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Larissa ( , Lárisa) is a city and the capital of the Thessaly periphery of Greecemarker, and capital of the Larissa Prefecturemarker. It is a principal agricultural centre and a national transportation hub, linked by road and rail with the port of Volosmarker and with Thessalonikimarker and Athensmarker. 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 Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, died here.


There are a number of highways including E75 and the main railway from Athensmarker to Thessalonikimarker (Salonika) crossing through Thessaly. The region is directly linked to the rest of Europe through the International Airport of Central Greecemarker located in Nea Anchialosmarker a short distance from Larissa.

Larissa lies on the river Pineiosmarker.

The Larissa Chasma, a deep gash in the surface of Dione, a natural satellite of Saturn, was named after Larissa.



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, 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". In Greek mythology the nymph Larissa was a daughter of the primordial man Pelasgus.

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 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 Persiamarker, 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).

Hellenistic and Roman era

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 (called by the Turks Old Larissa) are about 14 miles south west. The inhabitants sided with Athensmarker during the Peloponnesian War.

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.

Modern Greek era

Since the 5th century it has been the seat of an archbishop.

The town was taken from the Byzantine Empire by Bulgaria and later held by Serbia, with which it passed in the 15th century under the rule of the Ottoman Turks.

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 here to Pharsalamarker took place on the April 23 1897. Until 1881 Larissa was the seat of a pasha in the wilaya of Ianninamarker; and known in Turkish as Yenişehr-i Fenar (New Town in Greece). Its long subjection to Ottoman rule has left little trace of antiquity. In the 19th century, there was a small village in the outskirts of town very unusually inhabited by Africans from the Sudanmarker, 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 in April 25. After a treaty for peace was signed, they withdrew and Larissa remained permanently in Greecemarker. This was followed by a further exodus of Turks in 1898.

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



Districts (quarters)

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 (Athensmarker-Thessalonikimarker), GR-3 (Elefsinamarker-Florinamarker) and GR-6 (Igoumenitsamarker-Volosmarker).
  • Larissa's Urban Bus System
  • Larissa's Interurban System
  • Larissa Central Railway Station at
  • Mezourlo Freight Railway station at
  • Larissa Airport
  • Larissa Tram (planned)


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 Arenamarker [2723]
  • 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



Twin Towns — Sister Cities

Larissa is twinned with:

See also


  1. 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.
  2. "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").
  3. Pausanias, 2.24.1
  4. Cities and Locations of Ancient Greece. Larissa

External links

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