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LARISSA

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GENERAL INFORMATION

The prefecture of Larissa is the largest of the geographical district of Thessaly, and Larissa, its capital city, the fourth largest city in Greece with a population of 130000 people, is an important center of trade, industry and agriculture. Larissa is bordered by extremes; the North is dominated by the imposing presence of Mount Olympus, while to the South and Southwest lies the great plain of Thessaly, the largest in Greece, a gold-green image which gently fades into the deep blue expanse of the Aegean Sea. Few regions match Larissa in this remarkable combination of economical prowess and natural beauty.  

 

HISTORY-CULTURE

Few places are as richly gifted with remains of the early stages of mankind as is Larissa. The entire route of the river Pinios has proven to be a limitless reserve of findings of the prehistoric era. In this haven for archaeologists and paleontologists, countless tools made of stone or bone, human or animal skeletical material, crude pottery and remains of housing foundations have been unearthed systematically. As the Greek civilization began to develop, the first cities in the region emerged, and Larissa became a considerable political power during the bronze and the early iron age. The Lapithian tribe flourished here, and contributed to unified Greek military force which was sent to Troy.  As history entered into the classical and hellenistic periods, this power was gradually dimmed by the luster of the great Greek hegemonies which emerged in Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and finally in Macedonia. A long period of subjugation to foreigners began with the Roman conquest, was briefly interrupted by the presence of emperors of Greek origin on the Byzantine throne, and was followed by even darker days when, after long eons of barbarian raids, Franks, and then Turks, took control of the region. During these troubled times, the population gradually receded to the mountains in search of security, where it developed strong coalitions, some of which enjoyed the status of autonomy during Turkish rule. The village of Ambelakia flourished in the late 18th and in the early 19th century, an era when it had established the powerful trade of red-dyed silk, which came to number some 6000 agents all over Europe. This prosperity led to a policy of social welfare that can rarely be matched either in that or in any other period and which included free medical care and the distribution of food to the poor. Larissa was finally liberated in 1881, with the exception of Elassona, which had to wait until 1912 to reunite with the rest of Greece.   

 

SIGHTS

Archaeological findings and monuments representing every stage of human civilization and each phase of the Greek history can be seen in Larissa. Within the city of Larissa itself there are the two ancient theatres, the Byzantine fortress ?built upon the remains of its far more ancient predecessors- on top of the hill of St. Achilles, the grave and the monument of the father of medicine Hippocrates, two basilicas of the paleochristian era (4th and 6th century AD), the ruins of the ancient city, along with many more impressive constructs of more recent times. Numerous historical monuments can be seen all across the expanse of the prefecture, including ancient cities and temples such as ancient Kerkinion and the prehistoric fortress in Kastri, medieval castles, churches and monasteries such as the Byzantine castle in Skiti, and fortified mansions of the 17th and the 18th century, many of which have secret holds for storing supplies, weapons, and ammunition. But though the prefecture is rich in the works of man, these are but trivialities compared to the wonders nature has done in this land. The beaches and the seaside villages, some built on the hillsides with an uninterrupted view to the Aegean Sea, are charming. The small valley of Tembi, where the river Pinios crosses through a narrow, densely forested passage between the steep cliffs of Mt. Ossa and Mt. Olympus, is enchanting. The landscape of Mt. Olympus is simply breathtaking, as if its every last corner is intent upon justifying the choice of our ancient Forefathers to make this place the capital of their Pantheon.     

 

ENTERTAINMENT-SPORTS-SHOPPING

There is no form of entertainment that can be sought within the city of Larissa without meeting satisfaction. Cafes, bars, night clubs, bouzouki halls, elegant restaurants, traditional taverns, theatres, cinemas, and a large market, are all available. Accommodations can be found in many hotels within the city, while many more hotels along with numerous rooms for rent are available in the smaller towns and villages. Tyrnavos, Elassona and Pharsala are large peripheral centers with extensive entertainment facilities and local markets, while traditional taverns in the smaller villages hold the true essence of the local cuisine. The sports opportunities are limitless, as organized beaches are less than two hours distant from the skiing resorts and base camps for those who wish to climb to the peaks of the Mt. Olympus, home of the Olympian Gods, or Mt. Ossa (Kissavos), the base of their defeated rivals in the war for cosmic dominance, the great Titans.     

 

ACCESS

A dense road network and a railway station render Larissa one of the most easily accessible destinations on the Greek mainland.

 

CONNECTIONS

Buses connect Larissa with most capital cities of mainland Greece such as Athens, Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Trikala, Karditsa, Volos, Lamia, Grevena, Katerini, and Kozani. The train can lead to Athens or Thessaloniki, from where any destination can be reached with ease. Situated virtually in the middle of the North-South route, Larissa serves as a crossroads for those making this journey or for those who wish to turn to the West.

 

MUSEUMS

The archaeological museum in Larissa exhibits items ranging all the way from the Paleolithic age to the Byzantine era. Larissa also hosts a rich folk art collection and an impressive art gallery, second in importance only to the one in Athens. The historical and folk art museum in Ambelakia, housed within the renovated mansion of the Molas family, has a collection of everyday and traditional items of the past three centuries. The archaeological collection in Agia is accompanied by a library with more than 2000 rare tomes and handwritten archives and documents, many of which date as far back as the 18th century. Elassona hosts a museum of natural history.  

 

ALTERNATIVE TOURISM

Rural, educational, cultural-historical, congress, agrotourism, ecotourism, archaeology, gastronomy, sporting (mountain climbing, trekking, jeep safari, mountain bike, horse riding, canyoning, rafting, canoe-kayak, monoraft, ski, snowboard, windsurfing, water ski).

 

USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS:

LARISSA AREA CODE:  2410-

POLICE STATION: 2410-683137

TRAFFIC POLICE : 2410-683169-9

TELECOMMUNICATIONS ORG.: 2410-626299, 995301

MUNICIPALITY: 2410-564200

POST OFFICE: 2410-256144

TAXI STATION : 2410-661414

HOSPITAL: 2410-230031-4

PHARMACIES: 2410-535973, 258681

BUS STATION: 2410-537737

 

 

 

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THESSALY LARISSATHESSALY LARISSATHESSALY LARISSATHESSALY LARISSA
THESSALY LARISSATHESSALY LARISSATHESSALY LARISSATHESSALY LARISSA
THESSALY LARISSATHESSALY LARISSA
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