Few know that in the region of Patra, there is a bridge (Rio-Antirio Bridge), which, due to geological and geographical difficulties, as well as due to the technological measures which were taken in its construction, is considered to be a modern-day technological miracle (as well as the largest suspension bridge in the world).
Furthermore, even fewer know that in 2006, Patra was the official cultural capital of Europe.
Nevertheless, Patra’s reputation as a Carnival city extends far beyond the borders of Greece. It is so well known, that hundreds of thousands of visitors pour into the capital of Achaea to take part in the Carnival. Performances began every year on the 17th of January and reach their peak on the last Sunday of Carnival with a huge parade and the burning of the king of the Carnival. The revelry continues, however, and is finished up with huge parties and bacchanal, until daybreak on Clean Monday.
The roots of these revelries are to be found in Ancient Greece, when they were dedicated to the god Dionysus, the god of revelry and fertility. At the City Dionysia, a celebration which took place in Athens, there was a parade with floats and satyrs who satirized various goings-on in the local society. The satyrs wore face-masks, and others anointed their faces with the dregs of wine, and dressed up in the skins of wild animals. Later on, the supremacy of Christianity in Greece resulted in a mixture of traditions and cultural customs. Carnival today is connected with the preparations for the greatest of the Christian celebrations, Easter. Starting at Carnival, fasting (Lent) begins, and lasts until the Resurrection (the Saturday before Easter).
During this time every year Patra is transformed into an insatiable place of revelry and bacchanal. The first float parades in Patra started in 1870, and since 1974, the hyperbolic nature of the experience of Carnival here has spread its reputation far and wide. The subjects satirized here by the participants are many and varied. Greek political events as well as events of world-wide interest, and important news and events that affect our lives are usually subjects of interest among those who design and decorate the floats for the parade. Thousands of parade-goers follow and dance together in an amazing mix of colors. The revelry and enthusiasm are pervasive and everyone is out dancing and celebrating long after the parade goes by. On Saturday, March 4, the evening parade begins, and on Sunday at 14:00 the Great Patra Carnival Parade begins. For more information about the parades and events see: http://www.Carnivalpatras.gr
How get there
|With a car:||The trip lasts about three hours from the National Road Athens—Corinth|
|With the KTEL bus:||From the Kifissos station. Buses leave every day from 5:50 in the morning until 22:00.||More information: Athens: 210.5147310. Patra: 2610.6238887.|
|By train:||From Larissa station (Athens) from 06:00 until 18:00. Ticket: 5,30€ for second class.||Special information about accessibility for those with special needs: tel.: 210.5298838|
More information about the Carnival in Patra: http://www.Carnivalpatras.gr