Larissa. A “sweet” city amongst green dunes and imposing mountains
In the region of Thessaly, a capital city lies surrounded by lush valleys, and some of the most imposing mountains in Greece. Larissa, with a population of approximately 130,000 residents, is a city where ancient history and long tradition in agriculture meet the modern way of living. To the north and east, Kamvounia mountains, Titaros, Olympus (with the highest mountain peak in Greece reaching 2,917m.), Ossa (or Kissavos) and Mavrovouni form a natural enclave. Here the micro-climatic conditions create an ideal wild life habitat. The soil of the area is also exceptionally fertile: cotton, grains, watermelon, melon, tobacco, vegetables, wine and tsipouro are only some of this land’s agricultural products. Larissa is also the centre of the economic activity in Thessaly with an ongoing development in industry, as well as the service sector.
Since we are here, let’s go on a walking tour to get to know the city better. Point of departure will be the acropolis on the hill of Agios Ahillios (Saint Achilles, the patron saint of the city), a location which has been continuously inhabited since the Neolithic period. During the Classical period it constituted the citadel of Larissa. A fortress was also built here by the Byzantines during the early years of their empire. Today, only the 15th century Turkish market survives, constructed with the remains of older structures. On the southern slope of the hill we can visit the ruins of the ancient theatre. In close proximity to this theatre, was recently discovered a smaller one, which is also of great archaeological importance.
On the top of this hill, amongst the old monuments, Larisians build their day-to-day life. This is the city’s most idyllic spot to take leisurely walks, and to enjoy the traditional Thessalian cuisine. A great variety of delicious meat dishes, a collection of the best Greek cheeses, wine and thessaliko tsipouro (tripouro from Thessaly) are served to you in tavernas, and “mezedopoleia” (where wide range of mezedes, little plates of food, are served). Drink a cappuccino, or taste the various types of coffees offered at the modern cafes of the city.
Walk all the way to Larissa’s busy commercial centre, which is developed in an extensive network of pedestrianized streets. Go out on a late-night, or morning shopping; shop for you, your family, or your home, and stroll slowly around the city-centre. Combine your shopping experience with a visit to the Archaeological museum, or the Historical & Folk Art museum and the Municipal Library, or attend painting and sculpture exhibitions at the Municipal Art Gallery. When night sets in, enjoy musical concerts, or theatrical plays staged by the famous Thessalian Theatre, and discover the city’s bursting night-life in its numerous bars, night clubs, and interesting music scenes.
But that’s not all. Spend a whole day exploring more beautiful spots of the city: the Alkazar Park stretches along the Pinios (or Pineios) river. Take long walks across the river, surrounded by big, evergreen trees, or take mini-golf course, and rest near small, ornamental ponds. The park also hosts an outdoor theatre during the summertime. Pedal past the magnificent mansions that adorn the town’s streets, and explore “Papa’s Mill”, a renovated architectural complex, where the old warehouses were located. Finally, at the outskirts of the city, on the road to Tyrnavos, visit the monument of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, where the tomb of the great scientist was discovered in 1826.