Larissa is the capital and largest city of Thessaly region of Greece and capital of the Larissa regional unit. It is a principal agricultural centre and a national transportation hub, linked by road and rail with the port of Volos, the city of Thessaloniki and Athens. Larissa, within its municipality, has 162,591 inhabitants, while the regional unit of Larissa reached a population of 284,325 (in 2011). The urban area of the city, although mostly contained within the Larissa municipality, also includes the communities of Giannouli, Platykambos, Nikaia, Terpsithea and several other suburban settlements, bringing the wider urban area population of the city to about 220,000 inhabitants. Today, Larissa is a major commercial and industrial centre in Greece. Legend has it that Achilles was born here, and that Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, died here.
Larisa is a modern city with beautiful squares, neighborhoods and parks, along with numerous commercial shops and many options as far as food and entertainment are concerned. It is said that the city has more than 1600 cafeterias (!) and is sometimes called as "the city of coffee". But except for relaxing and drinking coffee, you should spend some time on sightseeing.
On the hill of St Achilles is the Acropolis and at Kyprou street the basilica ruins. On the southern slope of the hill fort lies the ancient theater A and at the point where Ergatikis Protomagias street meets with Velissariou street, is the Ancient Theater B, both of which are worth visiting.
Visit the river Peneus, the Alcazar park and the monument of Hippocrates. Also go to the region Tampakika where you'll have the chance to admire beautiful old houses and buildings.
After you finish with the city center of Larissa, organize trips to the coastal settlements with the beautiful beaches or to the inner mountainous villages with the rich history and cultural tradition. The ski lovers can take the route to Vrissopoules from where they can easily access the Olympus ski center.Traces of Paleolithic human settlement have been recovered from the area, but it was peripheral to areas of advanced culture. The area around Larissa was extremely fruitful; it was agriculturally important and in antiquity was known for its horses.
The name Larissa (Λάρισα Lárīsa) is in origin a Pelasgian (pre-Greek) word for "fortress". There were many ancient Greek cities with this name. The name of Thessalian Larissa is first recorded in connection with the aristocratic Aleuadai family.
Larissa is thought to be where the famous Greek physician Hippocrates and the famous philosopher Gorgias of Leontini died.
When Larissa ceased minting the federal coins it shared with other Thessalian towns and adopted its own coinage in the late 5th century BC, it chose local types for its coins. The obverse depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named; probably the choice was inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. Usually there is a male figure; he should perhaps be seen as the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos, who is probably also to be identified on many of the earlier, federal coins of Thessaly.
Larissa, sometimes written Larisa on ancient coins and inscriptions, is near the site of the Homeric Argissa. It appears in early times, when Thessaly was mainly governed by a few aristocratic families, as an important city under the rule of the Aleuadae, whose authority extended over the whole district of Pelasgiotis. This powerful family possessed for many generations before 369 BC the privilege of furnishing the tagus, the local term for the strategos of the combined Thessalian forces. The principal rivals of the Aleuadae were the Scopadac of Crannon, the remains of which are about 14 miles south west.
Larissa was indeed the birthplace of Meno, who thus became, along with Xenophon and a few others, one of the generals leading several thousands Greeks from various places, in the ill-fated expedition of 401 (retold in Xenophon's Anabasis) meant to help Cyrus the Younger, son of Darius II, king of Persia, overthrow his elder brother Artaxerxes II and take over the throne of Persia (Meno is featured in Plato's dialogue bearing his name, in which Socrates uses the example of "the way to Larissa" to help explain Meno the difference between true opinion and science (Meno, 97a–c) ; this "way to Larissa" might well be on the part of Socrates an attempt to call to Meno's mind a "way home", understood as the way toward one's true and "eternal" home reached only at death, that each man is supposed to seek in his life).
The constitution of the town was democratic, which explains why it sided with Athens in the Peloponnesian War. In the neighbourhood of Larissa was celebrated a festival which recalled the Roman Saturnalia, and at which the slaves were waited on by their masters. As the chief city of ancient Thessaly, Larissa was taken by the Thebans and later directly annexed by Philip II of Macedon in 344. It remained under Macedonian control afterwards, except for a brief period when Demetrius Poliorcetes captured it in 302 BC.
It was in Larissa that Philip V of Macedon signed in 197 BC a treaty with the Romans after his defeat at the Battle of Cynoscephalae, and it was there also that Antiochus III the Great, won a great victory in 192 BC. In 196 BC Larissa became an ally of Rome and was the headquarters of the Thessalian League.
Larissa is frequently mentioned in connection with the Roman civil wars which preceded the establishment of the Roman Empire and Pompey sought refuge there after the defeat of Pharsalus.
Larissa was sacked by the Ostrogoths in the late 5th century, and rebuilt under the Byzantine emperor Justinian I.
In the 8th century, the city became the metropolis of the theme of Hellas. The city was captured in 986 by Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria, who carried off the relics of its patron saint, Saint Achilleios, to Prespa. It was again unsuccessfully besieged by the Normans under Bohemond I in 1082/3.
After the Fourth Crusade, the King of Thessalonica, Boniface of Montferrat, gave the city to Lombard barons, but they launched a rebellion in 1209 that had to be subdued by the Latin Emperor Henry of Flanders himself. The city was recovered by Epirus soon after.
It was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1386/87 and again in the 1390s, but only came under permanent Ottoman control in 1423, by Turahan Bey. Under Ottoman rule, the city was known as Yeni-şehir i-Fenari, "new citadel". As the chief town and military base of Ottoman Thessaly, Larissa was a predominantly Muslim city. The town was noted for its trade fair in the 17th and 18th centuries, while the seat of the pasha of Thessaly was also transferred there in 1770. The city remained in Ottoman hands until Thessaly became part of the independent Greek kingdom in 1881, except for a period where Ottoman forces re-occupied it during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897.
In the 19th century, there was a small village in the outskirts of town very unusually inhabited by Africans from the Sudan, a curious remnant of the forces collected by Ali Pasha. In the 19th century, the town produced leather, cotton, silk and tobacco. Fevers and agues were prevalent owing to bad drainage and the overflowing of the river; and the death-rate was higher than the birth rate.[dubious – discuss] It was also renowned for the minarets of its mosques (four of which were still in use in the early part of the 20th century) and the Muslim burial grounds.
Modern Greek era
Larissa was the headquarters of Hursid Pasha during the Greek War of Independence. In 1881, the city, along with the rest of Thessaly, was incorporated into the Kingdom of Greece. A considerable portion of the Turkish population emigrated into the Ottoman Empire at that point. During the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, the city was the headquarters of Greek Crown Prince Constantine. The flight of the Greek army from here to Farsala took place on April 23, 1897. Turkish troops entered the city two days later. After a treaty for peace was signed, they withdrew and Larissa remained permanently in Greece. This was followed by a further exodus of Turks in 1898.
There are a number of highways including E75 and the main railway from Athens to Thessaloniki (Salonika) crossing through Thessaly. The region is directly linked to the rest of Europe through the International Airport of Central Greece located in Nea Anchialos a short distance from Larissa. Larissa lies on the river Pineios.
The Larissa Chasma, a deep gash in the surface of Dione, a natural satellite of Saturn, was named after Larissa.
- Municipal Odeon of Larissa
- Mylos of Pappa Theatre
- Thessalian Theatre - Municipal Theatre of Larissa
- Ancient Theatre A' and B'
- Hippokrates Monument
- Fortress Hill & Ancient Agora
- Municipal Gallery of Larissa
- Historical and Folklore Museum of Larissa
- Archaeological & Byzantine Museum of Larissa
- Veterinary Military Museum of Larissa
- Museum of Folklroe Society of Larissa
Larissa city is generally a flat city, ideal for biking. It has biking lanes since 2000, that connect the Hill Fortress with the ancient theater. In 2004 the network was renovated, so you can easily see the city center by hiring a bike. Not only is the favourite means of transportation of the locals, but also a pleasant outdoor activity for the visitors.
The whole prefecture of Larissa is famous for some incredible traditional products, so if you happen to travel there, taste and buy: "halva" from Farsala (delicious local candy), Elassona feta cheese, wine and tsipouro from Tyrnavos and apples from Agia.
Larissa sits in the middle of the plain of Thessaly, with connections to Motorway A1 and national roads EO3 and EO6.
You can easily access it by car or bus from Athens and Thessaloniki. Athens is 360 km away and Thessaloniki is 155 km.
Bus Station (in Athens): +302108317109
Bus Station (in Thessaloniki): +302310595430
Bus Station (in Larissa): +302410567600
There are daily train itineraries that connect Athens city and Thessaloniki with Larissa (simple or intercity).
Train Station (in Athens): +302108237741
Train Station (in Thessaloniki): +302310517517-8
Train Station (in Larissa): +302410236250
The Larissa urban buses serve the public with daily routes from and to the city centre, while there is always the option of taking a TAXI.
- Bus Station: +30 2410533903
- Police Department of Larissa: +30 2410 683111 & 2410 683112
- General Hospital of Larissa: +30 2413 504100
- Postal office: +30 2410 256144
- Train Station: +30 2410 236250
Map for City of Larissa
Oblations for City of Larissa