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Larissa horse.jpg
Seal of Larissa
Larissa is located in Greece
Coordinates 39°38.5′N 22°25′E / 39.6417°N 22.417°E / 39.6417; 22.417Coordinates: 39°38.5′N 22°25′E / 39.6417°N 22.417°E / 39.6417; 22.417
Country: Greece
Periphery: Thessaly
Prefecture: Larissa
Districts: 31
Population statistics (as of 2001[1])
 - Population: 126,076
 - Area: 122.586 km2 (47 sq mi)
 - Density: 1,028 /km2 (2,664 /sq mi)
Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
Elevation (center): 67 m (220 ft)
Postal: 41x xx
Telephone: 2410
Auto: ΡΙ

Larissa (Greek: Λάρισα, /ˈlarisa/) is a city and the capital of the Thessaly periphery of Greece, and capital of the Larissa Prefecture. It is a principal agricultural centre and a national transportation hub, linked by road and rail with the port of Volos and with Thessaloniki and Athens. The population of the greater area is around 250,000, and takes in the Municipalities of Nikaia, Giannouli and other smaller suburban communities. According to archaeological evidence, the capital of Thessaly, Larissa, lies atop a site that has been inhabited since the tenth millennium BCE. A major commercial and industrial centre. Legend has it that Achilles was born here and Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, died here



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.


The city is said in Greek mythology to have been founded by Acrisius, who was killed accidentally by his son, Perseus[2]. There lived Peleus, the hero beloved by the gods, and his son Achilles; however, the city is not mentioned by Homer, unless it should be identified with Argissa of the Iliad[3].

In mythology, the nymph Larissa was a daughter of the primordial man Pelasgus.[4]



Traces of Paleolithic human settlement have been recovered from the area, but it was peripheral to areas of advanced culture.[5] The area around Larissa was extremely fruitful; it was agriculturally important and in antiquity was known for its horses.

The name Larissa,[6] inherited from the Pelasgian settlers— an alternative name for the district was Pelasgiotis— was common to many Pelasgian towns: the ancient Greek word larissa means "stronghold".[7]

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 fifth 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).[8]

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. It was taken by the Thebans and afterwards by the Macedonian kings, and Demetrius Poliorcestes gained possession of it for a time, 302 BC.

Hellenistic and Roman era

It was in Larissa that Philip V of Macedonia signed in 197 BC a treaty with the Romans after his defeat at Cynoscephalae, and it was there also that Antiochus III, the Great, won a great victory, 192 BC.

As the chief city of ancient Thessaly, Larissa was directly annexed by Philip II of Macedon in 344, and from then on Larissa was under Macedonian control; in 196 B.C. 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 empire and Pompey sought refuge there after the defeat of Pharsalus.

Middle Ages and Ottoman period

The town was taken from the Byzantine Empire by Bulgaria for a while in the later 10th century and later held by Serbia. It was Frankish until 1400.

In the 15th century, it came under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, who called it Yenişehr-i Fenar 'new town of the Phanariots'. Until 1881, Larissa was the seat of a pasha in the vilayet of Yanya. On 6 March 1770, Aya Pasha massacred there 3000 Christians from Trikala.

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. 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.

Ecclesiastical history

Christianity penetrated early to Larissa, though its first bishop is recorded only in 325 at the Council of Nicaea. St. Achilius of the fourth century, is celebrated for his miracles. Lequien[9] cites twenty-nine bishops from the fourth to the eighteenth centuries; the most famous is Jermias II, who occupied the Patriarch of the West until 733, when the Emperor Leo III the Isaurian annexed it to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In the first years of the tenth century it had ten suffragan sees[10]; subsequently the number increased and about the year 1175 under the Emperor Manuel Commenus, it reached twenty-eight[11]. At the close of the fifteenth century, under the Turkish domination, there were only ten suffragan sees[12], which gradually grew less and finally disappeared.

Larissa remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.

Historical population

  • 1889: 13,610 (city)
  • 1907: 18,001 (city)
  • 1907: 95,066 (prefecture)
  • 1991: 113,781 (city)
  • 1991: 277,973 (prefecture)
  • 2001: 126,076 (city)
  • 2001: 279,305 (prefecture)

Archaeological sites

The ancient theatre of Larissa



The Municipality of Larissa is divided into two Municipal Districts (Larissa and Terpsithea). The Municipal District of Larissa is subdivided into four city-districts (31 city areas) and two suburban districts (Amphithea and Koulourion). The Municipal District of Terpsithea is subdivided into two suburban districts (Terpsithea and Argyssa).

  1. Saint Achellios
  2. Saint Nikolaos
  3. Saint Athanasios
  4. Alkazar
  5. Hippocrates
  6. Papastavrou
  7. Ambelokipoi
  8. Saints Saranta
  9. Lachanokipoi
  10. Nea Smyrne-Kamynia
  11. Kalyvia-Saint Marina
  12. Charavgi
  13. Toumba-OKE
  14. Pyrovolika-Pharos
  15. Averof-Sekfo
  16. Nea Politia
  17. Saint Georgios
  18. Pinioupolis
  19. Philippoupolis
  20. Livadaki
  21. Epirotika
  22. Neapolis
  23. Saint Konstantinos
  24. Stathmos
  25. Anthoupolis
  26. Saint Thomas
  27. Saint Paraskevi-Mezourlo
  28. Neraida
  29. Anatoli
  30. Kampos
  31. Potamoupolis


Larissa sits in the middle of the plain of Thessaly, with connections to national roads GR-1 (Athens-Thessaloniki), GR-3 (Elefsina-Florina) and GR-6 (Igoumenitsa-Volos).


Two football teams are based in Larissa. Larissa F.C. currently play in Super League Greece. They were Greek Champions in 1988 and Cup Winners in 1985 & 2007. They are the only team from outside Athens or Thessaloniki to have won the Greek League. Fourth Division club Apollonas Larissa also play in the town.

  • Alkazar Sport Complex
  • Alkazar Arena Stadium / AEL Arena [1]
  • Alkazar National Stadium
  • Municipal Swimming Pool
  • Equestrian Club of Larissa
  • Neapolis Palais de Sports
  • Larissa's Nautical Club
  • Alkazar Golf Center
  • The Ice Skating Rink

Notable people


A conventionalized image of Hippocrates.


Twin Towns — Sister Cities

Larissa is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ "Δείτε τη Διοικητική Διαίρεση" (in Greek). Hellenic Interior Ministry. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  2. ^ Stephanus Byzantius, s.v.
  3. ^ II, 738.
  4. ^ Pausanias, 2.24.1
  5. ^ Curtis Runnels and Tjeerd H. van Andel. "The Lower and Middle Paleolithic of Thessaly, Greece" Journal of Field Archaeology 20.3 (Autumn 1993:299–317) summarises the survey carried out in June 1991.
  6. ^ "The city and the plain around it were settled in prehistoric times, and its name must be early, but it is first mentioned in connection with the aristocratic Aleuadai, whose home it was." (Richard Stillwell, William L. MacDonald, Marian Holland McAllister, eds., The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (Princeton University Press) 1976, 's.v. "Larissa, or Larisa, or Pelasgis, Thessaly").
  7. ^ "Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon". Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  8. ^ Cities and Locations of Ancient Greece. Larissa
  9. ^ Oriens Christianus II, 103-112.
  10. ^ Heinrich Gelzer, "Ungedruckte. . .Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum", Munich, 1900, 557.
  11. ^ Parthey, Hieroclis Synecdemus, Berlin, 1866, 120.
  12. ^ Gelzer, op. cit., 635.
  13. ^ "Rybnik Official Website — Twin Towns". City of Rybnik. Urząd Miasta Rybnika, ul. Bolesława Chrobrego 2, 44-200 Rybnik. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Larisa (Greek Λάρισα) (Population: 126.000 (2001)) is the 4th biggest city in Greece, situated in Thessaly, between Athens (370 km) and Thessaloniki ( km).



Larissa is one of the oldest settlements in Greece, it's name meaning "stronghold" in ancient Greek. It was also the head of the Thessalian League during the Hellenistic and Roman era. Today, it's a modern city and is considered Thessaly's capital.

Get in

By plane

Volos airport (VOL) is situated in (Nea Anchialos), about 80 km SE from the city, and currently operates only weekly charter flights during the summer, directly from Amsterdam and the UK. There are expansion projects of the airport underway, as well as a rail connection from Volos city to the airport, so as to be able to start some commercial routes as well.

By regional coach

Interurban coaches ("KTEL" buses) are by far the most convenient way to travel around Greece, as well as for intra-regional travelling. There is frequent bus service from Athens Liossion Station to Larisa about 15 times a day (cost is about €20), as well as from Thessaloniki bus terminal "Macedonia" to Larisa about 10 times a day (about € 13.5).

By train

Trains (OSE) connect Larisa to other cities in Greece. Travelling with ordinary trains can be cheaper, although a little bit slower, whereas choosing a fancy faster Intercity train will cost the same amount of money, or even more than a KTEL bus.

Get around

By bus

There is an efficient public transport system going around the city (ticket price about 1), detailed info in the regional bus terminal (called "Astiko KTEL").

By taxi

Taxi in Larisa, as everywhere in Greece are comparably cheap. You should not pay more than € 3 if you hail a cab (silver colour) on the road to take you anywhere in the city. Note that taxi meters have two rates - rate 1 applies from 5am till midnight, and rate 2, the double rate, from midnight to 5am. Taxi fare fraud is not widespread but it still happens, so make sure the rate is correct. If you feel you have been overcharged, ask for a receipt (they are obliged to give one) and take the plate number, then phone the tourist police to report the driver on 171. Expect to pay € 1 or € 2 extra if you take a taxi from the bus station or the train station, and a surcharge if you call for a taxi service on demand.



Films shown in original language with Greek subtitles. Cartoons are often translated to Greek.


Winter bars, pubs and clubs, usually close down during summer. Most of them have a different facility for the summer.


Tsipouro is a very famous beverage in Greece, but most of the areas in Thessaly are famous for making some of the purest and strongest tsipouro in the country. It's really good in cold weather, because of its high concentration in alcohol.


Tsipouro, Ouzo or Wine, as in the rest of Greece, are good choices. There are many bars downtown, so the visitor is not expected to have any problem finding a place to enjoy a drink.


There many shops downtown.


The choices for eating are Taverns (Ταβέρνα) where mostly meat dishes are served, Restaurants (Εστιατόριο) where Greek dishes can be found (there are Italian and Chinese restaurants also), Psistaries (Ψησταριά) (Grill houses) where the main dish is grilled meat, Fast Food choices are local Souvlatzidika (Οβελιστήριο or Σουβλατζίδικο) where souvlaki is served, and typical fast food chains such as Goody's and Everest.

People in Greece usually eats late in the evening (21:00 - 24:00), during the day most Taverns, Psistaries and Restaurants are closed. However, Fast Food restaurants are open all day long.


Mid range


Psistaries (Ψησταριά) (Grill houses)

Psistaries serve mostly meat, salads and french fries. The meat usually is ordered by weight, and the price is per kilo also. One portion is 330gr of grilled meat.


There are many hotels in Larissa. Most are in center. Car parking could be hard to find in the center of Larissa.

Get out

Mount Olympos is close to Larissa. Could be reached by bus or car.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LARISSA (Turk. Yeni Shehr, " new town"), the most important town of Thessaly, situated in a rich agricultural district on the right bank of the Salambria (Peneios, Peneus, Peneius), about 35 m. N.W. of Volo, with which it is connected by rail. Pop. (1889) 13,610, (1907) 18,001. Till 1881 it was the seat of a pasha in the vilayet of Jannina; it is now the capital of the Greek province and the seat of a nomarch. Its long subjection to Turkey has left little trace of antiquity, and the most striking features in the general view are the minarets of the disused mosques (only four are now in use) and the Mahommedan burying-grounds. It was formerly a Turkish military centre and most of the people were of Turkish blood. In the outskirts is a village of Africans from the Sudan - a curious remnant of the forces collected by Ali Pasha. The manufactures include Turkish leather, cotton, silk and tobacco; trade and industry, however, are far from prosperous, though improving owing to the immigration of the Greek commercial element. Fevers and agues are prevalent owing to bad drainage and the overflowing of the river; and the death-rate is higher than the birth-rate. A considerable portion of the Turkish population emigrated in 1881; a further exodus took place in 1898. The department of Larissa had in 1907 a population of 95,066.

Larissa, 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 B.C. the privilege of furnishing the Tagus, or generalissimo, of the combined Thessalian forces. The principal rivals of the Aleuadae were the Scopadae of Crannon, the remains of which (called by the Turks Old Larissa) are about 14 m. to the S.W. The inhabitants sided with Athens during the Peloponnesian War, and during the Roman invasion their city was of considerable importance. Since the 5th century it has been the seat of an archbishop, who has now fifteen suffragans. Larissa was the headquarters of Ali Pasha during the Greek War of Independence, and of the crown prince Constantine during the Greco-Turkish War; the flight of the Greek army from this place to Pharsala took place on the 23rd of April 1897. Notices of some ancient inscriptions found at Larissa are given by Miller in Mélanges philologiques (Paris, 1880); several sepulchral reliefs were found in the neighbourhood in 1882. A few traces of the ancient acropolis and theatre are still visible.

The name Larissa was common to many "Pelasgian" towns, and apparently signified a fortified city or burg, such as the citadel of Argos. Another town of the name in Thessaly was Larissa Cremaste, surnamed Pelasgia (Strabo ix. p. 440), situated on the slope of Mt. Othrys. (J. D. B.) Laristan, a sub-province of the province of Fars in Persia, bounded E. and N.E. by Kerman and S. by the Persian Gulf. It lies between 26° 30' and 28° 25' N. and between 52° 30' and 55° 30' E. and has an extreme breadth and length of 120 and 210 m. respectively, with an area of about 20,000 sq. m. Pop. about 90,000. Laristan consists mainly of mountain ranges in the north and east, and of arid plains varied with rocky hills and sandy valleys stretching thence to the coast. In the highlands, where some fertile upland tracts produce corn, dates and other fruits, the climate is genial, but elsewhere it is extremely sultry, and on the low-lying coast lands malarious. Good water is everywhere so scarce that but for the rain preserved in cisterns the country would be mostly uninhabitable. Many cisterns are infested with Guinea worm (filaria medinensis, Gm.). The coast is chiefly occupied by Arab tribes who were virtually independent, paying merely a nominal tribute to the shah's government until 1898. They reside in small towns and mud forts scattered along the coast. The people of the interior are mostly of the old Iranian stock, and there are also a few nomads of the Turkish Baharlu tribe which came to Persia in the lath century when the province was subdued by a Turkish chief. Laristan remained an independent state under a Turkish ruler until 1602, when Shah Ibrahim Khan was deposed and put to death by Shah `Abbas the Great. The province is subdivided into eight districts: (1) Lar, the capital and environs, with 34 villages; (2) Bikhah Ihsham with 11; (3) Bikhah Fal with ro; (4) Jehangiriyeh with 30; (5) Shibkuh with 36; (6) Fumistan with 13; (7) Kauristan with 4; (8) Mazayijan with 6 villages. Lingah, with its principal place Bander Lingah and i 1 villages, formerly a part of Laristan, is now included in the "Persian Gulf Ports," a separate administrative division. Laristan is famous for the condiment called mahiabeh (fish-jelly), a compound of pounded small sprat-like fish, salt, mustard, nutmeg, cloves and other spices, used as a relish with nearly all foods.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Alternative spellings

  • Larisa ( the city; the female name)

Proper noun




  1. A city in north-central Greece, the capital of Thessaly.
  2. (Greek mythology) A nymph with a local cult near the city of Larissa.
  3. A female given name (after the mythological character and a 4th century Greek Orthodox martyr).
  4. A moon of Neptune.

Related terms

  • female given name: Lara


See also


Proper noun


  1. A female given name borrowed from Russian in the 20th century.


Proper noun


  1. Larissa (city)

Simple English

Larissa (Greek: Λάρισα) is the capital city of the Thessaly periphery of Greece, and capital of the Larissa Prefecture. Larissa is found in the north of the Thessaly plain near at the foot of the mountain Olympus. Its population is 131,496 inhabitants. Larissa is crossed by Pineios river. The most interest sight in Larissa is the ancient theater which is located in the center of the city.

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