|Population As Of:||2001|
|Postal Code:||41x xx|
Larissa (Greek, Modern (1453-): '''Λάρισα''', Lárisa) is a city and the capital of the Thessaly periphery of Greece, and capital of the Larissa Prefecture. It is a principal agricultural centre and a national transportation hub, linked by rail with the port of Volos and with Thessaloniki and Athens. 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 before Christ. A major commercial and industrial centre, Larissa sits in the middle of the plain of Thessaly, a few kilometers off the Athens-Thessaloniki National Road. Legend has it that Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, died here.
There are a number of highways 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 located in Nea Anchialos in a small distance from Larissa.
Larissa lies on the river Pineios.
The Larissa Chasma, a deep gash in the surface of Dione, a natural satellite of Jupiter, 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" http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%2361971 . In Greek mythology the nymph Larissa was a daughter of the primordial man Pelasgus.
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 404 (retold in Xenophon's Anabasis) meant to help Cyrus the Younger, son of Darius II, king of Persia, 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).
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 Athens 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.
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 Pharsala took place on the April 23 1897. Until 1881 Larissa was the seat of a pasha in the wilaya of Iannina; 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 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 in April 25. After a treaty for peace was signed, they withdrew and Larissa remained permanently in Greece. This was followed by a further exodus of Turks in 1898.
Places of interest near Larissa
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).
Larissa is twinned with: