LARISA the Undervalued!
If you would have asked me as a Greek few weeks ago about the city of Larisa I would have told you that its a city of no interest at all to someone. Don’t bother. Well, I was totally wrong!
We were in the city of Larisa from December 6th to December 8th, 2019 invited by Alpha Marketing in order to get to know the city and of course the surrounding areas. It turned out to be an unforgettable experience, a very pleasant surprise that left us with the best impressions in every respect, and we warmly thank Tassos Gousios and Mina Tolidou for the impeccable organization.
On Friday night, shortly after our arrival, at a good and recently refurbished hotel in the city center, the „Metropol”, we started off with good food in the city and walked up to the “Park of Wishes” on the banks of the Peneios river, where a large Christmas village for children and adults has been set up.
Nice atmosphere, festive, under the plane trees, between colourful fountains small and large on es, all by the river.
Saturday began with a visit to the Diachronic Museum of Larissa, as it is called. A jewel of the region, with incredible treasures dating from the Paleolithic period (from the appearance of man up to 10.000 BC) to the Neolithic era (6500-3200 BC) and continuing until the “End of the Empires” (15th-19th century) referring to the Byzintine and the Ottoman Periods.
The museum does not focus on the sites where the findings were found, but presents them chronologically in order to highlight the rich history of the area through the millennia. Each time period, depending on number of findings, occupies the corresponding space inside the museum.
It is located just outside Larissa in a nice tree-lined area, well organized for easy access to tourist buses and private cars. The museum is spacious, on one level and very well lit! A place that predisposes you positively and causes you to explore it.
I believe that a visit to the Diachronic Museum of Larissa should definitely be included in the program for every visitor to the area.
The visit to the Museum was followed by a visit to the family winery “Estate Zafiraki” in Tyrnavos, in order to completely change images and experiences. “Zafiraki Estate”, is a winery with limited wine production , many distinctions and awards and especially known for the revival of an old Greek grape variety the “Limnionas“. Limnionas is one of the rare red varieties that lead to wines with extract, condensation, acidity, aromas and flavors that do not tend to become thick with a full body.
We visited the premises of the estate, saw the various stages of wine preparation and Mr. Zafeirakis was very informative. After the tour we had the opportunity to taste different varieties of wines, seven in total, and find out about their differences, their way of production, the soil they require in order get the specific aromas and flavors, the time to harvest and much more! I felt for a while like a sommelier.
It was a very interesting experience that left us with the best of impressions!
What followed though in the city of Larisa that was for me the best!
The First Ancient Theater of Larissa, literally inside the city, was built in the first half of the 3rd century BC, during the reign of King Antigonus Gonatas of Macedonia. It has been active for about six centuries and could accomodate over 10,000 spectators! A jewel like few of its kind in Greece.
But it is not the only attraction. Just above the “Fortress Hill” is Bezesteni (from the Persian word “bez” meaning cloth), was a “covered” market of the city during the Ottoman period, which was in use until the late 19th century, mainly as a textile market.
Yeni Mosque, the only mosque that has survived in the city since the Ottoman occupation. In the future it will function as a Cultural Interconnection Point.
Great Ottoman Bath (BUYUK HAMAM), which is located at Venizelos street. Two-domed building. Today it incorporates modern shops.
2nd Ancient Theater at the junction of Tagmatarchis Velesarios and Protomagia streets. It began to be built in the 1st century B.C. It was never completed due to financial hardship. Today it hosts small-scale performances as well as various artistic events.
Ruins of the Byzantine Church, on the “Fortress Hill” above the First Ancient Theater.
“Papa’s Mill” was the end of our tour in the city of Larissa. Designated as Industrial Heritage Monument, a restored building complex has been converted into a Cultural Polycentre and includes the Museum of Grains and Flour, which we toured, the Mill Theater, the Doll Theater, the Doll Museum, the Ballet Primary School, the “Mylos 1927” music scene and the “Milos Bar“.
We didn’t have time for 🙁
- Hippocrates Monument & Museum
- Museum of National Resistance
- Dollhouse Museum “Tiritoba”
- Railway Museum
- The Observatory “Aristefs”
- Museum of Veterinary Military Service of Larisa
and other sights this city has to show.
One full day was over, many beautiful and different images filled us from morning till night, our souls were content and we discovered a city which to my eyes as Greek was completely undervalued.
Our last day was dedicated to the surrounding area, namely Elassona, Azoro and Sparmo.
We toured the archaeological sites of Pythio, Azoro and Olossona. With the help of Archaeologists, Historians and Environmentalists we learned about the Perreviki Tripoli, a type of community between Azores, Doliches and Pythio. Everything was of great interest at the foot of Mount Olympus with its snow-capped peaks. Magnificent images!
Warm Acknowledgments to Mrs. Sdrolia Stavroula, Archaeologist and Head of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Larissa, who guided us to the museum, the city of Larissa and the above archaeological sites, and to Mr. Spyros Anagnostakis, an environmentalist who told us very lively and passionately about the beauties of nature we were seeing and the stories that he himself had experienced.
Lastly, we visited the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, built at an altitude of 1000 meters, with its foundation dating back to the middle of the 16th century. In the monastery there are relics of many saints, such as the Holy Forerunner, Saint Lazarus, Saint Charalambus, Saint Panteleimon, Saint John Chrysostom, etc.
We were welcomed by a very warm welcome from the monks, in their guesthouse the traditional loukoumi (Turkish delight) with rose aroma, excellent, was waiting for us as well as mountain tea or Greek coffee.
The day ended with great food and wine in Pythio, courtesy of the very hospitable Mayor of Elassona Mr. Gatsas Nikolaos.