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A central feature of the urban geography of Patras is its division into upper and lower sections.
This is the result of an interplay between natural geography and human settlement patterns; the lower section of the city (Kato Poli), which includes the 19th-century urban core and the port, is adjacent to the sea and stretches between the estuaries of the rivers of Glafkos and Haradros.
It is built on what was originally a bed of river soils and dried-up swamps.
The older upper section (Ano Poli) covers the area of the pre-modern settlement, around the Fortress, on what is the last elevation of Mount Panachaikon (1,926 m (6,319 ft)) before the Gulf of Patras.
) is Greece's third-largest city and the regional capital of Western Greece, in the northern Peloponnese, 215 km (134 mi) west of Athens.
The city is built at the foothills of Mount Panachaikon, overlooking the Gulf of Patras. The core settlement has a history spanning four millennia; in the Roman period 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.
Patras is also famous for supporting an indigenous cultural scene active mainly in the performing arts and modern urban literature. Patras is 215 km (134 mi) west of Athens by road, 94 km (58 mi) northeast of Pyrgos, 7 kilometres (4 miles) south of Rio, 134 km (83 miles) west of Corinth, 77 km (48 miles) northwest of Kalavryta, and 144 km (89 mi) northwest of Tripoli.
Though Mehmet granted the city special privileges and tax reductions, it never became a major centre of commerce.
Venice and Genoa attacked and captured it several times in the 15th and 16th centuries, but never re-established their rule effectively, except for a period of Venetian rule in 1687–1715.
On June 15, 1995, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit the nearby town of Aigion, also causing some structural damage to a few buildings in Patras.
The Ionian Islands are also frequently hit by even more severe earthquakes, some of which can be felt in the city.