Nekromanteio of Efyra
Undoubtedly one of the most fascinating archaeological sites throughout the country, the Oracle of the Dead or “Nekromanteio” (as it’s referred to in Greek) lies just footsteps from the banks of the Acheron River. Known as the entrance to Hades throughout the ancient world, pilgrims would venture here seeking information about deceased relatives and loved ones. Getting answers wasn’t easy, and visitors were forced to endure a series of tests that involved seclusion within dark rooms, adhering to a strict diet consisting of shellfish, beans and pork fat, as well as drinking the blood of animal sacrifices. After some time, the near solitary confinement combined with this meager diet led the visitor to experience semi-starvation and hallucinations. Only then were they deemed ready by the priests to hear the answers from the underworld. In order to keep what they heard a mystery, repeating whatever was told by the oracle was considered blasphemy and was punishable by death.
Commissioned by Emperor Octavian Augustus Caesar to commemorate his victory over the forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC, the remains of this walled city are located just 7 kilometres from Preveza. During its most prosperous period, more than 150,000 inhabitants resided within its walls. Important figures made their mark here, such as the philosopher Epictetus who built a school and the apostle Paul who visited briefly. However, it was sacked by the Goths in 267 AD and though the emperor Justinian refortified the walls in 540 AD, it never experienced its former glory again. Today the impressive site includes the remains of theatres, aqueducts, baths, temples to both Ares and Poseidon as well as a well-preserved odeon. A recently-built museum housing various artefacts found within the city’s walls is located next to the site.
he remains of an ancient city built by the tribe of the Kassopians is a fascinating place for visitors to explore. Located below the mountain of Zalogo, parts of the city’s walls and gates as well as fragments of private residences are still standing and offer a unique picture of what life was like more than two and a half millennia before. Not only is the site itself intriguing, but the view of the Ambracian Gulf and Ionian Sea are an added bonus.
Monument of Zalogo
This large monument is a powerful and moving tribute to the mass suicide of women and children from the village of Souli more than 200 years ago. During the Greek War of Independence against the Turks, rebel fighters lost a battle not far from this site, and the fleeing women and children were caught between the mountains and the opposing forces. Choosing death over enslavement or worse, the mothers took their children’s hands and jumped over the cliffs. Today this monument showing stone figures of women and children stands under Mount Zalongo near the ancient site of Kassopi.