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Larissa


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Larissa, Greece

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, Kamvoúnia mountains, Títaros, Olympus (with the highest mountain peak in Greece reaching 2,917m.), Óssa (or Kissavos) and Mavrovoúni 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.

Larissa (Greek Λάρισα) (Population: 200.000 (2011)) is the 4th biggest city in Greece capital of Prefecture of Larissa and region of Thessaly. Larissa is from Athens (355 km) and Thessaloniki (150 km). A lively agricultural and university town, it is visited by few tourists. Nevertheless, its sights and energetic cafe and bar scene makes it worth a stop.

Climate - Weather

Greece has a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures and a limited amount of rainfall.

Due to the country's geographical position, its rugged relief and its distribution between the mainland and the sea, there is great variation in Greece's climate.

In summer, the dry hot days are cooled by seasonal winds called the meltemi, while mountainous regions have generally lower temperatures.

The winters are mild in lowland areas, with a minimum amount of snow and ice, yet, mountains are usually snow-covered. Moreover, a common phenomenon is the occurrence of different climactic conditions during the same season (for instance, mild heat in coastal areas and cool temperatures in mountainous regions).

What to see?

  • Ancient Greek Theater Greek: Built by the Macedonian King Philip V in 3rd century BC. It sits at the foot of the ancient Acropolis. The Acropolis during classical times held the temple of Polias Athena and during medieval times the Kastro (Castle). The theater is on the north end of the central district. It is not open to the public but can be well seen from along Elftheriou Venizelou street.
  • Second Theater Dating from the Roman period. Smaller and not as well preserved as the Greek Theater nearby. Two rows of seats remain along with a portion of the stage. The site is not open but can viewed from the streets nearby. It is near the center of town at the intersection of Ergatiki Protomagia and Tagmatarhou Velissariou streets.
  • Archaeological Museum of Larissa Occupying a former mosque (Augoustou 31), this museum contains a collection of artifacts from the Neolithic age as well as from the classical Greek and Roman times and into the Middle Ages.
  • Municipal Art Gallery - G I Katsigras Museum Greek: Contains a collection of modern Greek art (19th and 20th century). (Franklinou Roosevelt 59)
  • Historical & Folklore Museum
  • St. Achilios, the Cathedral of the city.
  • Municipal Gallery of Larissa - G.I. Katsigras Museum
  • Veterinary Military Museum of Larissa
  • First Ancient Theatre, Larissa
  • CERETETH, Center of Technology Thessaly
  • 2014 Mediterranean Games Larissa-Volos

What to do?

  • Go on a walking tour to get to know the city better. Point of departure will be the acropolis on the hill of Áyios Ahíllios (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 thessalikó tsípouro (tripouro from Thessaly) are served to you in tavernas, and “mezedopoleia” (where wide range of mezédes, little plates of food, are served). Drink a cappuccino, or taste the various types of coffees offered at the modern cafés 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 - Go to parks - Alkazar Park. Just across the river from the town center and along the Pinios River. A nice place to cool down and relax with a large fountain and a statue of Hippocrates who is supposed to have been buried in Larissa.
  • Spend a whole day exploring more beautiful spots of the city: the Alkazár 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 “Papá’s Mill”, a renovated architectural complex, where the old warehouses were located. Finally, at the outskirts of the city, on the road to Týrnavos, visit the monument of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, where the tomb of the great scientist was discovered in 1826.
  • Ski and snow board at Olympus Ski Resort, located in “Vrissopoules”, 72 km N of Larissa.
  • Hiking and cycling by the Peneus river banks.
  • Go to cinemas - films shown in original language with Greek subtitles. Cartoons are often translated to Greek.
  • Ster Cinema, (In Pantheon shopping center on south side of city).
  • Watch the football - AEL 1964 FC (Larissa), AEL FC Arena (Niapoli District). Plays in the Greek Football League. AEL's stadium holds over 16,000 seats.

What and where to buy?

There many shops downtown. Be aware that shopping hours vary by the day of the week. Monday-Saturday shops are open from around 9am to 2pm. Monday, Wednesday and Friday they reopen around 6pm and stay open until 8 or 9 pm. On Sundays about the only places open are cafes, restaurants, and kiosks.

Malls:
  • Pantheon Plaza. A big mall with a lot of shops. Among others: Mediamarkt, Fokas. Also many cafeterias and places to eat, e.g. Goody's. Cinema too.  edit
  • GAEA LIFESTYLE CENTER, Αγίας Τριάδας 60. A mall with shops.

What and where to eat?

The choices for eating are Taverns (Ταβέρνα) where mostly meat dishes are served, Restaurants (Εστιατόριο) where Greek dishes can be found (there are Italian and Chinese restaurants also), Psistaries (Ψησταριά) (Grill houses) where the main dish is grilled meat, Fast Food choices are local Souvlatzidika (Οβελιστήριο or Σουβλατζίδικο) where souvlaki is served, and typical fast food chains such as Goody's, To-Eat, and Everest.

People in Greece usually eat late in the evening (21:00 - 24:00), during the day most Taverns, Psistaries and Restaurants are closed. However, Fast Food restaurants are open all day long.

Restaurants (Εστιατόριο) and Taverns (Ταβέρνα)

There is a large concentration of restaurants along Filellinon Street on the north side of the central district.

Budget - Kimatothrafstis (Κυματοθραύστης), Kentavron 2 (Κεντάυρων 2). The cheap place to eat. Small plate for 3.5€, big for 6€, soup for 3€.  

Mid range
  • Nikodimos (Νικόδημος), Karaiskaki 2. Nice old tavern with a nice backyard  
  • Syndrivani. On south side of Platiea Ethnarhou Makariou, open all day and known for its lamb and moussaka.  
  • Psistaries (Ψησταριά) (Grill houses) - Psistaries serve mostly meat, salads and french fries. The meat usually is ordered by weight, and the price is per kilo also. One portion is 330gr of grilled meat.

Local specialities:
  • Batzina
  • Kelaidi (Κελαηδί)
  • Kreatopita
  • Loukanikopita
  • Melintzanopita
  • Tyropita

Nightlife

Winter bars, pubs and clubs, usually close down during summer. Most of them have a different facility for the summer. Dancing іn clubs іs common only during a party.
Winter

Tsipouro іs a very famous beverage іn Greece, but most of the areas іn Thessaly are famous for making some of the purest and strongest tsipouro іn the country. It's really good іn cold weather, because of іts high concentration іn alcohol. Tyrnavos іs known for іts local production whіch іs known and sold as Tsipouro Tyrnavou.

Tsipouro, Ouzo or Wine, as іn the rest of Greece, are good choices. There are many bars downtown, so the visitor іs not expected to have any problem finding a place to enjoy a drink. Youths buy drinks and sit around the Frourio square during the summer nights while the restaurants and pubs іn that area thrive wіth people thіs season. Another popular place іs Neapoli square where a big number of pubs іs to be found around the square.

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