Achaea (//) or Achaia (//), sometimes transliterated from Greek as Akhaia (Αχαΐα, Akhaïa [axaˈia]), is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Western Greece and is situated in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. The capital is Patras which is the third largest city in Greece.
|• Total||3,272 km2 (1,263 sq mi)|
|• Total||296,945 |
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
25x xx, 26x xx
|Area codes||261, 269x|
|ISO 3166 code||GR-13|
|Car plates||ΑΖ, AX|
Achaea is bordered by Elis to the west and southwest, Arcadia to the south, and Corinthia to the east and southeast. The Gulf of Corinth lies to its northeast, and the Gulf of Patras to its northwest. The mountain Panachaiko (1926 m), though not the highest of Achaea, dominates the coastal area near Patras. Higher mountains are found in the south, such as Aroania (2341 m) and Erymanthos (2224 m). Other mountain ranges in Achaea are Skollis, Omplos, Kombovouni and Movri. Its main rivers ordered from west to east are the Larissos, Tytheus, Peiros, Charadros, Selinountas and Vouraikos. Most of the forests are in the mountain ranges, though several are in the plains including the extreme west. There are grasslands around the mid-elevation areas and barren lands in the highest areas.
Achaea has hot summers and mild winters. Sunny days dominate during the summer months in areas near the coast, while the summer can be cloudy and rainy in the mountains. Snow is very common during the winter in the mountains of Erymanthos, Panachaiko and Aroania. Winter high temperatures are around the 10 °C mark throughout the low-lying areas.
The regional unit Achaea is subdivided into 5 municipalities. These are (number as in the map in the infobox):
As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the regional unit Achaea was created out of the former prefecture Achaea (Greek: Νομός Αχαΐας). The prefecture had the same territory as the present regional unit. At the same time, the municipalities were reorganised, according to the table below.
|New municipality||Old municipalities||Seat|
Note: Provinces no longer hold any legal status in Greece.
The Achaean League was a Hellenistic-era confederation of city states in Achaea, founded in 280/281 BC. It later grew until it included most of Peloponnese, much reducing the Macedonian rule in the area.
After Macedon's defeat by the Romans in the early 2nd century BC, the League was able to finally defeat a heavily weakened Sparta and take control of the entire Peloponnese. However, as the Roman influence in the area grew, the league erupted into an open revolt against Roman domination, in what is known as Achaean War. The Achaeans were defeated at the Battle of Corinth (146 BC), and the League was dissolved by the Romans.
In AD 51/52, Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus was proconsul of Achaea, and is portrayed (under the name "Gallio") in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, in the Bible, as presiding over the trial of the Apostle Paul in Corinth (Acts 18:12–17).
Achaea remained a province of the Byzantine Empire after the fall of the western Roman Empire. In the 6th and 7th centuries, Slavs invaded the Peloponnese, and settled in parts of Achaea as well. By the 9th century, the whole peninsula was under Byzantine control again. However, after the Fourth Crusade several new crusader states were founded in Greece. One of these was the Principality of Achaea, founded in 1205, which like the Roman province covered a much larger area than traditional Achaea. Achaea was recaptured by the Byzantine Empire by 1430, and became part of the Despotate of the Morea.
The Despotate of the Morea fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1460. As a part of the Morean War, the Republic of Venice captured Achaea in 1687 and held it until 1715, when the Ottomans recaptured the Peloponnese. Under Ottoman rule, Achaea was part of the Morea Eyalet.
In the Greek War of Independence, Aigio was one of the first cities to be liberated by the Greeks and all of Achaea was liberated by the end of 1821. Achaea produced several heroes including Kanaris, Zaimis and Roufos and prime ministers of Greece including Andreas Michalakopoulos as well as some head of states.
In the first administrative subdivision of independent Greece, Achaea was part of the Achaea and Elis Prefecture. This was divided into the prefectures of Achaea and Elis in 1899. Achaea and Elis were reunited in 1909, and split again in 1930.
Achaea saw an influx of refugees that arrived from Asia Minor during the Greco Turkish War of 1919-1922. Tens of thousands were relocated to their camps in the suburbs of Patras and a few villages mainly within the coastline. One of the camps was named Prosfygika.
Achaea today has about one-third of the population of the Peloponnese. Patras, the capital of Achaea, is the third largest city in Greece, behind Athens and Thessaloniki. Two-thirds of the Achaean population live near Patras, and more than half within the city limits. The main industrial areas are around Patras.
The main cities and towns of Achaea are (ranked by 2011 census population):
The mountain hosts the most modern Greek telescope, named Aristarchus (after the ancient Greek astronomer - Aristarchus of Samos) and operated by the National Observatory of Athens. A narrow gauge railway track runs for 30 km, mainly as a tourist attraction. The track begins near Kalavryta and ends off Diakopto.
Patras is one of the main industrial and commerce centers in Greece. Temeni is a place where the spring water Avra (Άυρα) is manufactured. It is owned by Tria Epsilon, a division of The Coca-Cola Company and a parent. There is a small oil refinery near Rio. Athenian brewery has the largest production facility of the company in Patra.
Intercity bus transport is provided by KTEL Achaias. The main bus terminal is in the city of Patras.
The main highways are:
There are two skiing resorts, one on the Panachaicus west of the mountain top (elevation around 1700 m) east of Patras, it will be Nafpaktos's closest because of the new bridge (mid-2004) and the other on Aroania, sometimes still called Chelmos, near Kalavrita. It is Kalavrita's closest resort.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Achaea.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article "Achaea".|