Cultural Routes

The LINE OF CULTURE is a cultural effort of the bodies of our city that aims at the promotion of our cultural heritage and our precious and long-lasting history.

It is a special line of LARISSA URBAN KTEL, which, in collaboration with the education procedure, provides knowledge of history and culture, while, at the same time, it combines the amusing character of the tour with the substantial contact with the city of Larissa.

In order to implement the above idea, which today constitutes an institution for our city, the following persons collaborated with each other: the then President of the Municipal Art Gallery of Larissa - G.I. Katsigras Museum, Mr. Marios Xiromeritis, the then Regional Director of Education, Mr. Argyris Chadoulis, and the President of LARISSA URBAN KTEL, Mr. Michalis Sakellariou.

The cultural route is shown on the map below.

Besides the cultural route, there is the city route which is shown on the map below.

 

A’ Ancient Theater

Meagre building remains of the historical past of Larissa have been salvaged until nowadays, which have become known to us through famous references and inscriptions. Only the two ancient theatres have been saved and are visible today, which are tangible witnesses of its brilliant past. This is due to the use of perishable materials, such as plinths, woods and mortar that do not always leave visible traces, and to the rarity of the stone of the Thessalian plain, which leads to the need to re-use the structural material of old buildings.  

Nevertheless, the fragmentary information of ancient literary sources and mainly the archaeological witnesses inform us about the precedence of ancient Larissa over the other cities of Thessaly since the end of 7th century B.C. as well as its absolute predominance over a great area of the fertile Thessalian plain.

The First Ancient Theatre of Larissa was built on the southern slope of Frourio hill. Its construction is linked on the one hand to the worship of the God Dionysus during theatrical and music activities and on the other hand to the administration of the Thessalian Koinon for the meetings of the city assembly, called agora. The evidence for these is a small altar dedicated to Dionysus that was found near to the theatre, where there was a sanctuary and the names of representatives of the city – state that participated in the Federation of Thessaly are shown on the benches of the ancient theater. The oldest reference to this monument derives from an inscription found in the city, which dates back to the first half of the 2nd century B.C. It is about a court decision that deals with the infringement of a part of the surrounding area of the theatre by a civilian. Therefore, we are given the possibility to know a terminus ante quem for its construction. During the centuries that followed, from the moment when the theatre stopped being used in the last Roman years, a systematic stone extraction is observed and the occupied space is gradually earth-filled.

In recent years, Greek and foreign tourists, historians and archaeologists that visit Thessaly and Larissa make mention of the theatre. At the beginning of the 20th century, upon the filling of the theatre, ground-level residences and stores of shallow foundation but with very deep septic tanks, some of which hurt the marbles, are built. During the 1960s, the damages became very severe due to the construction of new buildings in the place of old ones. At the same time, the street named Alexandros Papanastasiou (ex Akropoleos), which led from Venizelou Street to the top of Frourio hill, was cut.

The excavation and discovery of the first ancient theatre started in 1910 by the then curator of antiquities, Apostolos Arvanitopoulos, who discovered a part of the scene, covered the whole 20th century and have continued until today.

The First Ancient Theatre of Larissa was constructed towards the first half of the 3rd century B.C. during the reign of Antigonus Gonatas of Macedonia. The theatre was in use for six centuries, until the end of the 3rd century A.D. or the beginning of the 4th century A.D.), when its operation was abruptly stopped. The theatre has the typical structure of the Hellenistic theater with three basic components: koilon, orchestra and scene. The orchestra had a diameter of about 25 meters. The koilon of the ancient theater was the same slope of Frourio hill, which was shaped into terraces for the placement of benches. A corridor, the diazoma that served the comfortable movement of the spectators, divided the koilon into the main theatre (lower section) and the epitheatro (upper section).

The epithearo is divided by 20 staircases into 22 cunei, comprising 15 rows of seats each, while the main theatre is divided by 10 staircases into 11 cunei, each cuneus counting 25 rows of seats, the first one of which belonged to presidency.

The orchestra is surrounded by a built sewage pipeline designed for the removal of the rainwater, which penetrates the foundation of the scene through two exits on the south side of rooms at edge of the scene. The parodoi with the retaining walls are preserved in excellent condition. They are constructed out of white marble plinths with masterly marble sculpture.

The roads of parodoi were marble-paved, because they were not just small roads that were driving to the monument but large pompous roads as the ancient theatre was included in the city planning network of the ancient Larissa. The road of the right parodos communicated with the second ancient theatre and next with the main exit of Larissa to Falanna and Olassona. The road of the left parodos was connected with the ancient marketplace.

The scene is the most well-preserved part of the monument. It is in substance an individual and magnificent building that consists of four rooms communicating through three entrances. The middle two rooms that communicated with each other served as dressing rooms of actors and the position of the dramatist. The rooms at the edge of the scene that had entries on the south side were simply used for storage. The scene was built in three phases: The first phase dates back to the first half of the 3rd century B.C. and coincides with the construction of the koilon and retaining walls. The four rooms were built with carved poros stones that derive from the ancient quarry of the area “Krintiri” of Tyrnavos.

In the second phase (first half of the 2nd century B.C.), in front of the scene, to the side of the orchestra a colonnade was constructed, the proscenium. It had six jambs and six monolithic engaged Doric columns in line, which were based on a euthynteria of marble stone plinths. The engaged Doric columns supported the Doric entablature, situated in the road parallel to the scene and at various points suspended benches were placed that connected the colonnade with the front wall of the scene. For the safe support of suspended benches, the front wall was amplified by an internal series of poros stones. The proscenium had three entrances on the same axis of the entrances of the scene.

The third building phase dates back to the years of the Roman emperor, Octavian Augustus (28 B.C. – 14 A.D.), and of his successor, Tiberius (14 B.C. – 31 A.D.).  Honorary inscriptions for the two emperors were found on cornices of the Doric entablature of the scene. In the same period of time, the front series of poros stones of the lateral rooms was replaced with marble overlay. Moreover, in the front of the scene, marble engaged Doric columns with Doric capitals were added and in the edges four pillars were carved. The marble that covered the epitheatro, the main theatre, the parodoi and the retaining walls comes from the ancient quarry of Municipal District of Kastri in Agia.

Frourio hill (“Fortress” hill)

It is about a location where the first indications of habitation of the city have been found since the Neolithic period and which later was the ancient citadel of the city on the south side, where the first ancient theatre is situated. During the Byzantine period, it was the centre of commerce, while during the Ottoman period it was the centre of commerce and defense. Nowadays, in the hill, the fortress-bedesten that was built by the Ottomans at the end of 15th century and served as a covered marketplace is preserved and later, after some changes in the external view, it was used as a powder-magazine and fortress for the liberation of Thessaly in 1881 (in the current form of the building). Furthermore, an early Christian basilica has been found and it is rumored that it is the first church of the city dedicated to the patron saint, Agios Achilleios, which was built in the 6th century A.D., while in this location a grave was found that may belong to Agios Achilleios, the first patron saint of the city. Even on the east side of the bedesten/fortress and early Christian basilica an early Christian bathroom and a church from the middle Byzantine period have been found, while findings of the ancient citadel of Larissa (parts of marble columns, capitals and others) have been discovered in excavations in the hill. The unique place by which we can form an image of the Byzantine Larissa is found in Frourio hill, where the early Christian church of the first metropolitan of the city, Agios Achilleios, was preserved as well as a bathroom and a church from the middle Byzantine period with some remains of a residential complex of the same era. In this complex the most important Ottoman monument of Larissa, the bedesten, is included, which is a covered marketplace dated back to 15th century.

 

Yeni Mosque

It is about a building housed temporarily in the Archaeological Museum of Larissa. It was built at the end of the 19th century and it was donated by Queen Olga to the remaining Muslims in the city of Larissa. It is located in the People’s Square, opposite the Holy Temple of Agios Vissarion and Music School.

Buyuk Hamam/Bayrakli Mosque

Buyuk Hamam, a building dated back to 16th century, is salvaged today in good condition. It is used by various shops and its doom can be seen while being at Venizelou Street. It is found in the intersection of Venizelou and Fillelinon streets. Moreover, a great part of Bayrakli Mosque, dated back to the Turkish domination (15th century), has been salvaged and is located in the intersection of Papaflessa and Ossas streets, at the region of Frourio.

Monument (Grave) of Hippocrates

The father of Medicine, Hippocrates, has lived the last years of his life in Larissa, where he also died. A flood in the 19th century revealed his grave in the exit of the ancient city going to Gyrtoni. Near there, a modern monument was set up with a marble statue of Hippocrates. Moreover, a Medical Museum was founded.

Municipal Art Gallery of Larissa - G.I. Katsigras Museum

The Municipal Art Gallery of Larissa - G.I. Katsigras Museum since its first year of establishment in 1983 until today has been fully integrated into the social network of the city, having also contributed to the full establishment of fine arts in the city of Larissa and in its wider region by developing polymorphous activities, such as periodic exhibitions, invitations to artists, collaboration with museums, galleries, educational foundations, educational programs, meetings, tours, publishing range to widen the acceptance of the public by awakening citizens through various ways of participation and interconnection, contributing, therefore, to the cultural advancement of Larissa that becomes a center of attraction with international impact. At the new building, which was inaugurated in November 2003, a part of the Collection G.I. Katsigras is displayed. The Collection G.I. Katsigras constitutes a donation of the famous doctor and collector of Larissa and is one of the most significant collections in the country and is unique within Greek territory. It consists of 781 paintings, carvings and drafts of important Greek artists for the period between the middle of 19th century and middle 20th century. At the Municipal Art Gallery of Larissa - G.I. Katsigras Museum, a part of the collection is displayed with paintings of the following artists: Lytras, Iakovidis, Maleas, Parthenis, Triantafyllidis, Gounaropoulos, Asteriadis, Vasileiou, Psychopaidis, Bouzianis, Sikeliotis, Tassos and various others as well as Heinrich Schliemann's furniture.

At the Municipal Art Gallery of Larissa - G.I. Katsigras Museum operates the “Fine and Applied Arts Workshop” that has departments of painting for children and adults as well as departments of pottery, angiography and mosaic. Furthermore, there is an Artistic Library that is equipped with 3.500 books of great historic, cultural and artistic value derived from the donation of G. Katsigras and the Artistic Centre of Modern Art. In addition, in the Gallery, there is a shop.

 

Historical Centre of Larissa and Frourio Hill - Agios Achilleios

It is a great part of the center that includes the wider area from Frourio hill until the central square as well as from People’s Square, in which, after its reconstruction, we can find a part of the wall of the city, until the river. Within these limits, a large part of the ancient Larissa is preserved, mainly the part of the ancient marketplace with the old buildings dated from 19th century – beginning of 20th century. Many of these buildings are of neoclassical architecture and house mainly commercial shops, taverns and bars, which surround most monuments of the city forming in this way a unified picturesque total. In Frourio hill the metropolitan church of Agios Achilleios is situated in a position with a view to the north side of the city. Near to the church, the paved square of Frourio (Lamproulis) is found, which is encircled by the building of Frourio and many archaeological findings that are mentioned above. Another important archaeological area will be created, when the construction works of the parking are completed in the People’s Square and the antiquities are replaced there. The visitor will be able to form an image for the eastern fortification of the city during the early Christian period as well as the same wall along with the towers and rampart that surround it and the bathroom of the same era will be placed.  The People’s Square, in our opinion, can be connected with the antiquities of Frourio as well as with the Ottoman monuments, such as Yeni Mosque, Buyuk Hamam at Venizelou Street and Bayrakli Mosque at Andritsou Street through a pavement network, which has been scheduled in relation to the Ancient Theatre. A mini expansion of the pavement from Venizelou Street until Olympou Street, even during weekends, will allow the citizens of Larissa to enjoy their walk in archeological areas starting from Mosque (today is a museum) until Frourio, visiting, except ancient theatre, most Byzantine and modern monuments of the city. It is worth noting that the expropriation procedure of Bayrakli Mosque is completed soon and the exploitation of another significant monument, dated back to 15th century, will be feasible.

 

Ethnographical Historical Museum of Larissa

The Ethnographical Historical Museum of Larissa watches and presents views of the Modern Greek culture focusing on the area of Thessaly. The time limits, covered by the material of collections, range between the 16th century and middle of the 20th century and these collections mainly concern the traditional culture of the region until its full deindustrialization during the 1950s. The permanent exhibition of the museum pays attention to the traditional pre-mechanical culture of the country life, while the urban landscape is chiefly depicted by periodic exhibitions. The museum with its presence and multifarious activity, aims at the preservation, study and promotion of the pre-mechanical culture of Thessaly as well as at its placement on the map of the Modern Greek culture.
 

New Archaeological - Byzantine Museum

It is the new building to which the existing archeological museum will be transferred, being re-organized and with an increase in exhibitions, and new exhibitions inspired by the Byzantine period will be created.

 

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