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Preveza (Municipality, Greece)


Last modified: 2015-08-10 by ivan sache
Keywords: preveza | zalongo | louros |
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[Municipal flag]

Flag of Preveza - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 15 December 2014

See also:

Presentation of Preveza

The municipality of Preveza (31,733 inhabitants in 2011; 38,160 ha) was formed in the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities of Louros (Λούρος, 5,270 inh.), Preveza (22,853 inh.), and Zalongo (Ζάλογγο, 5,043 inh.).

In antiquity, the area of Preveza was inhabited by the Greek tribe of the Cassopeans, part of larger tribe of the Thesprotians. Near the site of modern Preveza in 290 BC King Pyrrhus of Epirus founded the town of Berenikea or Berenike, named after his mother-in-law Berenice I of Egypt. The Ambracian Gulf near Berenikea was the site of the naval Battle of Actium, on 2 September 31 BC, in which Octavian's (later Augustus) forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Queen Cleopatra of Egypt. Ancient Nicopolis (Νικόπολις, "Victory City") was built nearby by Augustus to commemorate his victory, and today it is believed that at its peak it had a total population of 150,000.
Nicopolis continued under Roman and later Byzantine rule, experiencing brief periods of Bulgarian rule in the 10th century. After 1204, it came under the Despotate of Epirus (1204-1230, 1241-1338, 1356-1358), the Second Bulgarian Empire (1230-1241), the Serbian Empire (1348-1356), and the Despotate of Arta (1358-1401). It then came under Venetian rule until captured by the Ottomans.
The Ottomans refounded Preveza probably in 1477, with a subsequent strengthening of the fortifications in 1495. The naval Battle of Preveza was fought off the shores of Preveza in 29 September 1538, where the Ottoman fleet of Hayreddin Barbarossa defeated a united Christian fleet under the Genoese captain Andrea Doria. In September 1684, at the early part of the Morean War, the Venetians, aided by Greek irregulars, crossed from the island of Lefkada (Santa Maura) and captured Preveza as well as Vonitsa, which gave them control of Acarnania. At the end of the war in 1699 Preveza was handed back to Ottoman rule. Venice captured Preveza again in 1717. Venetian rule would persist until the very end of the Venetian Republic itself in 1797.

Following the Treaty of Campo Formio, where Napoléon Bonaparte decreed the final dissolution of the Venetian Republic, Preveza, like other Venetian possessions in Greece and Albania, was ceded to Revolutionary France. In October 1798, the local Ottoman governor Ali Pasha Tepelena attacked Preveza with an overwhelming force. In the Battle of Nicopolis on 12 October 1798, the 7,000 Turkish and Albanian troops of Ali Pasha and his son Mukhtar completely overwhelmed the 280 French grenadiers and their local allies, 200 Preveza Civil Guards and 60 Souliote warriors under Captain Christakis. Over the next two days, 13-14 October 1798, a major massacre of the French troops and the local Greek population which defended the city took place in Preveza and Port Salaora. The so-called "Destruction of Preveza" (Χαλασμός της Πρέβεζας) is still remembered as a notorious event in Greek history. From 1798 to 1820, Preveza was under the semi-independent rule of Ali Pasha Tepelena. Following his death in 1822 at Ioannina, Preveza was more directly controlled from Istanbul. Preveza became the seat of the Sanjak of Preveze in 1863. According to the treaty of Berlin in 1878 Preveza was to be ceded by the Ottoman Empire to the Kingdom of Greece, but the Albanian League of Prizren strongly objected to the Greek positions. The "Assembly of Preveza" organised by the League of Prizren resolved to create lobbying committees to prevent the Ottoman Empire from ceding Epirus to Greece. On 28 February 1879, forty-nine delegates representing the Albanian population of the Ottoman Empire signed a petition in Preveza, with a threat to take arms to prevent an annexation of Preveza to Greece. In the event, Albanian protests prevailed and only Arta was ceded to Greece, leaving Preveza and the rest of Epirus under the Ottoman Empire for the time being. The city of Preveza remained under Ottoman control until finally taken by the Greek Army on 21 October 1912, during the First Balkan War. Preveza along with the rest of southern Epirus formally became part of Greece via the Treaty of London in 1913.

Along with the rest of Greece, Preveza was occupied by Fascist Italy (1941-1943) and Nazi Germany (1943-1944) during World War II. After the departure of the Wehrmacht from Preveza, in September 1944, an episode of the Greek Civil War known as the Battle of Preveza took place, lasting for 16 days, between armed partisans of the right-wing EDES and the left-wing EAM-ELAS.

Olivier Touzeau, 15 December 2014

Flag of Preveza

The flag of Preveza (Kokkonis website) is blue with the emblem of the municipality in ochre.

Olivier Touzeau, 15 December 2014

Former municipality of Louros

[Municipal flag]

Former flag of Louros - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 5 May 2014

The town and municipal unit are named after river Louros. Its flag (Kokkonis website) was white with the municipal emblem.

Olivier Touzeau, 5 May 2014

Former municipality of Zalongo

[Municipal flag]

Former flag of Zalongo - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 1 October 2013

The seat of the municipality of Zalongo was in Kanali (Κανάλι). Nearby is the 18th century Zalongo Monastery, immortalized by the defiant mass suicide of a group of Souliot women in 1803. During the Souliot War in December 1803, the Souliotes began evacuating Souli after their defeat by the forces of the local Ottoman-Albanian ruler, Ali Pasha. During the evacuation, a small group of Souliot women and their children were trapped by Ali Pasha's troops in the mountains of Zalongo. In order to avoid capture and enslavement, the women threw their children first and then themselves off a steep cliff, committing suicide. According to the legend, they jumped down the precipice one after the other while singing and dancing.

The former flag of Zalongo (Kokkonis website) was white with the municipality's emblem and its name beneath. The emblem features the monument commemorating the suicide of the Souliot women, on the cliff above the sea.

Olivier Touzeau, 1 October 2013