Arta: the Royal City
The Corinthians were the first to recognize the area’s potential. The Byzantines transformed the city into a brilliant beacon of culture. The Ottomans defended it with passion. Three civilizations, three millennia of life, a mosaic of monuments commensurate with glory and the essence of empire.
1. The haunted bridgeThe bridge is the quintessential landmark of Arta, but it took a bird with a human voice, a woman, some pirates, and a lucky grocer to build it.
2. A city beneath the cityArta literally rests atop the ruins of ancient Ambracia. The local Archaeological Museum is an impressive and necessary introduction to this huge chapter of the town’s history.
3. The divorced saintOpposites attract, but before they can live happily together they may have to endure all sorts of troubles, especially if one of them catches gangrene.
The lucky Cat-Eater
The haunted bridgeAccording to the folk ballad, the Head Builder sacrificed his wife, but another local tradition contains valuable information on who paid for the bridge. Once upon a time, a pirate ship arrived in Arta with its cargo hold full of olive oil. The people for the surrounding countryside flocked to the pirates to buy oil. Among them was a grocer from Arta, who was widely known as the Cat-Eater. The pirates sold him numerous containers full of oil. They had stolen them from another merchant but they were unaware that their hapless victim had hidden many gold coins in the oil. The lucky Cat-Eater found the coins and financed the bridge of Arta.
Don’t pay the ferryman
A city beneath the cityTo reach the Underworld, the shadows of the dead had to cross the river Acheron on the boat of Charon. The relatives placed a coin (obolus) in the mouth of the dead person, with which he or she paid for the passage across the river. The ancient satirist Lucian, in his “Dialogues of the Dead”, presents Menippus rejecting Charon’s demands for his money with the argument that he could no offer what he did not possess. The wealthy residents of Ambracia, though, had much more than a single obolus. They carried gold danakes with a winged Pegasus (symbol of Corinth, mother city of Ambracia), or a caduceus, the staff carried by god Hermes, who guided the dead to the Underworld.
The divorced saintMichael rejected his pregnant lawful wife, and issued a decree that his subjects should not support her, or even mention her name. Theodora was forced into exile, where she lived for five years in the open air, oppressed by hunger and thirst. Finally, though, a priest from a small village found her picking wild greens in a field, while holding her child in her arms. When he found out who she was, he gave her shelter and asked for the help of the Despotate’s leading officials. They seized Gangrene and tortured her, until she confessed the whole affair. At that point, Michael seems to have come to his senses and took Theodora back into his house, where they lived happily ever after.
Nea Odos has undertaken the study, planning, construction, operation, administration and maintenance of the “Ionian Road” project. A breathtaking project covering a total length of 380klm.
Why take a self-guided tour?
This is a self-guided tour based on the award-winning storytelling concept developed by Clio Muse and the fascinating narratives prepared by our handpicked destination experts.
You can enjoy each multilingual tour by using your smartphone or tablet at your own pace even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step-by-step as you explore all points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of our signature stories allowing you to tailor the tour experience to your personal interests and schedule.
After downloading Clio Muse app, you can access this tour and activate it any moment you wish and also repeat it any time. To best enjoy our multimedia self-guided tour (comprising maps, video, audio and text) we recommend the use of headphones.
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