Built on the edge of the Peranthi hill and the banks of the Arahthos river (which provided irrigation for ancient Amvrakia), Arta is undeniably known for its famous bridge. There are many like it around Epirus and they all display the stone mason’s art, a long tradition and a singular vision of architecture. But this is the only one associated with the dark folk tale of the builder who, in order to stop the arch from collapsing, is said to have used his wife as the foundation stone!
The first settlement in the area of the modern city dates to the 9th century B.C. Ambrakia was founded as a Corinthian colony in the 7th century B.C. In 294 BC, after forty-three years of semi-autonomy under Macedonian suzerainty, Ambrakia was given to Pyrrhus, king of the Molossians and of Epirus, who made it his capital, using Ambrakia as a base to attack the Romans. Pyrrhus managed to achieve great but costly victories against the Romans, hence the phrase «Pyrrhic victory» which refers in particular to an exchange at the Battle of Asculum. Nevertheless, Pyrrhus found the time and means to adorn his capital with a palace, temples and theatres. In 146 BC, Ambrakia became part of the Roman Republic.
The prefecture of Arta
The prefecture of Arta contains imposing mountains covered in spruces, fertile plains, roaring rivers and lagoons with important ecosystems. It is one of Greece’s most beautiful regions and is located between the Tzoumerka mountain range and the Amvrakikos gulf. It makes up the north-eastern part of Epirus. The varied scenery of the prefecture combines the beauty and harshness of the Greek mountains with the gentle and shallow beaches of the gulf of Amvrakikos and the fertile valleys of the Arahthos river.