Parga (Greek: Πάργα [ˈpaɾɣa]) is a town and municipality located in the northwestern part of the regional unit of Preveza in Epirus, northwestern Greece. The seat of the municipality is the village Kanallaki. Parga lies on the Ionian coast between the cities of Preveza and Igoumenitsa. It is a resort town known for its natural environment.
In antiquity the area was inhabited by the Greek tribe of the Thesprotians. The ancient town of Toryne was probably located here.
Parga itself is mentioned for the first time in 1318; the name is most likely of Slavic origin. Two years later, the town and its sugarcane plantation proceeds were unsuccessfully offered by Nicholas Orsini, the Despot of Epirus, to the Republic of Venice in exchange for Venetian aid against the Byzantine Empire. During the Epirote rebellion of 1338/39 against the Byzantine emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos, Parga remained loyal to the emperor. In the 1390s it was under the rule of John Spata, lord of Arta.
The town finally passed under Venetian control in 1401, and was administered as a mainland exclave of the Venetian possession of Corfu, under a castellan. Venetian possession was confirmed in the Ottoman–Venetian treaty of 1419. Apart from brief periods of Ottoman possession, the town remained in Venetian hands until the Fall of the Republic of Venice in 1797.
In 1815, with the fortunes of the French failing, the citizens of Parga revolted against French rule and sought the protection of the British. In 1819, the British sold the city to Ali Pasha of Ioannina, and from him it passed under Ottoman rule.
Ottoman rule in Parga and the rest of Epirus was ended in 1913 following the victory of Greece in the Balkan Wars.
The Castle of Parga
The Castle is found on the top of a hill overlooking the town and was used to protect the town from invasions from the mainland and the sea. It was initially built in the 11th century by the residents of Parga to protect their town from pirates and the Ottomans. In the 13th century, as their control of the region increased, the Venetians rebuilt the castle to fortify the area. In 1452, Parga and the castle were occupied by the Ottomans for two years; part of the castle was demolished at that time. In 1537, Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa burned and destroyed the fortress and the houses within.
Before the reconstruction of the castle in 1572 by the Venetians, the Turks demolished it once again. The Venetians rebuilt it for the third and last time creating a stronger fortress that stayed impregnable until 1819, despite attacks, especially by Ali Pasha of Ioannina. Provisions for the castle were transported via two bays at Valtos and Pogonia. When Parga was sold to the Ottomans, Ali Pasha made structural additions to the castle, including a Turkish bath and his harem quarters which he built at the top of the fortress. On the arched gate at the wall of the castle entrance, the winged lion of Agios Markos is visible. Other entrance details include, the name “ANTONIO BERVASS 1764”, emblems of Ali Pasha, two-headed eagles and related inscriptions.
The city of Parga, built amphitheatrically, stands between the mountainous coastal region of Preveza and Igoumenitsa. It is known as the “Bride of Epirus”. In the summer, tourists arrive from Paxos, Antipaxos, and Corfu by boat.