Municipality of Amphilochia

Amphilochia is the capital of the Valtos province and the seat of the municipality. The city covers an area of 390,597 acres and features a population of 12,834. The city is characterized as semi-mountainous since 49% of its area is mountain and 51% hills. Amphilochia is located 314km away from Athens and is a key traffic point of western Greece, since all directed towards Ioannina, Corfu, Lefkada or Arta and coming from south and central Greece pass through the region.

By 1907, Amphilochia was known as Karvasaras from the Turkish "Caravan-Seraglio" which means caravan station. Liberation from the Turks came in 1829, and the settlement was recognized as a community in 1836. In 1907 it was renamed Amphilochia and in 1946 it was recognized as a municipality. The first inhabitants of the town settled in the outskirts of mount Platos, in the western part of town, coming in just before the revolution of 1821 from the now deserted medieval village of Amvrakia, located 2km west of the northern shore of Lake Amvrakia. The village of Amvrakia was destroyed in 1825.


The nowadays deserted village of Amvrakia was built in the 9th century BC from residents of Limnaia, who moved to the region to escape the frequent pirate raids. Amvrakia under Turkish rule was the capital of Kaza or otherwise known as the vilayet of Valtos. In 1684, Amvrakia and the church of Panagia Amvrakiotissa were destroyed by the Pasha of Arta. The church and the village were rebuilt after 5 years by residents who returned from Limnaia. In 1692 Yusuf Pasha, during a raid in Valtos, was defeated in Amvrakikos bay by Anastasios Metaxas, senior inspector of Xiromero and Valtos, and thus the village was saved. The notable John Gerothanasis erected in 1821 in Amvrakia the flag of revolution. The capital of Kaza Valtos was abandoned following a fire in 1826 set by the Turks and Albanians as a reprisal for the participation of Amvrakia in the siege of Messolonghi. The Virgin Mary church however was preserved and now stands among the ruins. In the courtyard of the church survives the stone on which St. Kosmas of Aetolia stood on July 1778 and declared the Divine reason. The late president of the Historical-Archaeological Society Agrinio Thomas Bokoros had called Amvrakia, the Mystra of Acarnania.


The city of Amphilochia combines a rich historical heritage and contemporary cultural activity. The surviving walls of the ancient citadel of the lake, in the southeast of the city and 2km from the center, are the definite evidence of habitation and strong growth in the region. Thucydides mentions Limnaia when recounting the Spartan campaign in westa d central Greece during the Peloponnesian War. At the time, 429 BC, Limnaia was still without walls. Subsequent information comes from Polybius in 251 BC, when Philip V, father of Perseus, campaigned against Thermo and passed from Limnaia; the city at the time featured a strong defensive wall. In the 14th century, during the Byzantine period and Venetian rule, the ancient castle was inhabited and was known as Valtos, as mentioned by John Kantakouzinos. The acropolis was connected with the sea through an 800m underground passage which was, unfortunately, partially destroyed in April 1944, during a 2nd World War bombardment.

Amphilochikon Argos

The capital of the ancient state of Amphilochia was Amphilochikon Argos and was above the southeast part of Amvrakikos bay, by the river Inahos. In mythology it was a colony of the Peloponnesian Argos, founded after the fall of Ilion by fugitives from Argos under Amphilochius or his brother Alkmaion, sons of Amfiaraos, who named the city after their hometown. There is also a possibility the ancient seaside valley was already called Argos since its occupation by the residents of neighboring Amvrakia, which was a Corinthian colony. In the region settled both Amphilochians and Acarnanians with a close relationship between them. It was during that time that the public court residing in the Olpes, an ancient city near the present village Buka of Agrilovouni, was appointed to resolve disputes. There is no extensive knowledge of the history of Amphilochikon Argos and Amphilochia during the 4th and 3rd century BC.

During the late 3rd century BC Amphilochikon Argos and Amphilochia belonged to the Aetolian League. Around 190 BC Amphilochia was occupied by Philip III, but remained under Macedonian rule for a short period, since it was liberated in 189 BC by the Aetolian general Nicander and reunited with the Aetolian League. Amphilochikon Argos and Amphilochia remained in the Aetolian League until 167 BC when they defected, probably having formed their own autonomous political community. After the foundation of Nicopolis by Octavian Augustus, in commemoration of their victory in 31 BC in Aktion, Amphilochikon Argos and Amphilochia declined and was deserted because their inhabitants were forced to move to a new city. Amphilochikon Argos was protected by strong walls reinforced with towers, whose ruins can still be seen in many places, like the hill of Liba, where Leake places the Acropolis of the city. Many coins of Amphilochikon Argos are saved, dating from the 4th century BC; they are of Corinthian stater type and depict the mythical winged horse Pegasus.


Reported by Thucydides in his recounting of the battle of Amphilochikon Argos at 426 BC. Given the strategic nature of their position, Krines might have been a large military outpost instead of a civilian settlement.


Approximately 4km from Kechrinia on the road to Kanalo, there was yet another town called Belichriniassa. In the area stand preserved citadel walls, a circular tank and many graves that can be found outside the walls.


Roughly 1km the west of Bouka settlement is the hill of Olpes. According to Thucydides, this was the place where the walled Acarnanian Public Court was standing.