Arta is sometimes referred to as northwestern Greece’s version of Mystras (the fortress town overlooking Sparta), because of its ancient history and Byzantine monuments, which are a great attraction for tourists who come to admire its stunning religious architecture.
One such example is the Byzantine church of Agia Theodora. Then there is another Byzantine church, that of Agios Vasilios, the oldest church in the area, built in 13th century and featuring remarkable ceramic decorative elements.
The Monastery of Kato Panagia, set in an idyllic location at the foot of the Peranthi Hill approximately 20 minutes from the town of Arta, is worthy of a visit, as is the Monastery of Panagia Vlacherna (Our Lady of Vlacherna). The latter is an imposing Byzantine church, dating from the period from the 10th-13th centuries, and has functioned as the family tomb of the Komnenos Doukas dynasty, whose members were rulers of the Despotate of Epirus.
The Byzantine Church of Panagia Parigoritissa (Our Lady of Consolation) at Arta, was built between 1285-1289 and continues to captivate visitors. Many details still remain impressive even after so many centuries, including the famous ceiling with its five brick domes and its combination of architectural styles, which come together to create an unusual religious mosaic.
Our recommendation: Try and visit during the festival of the city’s patron saint, Agia Theodora in March. At the big festival in the town, the icon and the relics of Agia Theodora are paraded around the streets, and schools, military and cultural associations all join in, completing the celebrations in style.