ilias (2001). "The Relations Between the Greeks and the Albanians during the 19th Century: Political Aspirations and Visions (1875 - 1897)". (in Greek) ( 

External links

  • District of Epirus: Part of Preveza
  • Municipality of Preveza Official website (in Greek)
  • Preveza Prefecture](until 31 December 2010)
  • TEI of Preveza (Technological University, Department of Finance and Auditing)
  • The Foundation "Museum of Arts and Sciences Harry Gouvas in Preveza,
  • Preveza (municipality) on GTP Travel Pages (in English and Greek)
  • Preveza (town) on GTP Travel Pages (in English and Greek)
  • Preveza Weather Station SV6GMQ – Live Weather Conditions (in English and Greek)
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