Thessaly (Greek: Θεσσαλία, Thessalía; ancient Thessalian: Πετθαλία, Petthalía) is a traditional geographic and modern administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia (Greek: Αἰολία, Aíolía), and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey.
Thessaly became part of the modern Greek state in 1881, after four and a half centuries of Ottoman rule. Since 1987 it has formed one of the country's 13 regions and is further (since the Kallikratis reform of 2010) sub-divided into 5 regional units and 25 municipalities. The capital of the region is Larissa. Thessaly lies in northern Greece and borders the regions of Macedonia on the north, Epirus on the west, Central Greece on the south and the Aegean Sea on the east. The Thessaly region also includes the Sporades islands.
Thessaly within Greece
|Decentralized Administration||Thessaly and Central Greece|
|• Regional governor||Konstantinos Agorastos (Nea Dimokratia)|
|• Total||14,036.64 km2 (5,419.58 sq mi)|
|• Density||52/km2 (140/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
|ISO 3166 code||GR-E|
very high · 9th
Thessaly was home to extensive Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures around 6000–2500 BC (see Cardium Pottery, Dimini and Sesklo). Mycenaean settlements have also been discovered, for example at the sites of Iolcos, Dimini and Sesklo (near Volos). In Archaic and Classical times, the lowlands of Thessaly became the home of baronial families, such as the Aleuadae of Larissa or the Scopads of Crannon.
In the summer of 480 BC, the Persians invaded Thessaly. The Greek army that guarded the Vale of Tempe evacuated the road before the enemy arrived. Not much later, Thessaly surrendered to the Persians. The Thessalian family of Aleuadae joined the Persians subsequently.
In the 4th century BC, after the Greco-Persian Wars had long ended, Jason of Pherae transformed the region into a significant military power, recalling the glory of Early Archaic times. Shortly after, Philip II of Macedon was appointed Archon of Thessaly, and Thessaly was thereafter associated with the Macedonian Kingdom for the next centuries.
Thessaly later became part of the Roman Empire as part of the province of Macedonia; when that was broken up, the name resurfaced in two of its late Roman successor provinces: Thessalia Prima and Thessalia Secunda.
Thessaly remained part of the East Roman "Byzantine" Empire after the collapse of Roman power in the west, and subsequently suffered many invasions, such as by the Slavic tribe of the Belegezites in the 7th century AD. The Avars had arrived in Europe in the late 550s.:29 They asserted their authority over many Slavs, who were divided into numerous petty tribes. Many Slavs were galvanized into an effective infantry force, by the Avars. In the 7th century the Avar-Slav alliance began to raid the Byzantine Empire, laying siege to Thessalonica and even the imperial capital Constantinople itself.
By the 8th century, Slavs had occupied most of the Balkans from Austria to the Peloponnese, and from the Adriatic to the Black seas, with the exception of the coastal areas and certain mountainous regions of the Greek peninsula. Relations between the Slavs and Greeks were probably peaceful apart from the (supposed) initial settlement and intermittent uprisings. Being agriculturalists, the Slavs probably traded with the Greeks inside towns. It is likely that the re-Hellenization had already begun by way of this contact. This process would be completed by a newly reinvigorated Byzantine Empire.
With the abatement of Arab-Byzantine Wars, the Byzantine Empire began to consolidate its power in those areas of mainland Greece occupied by Proto-Slavic tribes. Following the campaigns of the Byzantine general Staurakios in 782–783, the Byzantine Empire recovered Thessaly, taking many Slavs as prisoners. Apart from military expeditions against Slavs, the re-Hellenization process begun under Nicephorus I involved (often forcible) transfer of peoples.
Many Slavs were moved to other parts of the empire such as Anatolia and made to serve in the military. In return, many Greeks from Sicily and Asia Minor were brought to the interior of Greece, to increase the number of defenders at the Emperor's disposal and dilute the concentration of Slavs.
In 977 Byzantine Thessaly was raided by the Bulgarian Empire. In 1066 dissatisfaction with the taxation policy led the Aromanian and Bulgarian population of Thessaly to revolt against the Byzantine Empire under the leadership of a local lord, Nikoulitzas Delphinas. The revolt, which began in Larissa, soon expanded to Trikala and later northwards to the Byzantine-Bulgarian border. In 1199–1201 another unsuccessful revolt was led by Manuel Kamytzes, son-in-law of Byzantine emperor Alexios III Angelos, with the support of Dobromir Chrysos, the autonomous ruler of Prosek. Kamytzes managed to establish a short-lived principality in northern Thessaly, before he was overcome by an imperial expedition.
Following the siege of Constantinople and the dissolution of the Byzantine Empire by the Fourth Crusade in April 1204, Thessaly passed to Boniface of Montferrat's Kingdom of Thessalonica in the wider context of the Frankokratia. In 1212, Michael I Komnenos Doukas, ruler of Epirus, led his troops into Thessaly. Larissa and much of central Thessaly came under Epirote rule, thereby separating Thessalonica from the Crusader principalities in southern Greece. Michael's work was completed by his half-brother and successor, Theodore Komnenos Doukas, who by 1220 completed the recovery of the entire region.
The Vlachs of Thessaly (originally a chiefly transhumant Romance-speaking population) first appear in Byzantine sources in the 11th century, in the Strategikon of Kekaumenos and Anna Komnene's Alexiad). In the 12th century, the Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela records the existence of the district of "Vlachia" near Halmyros in eastern Thessaly, while the Byzantine historian Niketas Choniates places "Great Vlachia" near Meteora. The term is also used by the 13th-century scholar George Pachymeres, and it appears as a distinct administrative unit in 1276, when the pinkernes Raoul Komnenos was its governor (kephale).
From 1271 to 1318 Thessaly was an independent despotate that extended to Acarnania and Aetolia, run by John I Doukas. In 1309 the Almogavars or Catalan Company of the East (Societas Catalanorum Magna), settled in Thessaly. In 1310, after lifting the siege of Thessalonica, the Almogavars withdrew as mercenaries in the pay of the sebastokrator John II Doukas and took over the country. From there they departed to the Duchy of Athens, called by the duke Walter I. In 1318, with the extinction of the Angelid dynasty, the Almogavars occupied Siderokastron and southern Thessaly (1319) and formed the Duchy of Neopatria.
In 1348, Thessaly was invaded and occupied by the Serbs under Preljub. After the latter's death in 1356, the region was conquered by Nikephoros Orsini, and after his death three years later, it was taken over by the self-proclaimed Serbian emperor Simeon Uroš. Simeon's son John Uroš succeeded in 1370 but abdicated in 1373, and Thessaly was administered by the Greek Angeloi-Philanthropenoi clan until the Ottoman conquest c. 1393.
Ottoman control was disputed by the Byzantines until the 1420s when it was consolidated by Turahan Bey, who settled Turkomans in the province and founded the town of Tyrnavos. The territory was ruled through the Sanjak of Tirhala administrative division during the Ottoman period.
In 1600, a short-lived rebellion broke out in the region.
In 1821, parts of Thessaly and Magnesia participated in the initial uprisings in the Greek War of Independence, but these revolts were swiftly crushed. Thessaly became part of the modern Greek state in 1881, after the Convention of Constantinople except the area around the town of Elassona, which remained in Ottoman hands until 1912. It was briefly captured by Ottomans during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. After the Treaty of Constantinople (1897), Greece was forced to cede minor border areas and to pay heavy reparations. The remaining part of Thessaly held by the Ottomans was finally regained by the Greeks during the First Balkan War in 1912.
Thessaly occupies the east side of the Pindus watershed, extending south from Macedonia to the Aegean Sea. The northern tier of Thessaly is defined by a generally southwest-northeast spur of the Pindus range that includes Mount Olympus, close to the Macedonian border. Within that broken spur of mountains are several basins and river valleys.
The easternmost extremity of the spur extends southeastward from Mt. Olympus along the Aegean coast, terminating in the Magnesia Peninsula that envelops the Pagasetic Gulf (also called the Gulf of Volos), and forms an inlet of the Aegean Sea. Thessaly's major river, the Pineios, flows eastward from the central Pindus Range just south of the spur, emptying into the Thermaic Gulf.
The Trikala and Larissa lowlands form a central plain which is surrounded by a ring of mountains. It has distinct summer and winter seasons, with summer rains augmenting the fertility of the plains. This has led to Thessaly occasionally being called the "breadbasket of Greece".
The region is well delineated by topographical boundaries. The Chasia and Kamvounia mountains lie to the north, the Mt. Olympus massif to the northeast. To the west lies the Pindus mountain range, to the southeast the coastal mountains of Óssa and Pelion.
Several tributaries of the Pineios flow through the region.
Most of the province has a hot summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa), but also found is a cold semi-arid climate (BSk) including the capital Larissa (on its Mediterranean edge of category). Even in the north of Thessaly a rare humid subtropical climate (Cfa) can be found, although it is different from a climate typically below or above the tropics, it also marks the limit of this rare Cf subtype on the European continent (e. g. the small village of Kalvia).
According to the census conducted by ESYE in 2011, the population of the region of Thessaly is 732,762 and represents 6.8% of the total population of the country.
A 2.8% decrease in the population since 2001 was noted, but Thessaly remains the third largest region in the country in terms of population.
The population break-down is 44% urban, 40% agrarian, and 16% semi-urban. A decrease in the agrarian population has been accompanied by an increase in the semi-urban population.
The metropolitan area of Larissa, the capital of Thessaly, is home to more than 230,000 people, making it the biggest city of the region.
The alluvial soils of the Pineios Basin and its tributaries make Thessaly a vital agricultural area, particularly for the production of grain, cattle, and sheep. Modernization of agricultural practices in the mid-20th century has controlled the chronic flooding that had restricted agricultural expansion and diversification in the low-lying plains. Thessaly is the leading cattle-raising area of Greece, and Vlach shepherds move large flocks of sheep and goats seasonally between higher and lower elevations.
In the last few decades, there has been a rise in the cultivation of dried nuts such as almonds, pistachios, and walnuts, especially in the region of Almyros. An increase in the number of olive oil trees has been also observed. The nearly landlocked Gulf of Pagasai provides a natural harbor at Volos for shipping agricultural products from the plains and chromium from the mountains.
The unemployment rate stood at 20.6% in 2017.
There are a number of highways such as E75, and the main railway from Athens to Thessaloniki (Salonika) crosses Thessaly. The region is directly linked to the rest of Europe through International Airport of Central Greece, which is located in Nea Anchialos, a small distance from Volos and Larisa. Charter flights link the region and bring tourists to the wider area, mainly in Pelion and Meteora. The new infrastructure includes a brand new terminal ready to serve 1500 passengers per hour and new airplanes.
Although the historical region of Thessaly extended south into Phthiotis and at times north into West Macedonia, today the term "Thessaly" is identified with the modern administrative region which was established in the 1987 administrative reform. With the 2010 Kallikratis plan, the powers and authority of the region were redefined and extended.
Along with Central Greece, it is supervised by the Decentralized Administration of Thessaly and Central Greece, based at Larissa. The region of Thessaly is divided into five regional units (four were pre-Kallikratis prefectures), Karditsa, Larissa, Magnesia, the Sporades and Trikala, which are further subdivided into twenty-five municipalities.
In linguistics, Aeolic Greek (; also Aeolian , Lesbian or Lesbic dialect) is the set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia (a region in Central Greece); Thessaly, in the Aegean island of Lesbos; and the Greek colonies of Aeolis in Anatolia and adjoining islands.
The Aeolic dialect shows many archaisms in comparison to the other Ancient Greek dialects (Arcadocypriot, Attic, Ionic, and Doric varieties), as well as many innovations.
Aeolic Greek is widely known as the language of Sappho and of Alcaeus of Mytilene. Aeolic poetry, which is exemplified in the works of Sappho, mostly uses four classical meters known as the Aeolics: Glyconic (the most basic form of Aeolic line), hendecasyllabic verse, Sapphic stanza, and Alcaic stanza (the latter two are respectively named for Sappho and Alcaeus).
In Plato's Protagoras, Prodicus labelled the Aeolic dialect of Pittacus of Mytilene as "barbarian" (barbaros), because of its difference from the Attic literary style: "He didn't know to distinguish the words correctly, being from Lesbos, and having been raised with a barbarian dialect".Ancient Thessaly
Thessaly or Thessalia (Attic Greek: Θεσσαλία, Thessalía or Θετταλία, Thettalía) was one of the traditional regions of Ancient Greece. During the Mycenaean period, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, a name that continued to be used for one of the major tribes of Greece, the Aeolians, and their dialect of Greek, Aeolic.Angelos
The Angelos family (; Greek: Ἄγγελος), feminine form Angelina (Άγγελίνα), plural Angeloi (Ἄγγελοι), was a Byzantine Greek noble lineage which gave rise to three Byzantine emperors who ruled between 1185 and 1204. From the 13th to the 14th century, a branch of the family ruled Epiros, Thessaly and Thessaloniki under the name of Komnenos Doukas.Battle of Mouzaki
The Battle of Mouzaki (Greek: Mάχη του Μουζακίου) occurred on 4 May 1878 between Greek irregulars with the cover support of the Greek Army against the Ottoman forces.
It is one of the main events of the Greek revolts that erupted in Thessaly and Epirus during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878.Eurypylus of Thessaly
In Greek mythology, Eurypylus (Ancient Greek: Εὐρύπυλος Eurypylos) was a Thessalian king.Larissa
Larissa (Greek: Λάρισα [ˈlarisa]) is the capital and largest city of the Thessaly region, the fourth-most populous in Greece according to the population results of municipal units of 2011 census and capital of the Larissa regional unit. It is a principal agricultural centre and a national transport hub, linked by road and rail with the port of Volos, the cities 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, Platykampos, Nikaia, Terpsithea and several other suburban settlements, bringing the wider urban area population of the city to about 174,012 inhabitants and extends over an area of 572.3 km2 (221.0 sq mi).
Legend has it that Achilles was born here. Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine", died here. Today, Larissa is an important commercial, agricultural and industrial centre of Greece.Larissa (regional unit)
Larissa (Greek: Περιφερειακή ενότητα Λάρισας) is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Thessaly. Its capital is the city of Larissa. Total population 284,325 (2011).List of football clubs in Greece
This is a list of football clubs located in Greece and the leagues and divisions they will play in for 2018–19 season.Meteora
The Meteora (; Greek: Μετέωρα, pronounced [meˈteora]) is a rock formation in central Greece hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The six (of an original twenty four) monasteries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area. It is located near the town of Kalambaka at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains.
Meteora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria I, II, IV, V and VII.The name means "lofty", "elevated", and is etymologically related to meteor.Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus (; Greek: Όλυμπος Olympos, for Modern Greek also transliterated Olimbos, [ˈolimbos] or [ˈolibos]) is the highest mountain in Greece. It is located in the Olympus Range on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia, between the regional units of Pieria and Larissa, about 80 km (50 mi) southwest from Thessaloniki. Mount Olympus has 52 peaks, deep gorges, and exceptional biodiversity. The highest peak, Mytikas (Μύτικας Mýtikas), meaning "nose", rises to 2,919 metres (9,577 ft). It is one of the highest peaks in Europe in terms of topographic prominence.Olympus is notable in Greek mythology as the home of the Greek gods, on Mytikas peak. Mount Olympus is also noted for its rich flora. It has been a National Park, the first in Greece, since 1938. It is also a World Biosphere Reserve.Every year, thousands of people visit Olympus to admire its fauna and flora, tour its slopes, and reach its peaks. Organized mountain refuges and various mountaineering and climbing routes are available to visitors who want to explore it. The usual starting point for climbing Olympus is the town of Litochoro, on the eastern foothills of the mountain, 100 km (62 mi) from Thessaloniki.Mount Ossa (Greece)
Mount Ossa (Greek: Όσσα), alternative Kissavos (Κίσσαβος, from South Slavic kisha "wet weather, rain"), is a mountain in the Larissa regional unit, in Thessaly, Greece. It is 1,978 metres (6,490 ft) high and is located between Pelion to the south and Olympus to the north, separated from the latter by the Vale of Tempe.
In Greek mythology, the Aloadaes are said to have attempted to pile Mount Pelion on top of Mount Ossa in their attempt to scale Olympus.Niki Volou FC
Niki Volos Football Club is a Greek football club based in the city of Volos, in the region of Magnesia. The club currently competes in Gamma Ethniki, the 3rd league of Greek football.Skantzoura
Skantzoura (Greek: Σκάντζουρα) is an island in the Sporades archipelago, Greek. The island is located 18 km (11 mi) southeast of the larger island of Alonnisos (to which it belongs administratively) and 31 km (19 mi) northwest of the island Skyros. As of 2011, it had no resident population. Skantzoura is in Zone B of the Alonnisos Marine Park.
Anciently, the island was called Scandira or Skandeira (Ancient Greek: Σκανδείρα) and Scandila.Skopelos
Skopelos (Greek: Σκόπελος) is a Greek island in the western Aegean Sea. Skopelos is one of several islands which comprise the Northern Sporades island group, which lies east of the Pelion peninsula on the mainland and north of the island of Euboea. It is part of the Thessaly region. Skopelos is also the name of the main port and the municipal center of the island. The other communities of the island are Glossa and Neo Klima (Elios). The geography of Skopelos includes two mountains over 500 m (1,640 ft); Delphi (681 m/2,234 ft) in the center of the island, and Palouki (546 m/1,791 ft) in the southeast. With an area of 96 square kilometres (37 sq mi) Skopelos is slightly larger than Mykonos (85 km2/33 sq mi) and Santorini (73 km2/28 sq mi). The nearest inhabited islands are Skiathos to the west and Alonissos to the east.Sporades
The (Northern) Sporades (; Greek: Βόρειες Σποράδες) are an archipelago along the east coast of Greece, northeast of the island of Euboea, in the Aegean Sea. They consist of 24 islands, four of which are permanently inhabited: Alonnisos, Skiathos, Skopelos and Skyros. They may also be referred to as the Thessalian Sporades (Θεσσαλικές Σποράδες).Tagus (title)
Tagus (Ancient Greek: τᾱγός, τάγης) was a Thessalian title for a leader or general, especially the military leader of the Thessalian League. When occasion required, a chief magistrate was elected under the name of Tagus, whose commands were obeyed by all the four districts of Thessaly (Phthiotis, Thessaliotis, Histiaeotis, Pelasgiotis). He is sometimes called king ("basileus", Herodotus, V.63), and sometimes "archon" (Dionysius. V.74). Accordingly, Pollux (I.128), in his list of military designations, classes together the Boeotarchs of the Thebans, the Kings of Sparta, the Polemarchs of the Athenians, (in reference to their original duties), and the Tagoi of the Thessalians. When Jason of Pherae was Tagus, he had an army of more than 8000 cavalry and not less than 20,000 hoplites. When Thessaly was not united under a Tagus, the subject towns possessed more independence. Philip II of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great exercised control over Thessaly as elected Tagoi. In later times some states called their ordinary magistrates "Tagoi".Trikala
Trikala (Greek: Τρίκαλα) is a city in northwestern Thessaly, Greece, and the capital of the Trikala regional unit. The city straddles the Lithaios river, which is a tributary of Pineios. According to the Greek National Statistical Service, Trikala is populated by 81,355 inhabitants (2011), while in total the Trikala regional unit is populated by 131,085 inhabitants (2011).Trikala (regional unit)
Trikala (Greek: Περιφερειακή ενότητα Τρικάλων) is one of the regional units of Greece, forming the northwestern part of the region of Thessaly. Its capital is the town of Trikala. The regional unit includes the town of Kalampaka and the Meteora monastery complex.Volos
Volos (Greek: Βόλος) is a coastal port city in Thessaly situated midway on the Greek mainland, about 330 kilometres (205 miles) north of Athens and 220 kilometres (137 miles) south of Thessaloniki. It is the capital of the Magnesia regional unit. Volos is the only outlet to the sea from Thessaly, the country's largest agricultural region. With a population of 144,449 (2011), it is an important industrial centre, while its port provides a bridge between Europe and Asia.
Volos is the newest of the Greek port cities, with a large proportion of modern buildings erected following the catastrophic earthquakes of 1955. It includes the municipal units 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. Home to the University of Thessaly, the city also offers facilities for conferences, exhibitions and major sporting, cultural and scientific events. Volos participated in the 2004 Olympic Games, and the city has since played host to other athletic events, such as the European Athletic Championships. Volos hosted the 7th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics from 27 July to 5 August 2013.
Administrative division of the Thessaly Region
|Regional unit of Karditsa|
|Regional unit of Larissa|
|Regional unit of Magnesia|
|Regional unit of the Sporades|
|Regional unit of Trikala|