Preveza: Drop-dead gorgeous

A site of significant naval battles, heroic acts and natural beauty that is full of surprises

By Haris Argyropoulos

The small, picturesque town of Preveza, 370 kilometers from Athens at the entrance to the Amvrakikos Gulf in western Greece, is so unassuming these days that visitors are surprised to learn that it hosted six foreign consulates at the beginning of the 20th century, while under Ottoman rule.

This curious fact was a reflection of the importance of its position, militarily and commercially, also indicated by the naval Battle of Actium across the strait, in 31 BC — when Octavian scored a decisive victory against Antony and Cleopatra — and the Battle of Preveza in 1538, in which the Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa defeated a joint Spanish-Venetian fleet, claiming their supremacy in the Mediterranean for over 30 years.