|Patras (Demotic Greek: Πάτρα,is Greece's third largest city and the capital of the prefecture of Achaea, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 kilometers west of Athens. The city is built at the foothills of Mount Panachaikon, overlooking the Gulf of Patras.|
The Patras metropolitan area is a conurbation of nearly 200,000 inhabitants.The core settlement has a history that spans over four millennia. In Roman times it had become a cosmopolitan center of the eastern Mediterranean whilst, according to Christian tradition, it was also the place of Saint Andrew's martyrdom. Dubbed Greece's Gate to the West, Patras is a commercial hub, while its busy port is a nodal point for trade and communication with Italy and the rest of Western Europe. The city has two Public Universities and one Technological Institute, hosting a large student population and rendering Patras a major scientific centre with a field of excellence in technological education. The Rio-Antirio bridge connects Patras' easternmost suburb of Rio to the town of Antirrio, essentially connecting the Peloponnese peninsula with mainland Greece. Every spring, the city hosts one of Europe's largest and most colourful carnivals; notable features of the Patras Carnival include its mammoth-sized satirical floats and its extravagant balls and parades, enjoyed by hundrends of thousands of visitors. The city enjoys a pleasant Mediterranean climate with relatively cool yet humid summers and rather mild winters. The city is also famous for supporting an indigenous cultural scene active mainly in the performing arts and modern urban literature; it was the European Capital of Culture in 2006.