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Volos (Greek: Βόλος) is a city situated at the centre of the Greek mainland, about 326 km. from Athens and 215 km. from Thessaloniki(Salonica). It is the capital of Magnesia prefecture.

Built at the innermost point of the Pagasetic Gulf and at the foot of Mount Pilio or Pelion (the land of the Centaurs), it is the only outlet towards the sea from Thessaly, the country's largest agricultural region. Volos is one of the major commercial ports of Greece, but also gains much traffic because it is connected by ferries as well as by hydrofoils with the nearby Sporades Islands, Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos.

The greater Volos conurbation has a population of about 160,000 and includes the Municipalities of Volos, Nea Ionia and Iolkos, as well as smaller suburban communities. The economy of the city is based on manufacturing, trade, services and tourism.

Modern Volos is build on the area of the ancient cities of Demetrias, Pagasae and Iolkos. Demetrias was established by Demetrius Poliorcetes, king of Macedonia. Iolkos or Iolcos or Iolcus was the homeland of Jason who boarded the ship Argo accompanied by the Argonauts and sailed in the quest for the Golden Fleece to Colchis. To the west of Volos there are the neolithic settlements of Dimini with a ruined acropolis, walls and two beehive tombs dated between 4000-1200 BC and Sesklo with the remains of the oldest acropolis in Greece (6000 BC), as well as the foundations of a palace and mansions among the most typical examples of neolithic civilisation.

According to a Byzantine historian of the 14th century Volos was called "Golos". The most widely accepted theory for the derivation of the city's name is that Volos is a corruption of the Mycenaean Iolkos, which was distorted through the ages to "Golkos", then "Golos" and subsequently "Volos". Others claim that it originates from Folos, who according to mythology was a wealthy landlord of the region.

Volos is a relatively new city, that began growing in the mid 19th century where an insignificant Turkish hamlet used to be. After its annexation to Greece from the Ottoman Empire in 1881, it had a population of only 4,900 but rapidly grew within the next 4 decades. Merchants, businessmen, craftsmen and sailors moved to Volos from the surrounding area. In the 1920's there was a large influx of refugees in Volos, especially from Ionia, but also from Pontus, Cappadocia and Eastern Thrace. In the 1920 census, Volos had 30,046 inhabitants but according to the 1928 census, its population grew to 47,892. In detail: Volos had a total population of 41,706 and the refugees of the "Asia Minor Disaster" were 6,779 (percentage of refugees in Volos 16.25%). In Nea Ionia district the total population was 6,186 and the refugees were 5,166 (Percentage of refugees in the district of New Ionia 83.51%). Thus the total number of refugees in the Municipality of Pagasses (Volos and Nea Ionia) was: 11,945 and the percentage of refugees in the Municipality of Pagasses (Volos and Nea Ionia) was: 24,94%.

The development of the city was closely connected with the establishment of the industrial estate, the upgrading of the port and the growth of tourism due to the geographical position of Volos near scenic Mt. Pelion (home of Chiron the Centaur) and the beautiful beaches of Magnesia prefecture, especially those of the Northern Sporades islands.

Volos has schools ,lyceums, gymnasia, churches, banks, a post office, a beach and squares (plateia) including the Riga Fereou Square.


Historical population

Year Population Change Metropolitan population
1981 71,378 - -
1991 77,192 5,814/8.14% about 150,000
2001 - - 160,000

Sporting Teams

Sites of interest

  • Panthessaliko Stadium, Athens 2004 venue, located in Nea Ionia
  • bridge over the canal
  • Archaeological Museum

External links

North: Iolkos
West: Nea Ionia Volos East: Agria
South: Pagasetic Gulf