Arta, located at the site of ancient Ambrakia on the river Arachthos, was the capital of the Despotate of Epiros starting in 1205. Its history is unclear before the 11th century. In the 12th century, it was an important trade center frequented by Venetians and an archbishopric. The fortifications of the acropolis have been attributed to Michael I Komnenos Doukas, but in their present state they are largely post-Byzantine and its palace has vanished completely. The Chronicle of the Tocco describes Arta as the center of a fertile agricultural region with many water buffaloes, cows, and horses; merchants from Venice and Dubrovnik competed for the market of Arta, which supplied dried meat, lard, ham, furs, and indigo. Arta was attacked by the empire of Nicaea and fell briefly in 1259 to Nicaean troops. The restored empire continued these assaults: Andronikos II attacked Arta unsuccessfully, but in 1338 Andronikos III took it. After a rebellion led by Nikephoros Basilakes, the city surrendered to John Kantakouzenos. Afterwards Arta changed hands many times: it was conquered by Stefan Urog IV Dugan, then passed to the Albanians, and in 1416 to Carlo I Tocco. It fell to the Ottomans in 1449.