Discover Patrasso: History, Customs, Festivals & Traditions Guide

Discover Patrasso's rich history, vibrant customs, lively festivals, and unique traditions in our comprehensive guide.

Discover Patrasso: History, Customs, Festivals & Traditions Guide

Discover Patrasso: History, Customs, Festivals & Traditions Guide

History of Patrasso

Located in the northern Peloponnese, Patrasso (also known as Patras) is the third-largest city in Greece. With a history spanning over four millennia, Patrasso is a treasure trove of historical and cultural heritage.

The city's history dates back to ancient times, with archaeological evidence of habitation during the Mycenaean period. Named after Patreus, the legendary founder of the city, Patrasso gained prominence in 280 BC as part of the Achaean League. During Roman rule, it flourished as a commercial hub.

Roman Era

In the Roman period, Patrasso was a key port city, connecting Greece to Italy and the western Mediterranean. The remains of the Roman Odeon, built in the late 1st century AD, stand as a testament to this era.

Medieval Period

During the Byzantine era, Patrasso continued to play an important role. In the Fourth Crusade (1204), it was conquered by the Crusaders and later came under Venetian and Ottoman rule, each leaving an indelible mark on the city's architecture and culture.

Customs and Cultural Practices

The customs of Patrasso are deeply rooted in Greek traditions and Christian Orthodox practices. The following intriguing aspects highlight the rich culture of the city:

Religious Practices

The city's religious life revolves around the Orthodox Church, with numerous significant celebrations, including:

  • Feast of St. Andrew: As the patron saint of the city, St. Andrew's feast on November 30th is a major event, featuring a large procession and religious ceremonies.
  • Epiphany Day: Celebrated on January 6th, it involves a traditional blessing of the waters, where a cross is thrown into the sea, and young men dive to retrieve it.

Local Cuisine

The culinary scene in Patrasso combines traditional Greek dishes with local specialties. Key highlights include:

  • Bakaliaros: A dish of fried cod served with garlic sauce, traditionally eaten on Palm Sunday and Annunciation Day.
  • Savoro: A delicious fish dish with rosemary, vinegar, and garlic.
  • Local wine: Famous for its "Mavrodaphne," a sweet red wine, and other regional varieties.

Festivals and Events

Patrasso is known for its vibrant festivals, the most famous being the annual Carnival. Here are some key events:

Patras Carnival

One of the largest and oldest carnivals in Europe, the Patras Carnival attracts visitors from all over the world. It typically lasts for several weeks, culminating on the weekend before Lent begins. Key events include the:

  • Grand Parade: Featuring elaborate floats, costumes, and lively music.
  • Bourboulia: A unique dance where women wear black domino masks and invite men to dance, maintaining anonymity.
  • Children’s Parade: A delightful event dedicated to the younger participants, showcasing their creativity and energy.

International Festival of Patras

Held during the summer months, this festival showcases a diverse array of cultural performances, including:

  • Concerts by renowned Greek and international artists.
  • Theater performances, often held at the ancient Roman Odeon.
  • Art exhibitions and workshops.

Wine Festival

A celebration of the region's viticultural heritage, the Wine Festival in autumn is a must-visit for wine enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy:

  • Wine tastings from local producers.
  • Traditional music and dance performances.
  • Food stalls offering local delicacies.

Interesting Facts

Here are some fascinating tidbits about Patrasso:

  • The Rio-Antirrio Bridge, one of the world's longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges, connects Patrasso to mainland Greece.
  • Patrasso was a candidate city for the 2004 Summer Olympics but ultimately was not selected.
  • The city’s university, the University of Patras, founded in 1964, is one of the leading institutions of higher education in Greece.
  • It is said that Apostle Andrew, the patron saint, was martyred in Patrasso and the church in his honor is one of the largest in Greece.

Local Anecdotes

The locals of Patrasso are often eager to share interesting stories and legends about their city. One such tale is about the "Haunted House of Papanikolaou”:

According to legend, a wealthy merchant named Papanikolaou built a grand mansion in the late 19th century. Due to a series of misfortunes, the house was abandoned and is said to be haunted by his restless spirit. Despite its dilapidated state, it remains a popular spot for thrill-seekers and curious visitors.


Patrasso, with its rich history, vibrant customs, and diverse festivals, offers a fascinating experience for any traveler. Whether you are exploring ancient ruins, participating in lively parades, or savoring local dishes, the city's unique charm will undoubtedly leave you with lasting memories.