Larisa

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Larisa (Greek: Λάρισα, L├írisa) is the capital city of the Thessaly periphery of Greece, and capital of the Larisa prefecture. It is a main agricultural centre and a transportation hub, linked by rail with the port of Volos and with Thessaloniki (Salonika) and Athens. The dominance of agriculture has made Larisa one of the main bulwarks of the Greek Communist Party.

Geography

The elevation of Larisa Airport is 73 m.

The skiing resort of Pilio is to the east and is the closest resort which is 59 km E.

History

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 city finally moved closer to the rest of Greece.

The name Larissa, which pre-dates Indo-European languages, was common to many Pelasgian towns. Thus in Greek mythology, Larissa or Larisa was vaguely personified as a daughter of Pelasgus, though no specific myth was connected with her.

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 BC the privilege of furnishing the Tagus, or generalissimo, of the combined Thessalian forces. The principal-rivals of the Aleuadae were the Scopadac of Crannon, the remains of which (called by the Turks Old Larisa) are about 14 miles south west. 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. Larissa was the headquarters of Ali Pasha during the Greek War of Independence, and of the crown prince Constantine during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. The flight of the Greek army from this place to Pharsala took place on the 23 April 1897.

Until 1881 it was the seat of a pasha in the wilaya of Ioannina. In Turkish, it was known as Veal Shehir (New Town). Its long subjection to Ottoman rule has left little trace of antiquity. It was formerly a Turkish military centre and most of the people were of Turkish origin. In the 19th century, there was a small village in the outskirts of town 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. A considerable portion of the Turkish population emigrated in 1881. During the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, Turkish troops entered the city once again. After a treaty for peace was signed, they withdrew and Larisa remained permanently in Greece. This was followed by a further exodus of Turks in 1898.


Historical population

Sporting teams

Geological features named after Larissa

  • Larisa Chasma on Dione, an important location in Roman History when Greece was part of the Roman Empire during ancient times.


External links