The Bridge of Arta was built under Ottoman rule in the first decade of the 1600s, but, according to some historical records, this is the third bridge built here: the first during the Roman period, then again in the mid 1200s when the city became the capital of the Despotate of Epirus.
From the annexation of Arta in 1881 until the outbreak of the First Balkan War in 1912, the highest point of the bridge was the border between the Ottoman Empire and the then Kingdom of Greece.
There is a well-known fable that 45 Masons and 60 apprentices, under the leadership of a Master Mason, toiled to build the bridge by day but the foundations would collapse by night.
Finally, a talking bird informed him that he would need to sacrifice his wife for the bridge to remain standing.
As she was being buried alive in the foundations, she cursed the bridge to tremble like a leaf and that those who cross it to likewise fall like leaves.
However, when she is reminded that her brother is overseas and might cross the bridge, she changes her curse so as to become a blessing: "As the tall mountains tremble, so shall the bridge tremble, and as the birds of prey fall, so shall passers fall".
You will hear this fable often repeated by the locals, some of whom I suspect believe it is the literal truth.
Regardless, it is a beautiful structure over a very wide river, and worth a visit if you are ever in the area.
By Jim Karabatsos.