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In the shadow of the castle

A presentation of the castle of Patras and the old neighbourhoods around

Marianthi Abatzi

on 3 April 2016

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Transcript of In the shadow of the castle

A presentation of the Castle of Patras and the old neighbourhoods around
In the shadow of the Castle
by Marianthi Abatzi
The Castle of Patras was built as a fortress on top of a low hill of Panachaikos Mountain a distance of 800m from the coast. It was built during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian around 551 A.C. on the site of the ancient acropolis for the protection of the region and its inhabitants.
The fortress consists of a large outer enclosure reinforced with towers and bastions and an inner enclosure rising on the North East angle also reinforced with strong towers. It is a most remarkable archaeological site revealing traces of various civilizations which flourished in the area through the ages from the antiquity up to the modern era (Franks, Venetians, Turks, Germans).
Today in the Castle there is a small museum containing items related to the history of the castle and a small open-air theatre to host cultural activities such as concerts and theatrical performances.
The Castle
Vlatero - Tritaki
Vlatero- Papa Voria
The word “Vlatero” might have come from:
Either the Latin word “Blattea” or “Blatta” whish meant the red coloured natural material used to dye silk textile.
Or from the Greek word “Valtero” which means “marsh area”
Or from the Italian word “blatero” meaning “talkative”
The most possible seems to be the 1st version because of the mulberry trees cultivated in the area to provide food to the silk worms in the textile factories.
Pandokrator or Tassi
The area was named after the holy church of Pandokrator, which has also given its name to the small square in the center. The name “Tassi” means “assembly”. It comes from the Turkish word “tasser” which means “assemble”. According to another version the name is “Tassi” because it means “metal cup” in the Greek language, something that could be found near there, next to a water clay pot for the passers-by to drink from.
Kritika - Evreomnimata
The “Kritika” neighbourhood was given its name after some Cretans who settled down there.
The Evreomnimata neighbourhood was given its name from the Jewish (Evreo) machala (neighbourhood) and the nearby Jewish cemetery.
The Eastern gate of the Castle is also named “Jewish gate”.
Assirmatos - Eschatovounion
The area was named after the National Radio Station (Assirmatos) installed there in the 1950s.
Before that it was called “Kamares” (arches) due to the architectural style of the Roman aqueduct whose ruins can be seen today.
The End
Kritika or Evreomnimata
or Tsifut machala
In the shadow of the Castle
by Marianthi Abatzi
In the middle of the Southern wall of the castle, inside a square tower, we can see the stone bust of the female sculpture having the head of a bearded male figure, probably part of a different sculpture. This strange stone figure depicted a legend in the eyes of Patras inhabitants through the ages. In was thought to be a sculpture of Zeus, the father of Gods, or Patreas the legendary founder of Patras.
During the Ottoman period, in the thoughts of Patras people, the figure was gradually transformed into a female person given the name “Patrinella” and considered to be the ghost of the castle which was supposed to love and protect the city at hard times.
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