Patras is a bustling student city, proud to host a renowned scientific, academic and research community in the fields of Neuroscience, ICT and Intelligent Systems as it regroups:
- the University of Patras, which is the hosting Institution of the Conference.
- the Hellenic Open University
- the Technological Institute of Western Greece
- the CTI Research Institute
Moreover, Patras is a city where entertainment, history and culture mingle together to create a destination filled with wonderful discoveries.
At the entrance of the city, one of the world mega bridges, the Rio-Antirion Bridge stands impressive, a modern “wonder” worthwhile visiting, which bridges Peloponnese (Southern Greece) to Central and Northern Greece.
The exploration around the city starts from Ag. Nikolaou famous pedestrian street. There, 192 steps await to lead the visitors to the Old City. A romantic stroll around its cobbled streets reveals grand colorful neoclassic mansions, reminders of the city’s glorious past. The exploration continues with the visit of the city’s Medieval Castle, built in the second half of the 6th century A.D. on the ruins of the ancient Acropolis. Its walls enclose an area of about 22 sq.m.; it consists of a triangular external compound enhanced with towers and ramparts which give way to a breathtaking city view.
West of the Acropolis, in the “Áno Póli” (upper city), visitors find Patras Roman Odeum, built earlier than the Athens Odeum (Herodion 160 AD). The geographer Pausanias, who visited Patras in 170 AD, wrote: “It has the most beautiful decoration I have ever seen, excluding of course that of Athens”. The surrounding space is an archaeological area where mosaics, sarcophagi and other ancient findings are displayed. Romantic souls should seek for the city’s landmark, the Lighthouse, in order to enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the port.
A visit to Spinney, the pine-tree-covered hill, the so-called “Veránda” of Patras will certainly uplift the senses. Its specially formed paths and the shade offered by the tall trees make it an ideal place to enjoy leisurely walks, or even go jogging. There visitors can also find a Municipal tourist kiosk from where they can admire a breathtaking view of the city, the port and the Patras Gulf.
In the centre of the city, two historical monuments certainly draw tourists’ attention: St Andrew Church, one of the biggest churches in the Balkans, and “APOLLON” Municipal Theatre, one of the first opera houses in Europe. It was designed in 1972 by the German architect Ernest Ziller. Since 1988 it permanently houses the Patras Municipal Regional Theatre.
Several spots around Patras honour the famous Greek poet Kostis Palamas whose famous statue stands at Ypsilá Alónia Square. The house where Palamas was born houses today the Kostis Palamas Institution. When Palamas moved from Patras to Athens, the Italian Serao family moved in and this is where the Italian writer Matilde Serao was born.
Patras is one of the Greek cities that never sleeps. “Follow its rhythm” is its moto. A morning visit includes walks around the city’s squares: Georgiou, Olgas or “Ypsilá Alónia” (meaning high raising plateau), and the city’s beautifully restored neoclassical buildings. It also includes visit of the city’s museums: the New Archaeological Museum, the Folk Art Museum, or the Museum of History and Ethnology. Visitors can equally discover Patras shopping area, and shop their hearts out! They can enjoy a fine meal and relax at a lounge café. When night sets in, they can observe how the streets of the city are transformed into venues of fun. Patras nightlife awakens.
Exploration of the city can not be completed without a visit to the Achaia Claus winery, which is located on a green hill 8 km south-east to the center of the city. Visitors are impressed by the stone buildings, the huge oak barrels, containing century-old mavrodafni, the traditional wine cellar and the unique scenery with the magnificent view.
Last but not least visitors should pay a visit to the “Wall of Dymaeans”, the unique fortified Mycenaean acropolis in Western Greece, where they can discover a lesser-known, yet major archaeological site, just 35 km southwest of Patras. Wandering through the ancient fort, built according to myth by Heracles, and admiring its imposing towers and monumental gates constitutes a unique experience of the region’s classical spirit!
This wonderful tour of the city of Patras and its surroundings cannot be complete without a visit to nearby world famous archaeological sites, such as Delphi, Olympia and Epidaurus, all of which are just two hours away from Patras, making it possible to visit them on an one-day excursion.