the second largest town in Ipiros, is 360 km from Athens. The
town is known for its famous stone bridge, the largest and
oldest in Greece and for the numerous Byzantine monuments in
and around the town. The Arta Bridge is on the outskirts of
the town and spans the River Arahthos. Inside the town stands
the large church of Panagia Parigoritissa (built in the 13th
century), unique in style throughout Greece because it
contains several elements of Western architecture in its
interior and has a peculiar system of supports for its dome.
Nowadays the church is used as a museum exhibiting finds
belonging to various periods.
The town's ancient theatre and
its fortress have also survived. Other churches belonging to
Byzantine times, sited in the town of Arta, are those of Agion
Theodoron which contains very attractive capitals and Agios
Vasilios with excellent ceramic exterior decoration. At small
distances in the surroundings of Arta, there is the Monastery
of Kato Panagia, the Monastery of Vlachairnon and the churches
of Agios Demetrios Katsoulis and Panagia Rodia, all belonging
to the period when Ipiros was under Despotic rule (13th
With Arta as a point of departure, it is worth
taking the road which follows the banks of the Arahthos River
and goes through the villages of Rodavgi and Dafnoti to a spot
known as Plaka where is a graceful, old stone bridge and from
where the road leads on to Agnanda (58 kms from Arta) and
thence to Pramanda (70 kms from Arta). Both are head villages
or townships built in the large meadow surrounded by the tall
peaks of the Southern Pindus range.
At a distance of 5 kms
from Pramanda, there is the Anemotripa Pramandon cave. In the
surrounding mountain area there are numerous villages to visit
which retain B traditional characteristics, such as Mahouki,
Melissourgi and others. Taking another road out of Arta one
can drive to Skoulikaria (50 kms). Nearby stands the Monastery
of Kimissis Theotokou originally an 11th century building
which was burnt down during Greece's War of Independence in
1821 and was rebuilt in 1854.
A small distance short of
Skoulikaria, near the village of Velentziko (45 kms) stands
the Monastery of Rovelista, a prominent monastery during the
centuries of Ottoman rule.