Lamia (referred to from the 8th to the 19th century as Zitouni) is a city and capital of the Regional Unit of Fthiotida. It has a population of 52,006 inhabitants and is located on the slopes of Mount Othris, near the river Sperchios. It is a center of fertile rural and livestock area. With the implementation, on January 1, 2011, of the local government program "Kallikratis", Lamia remained as the seat of the enlarged Municipality of Lamia, which has a population of 75,235 inhabitants (official Census 2011). It also remained the seat of the Region of Central Greece, accumulating all the services provided.


According to mythology, Lamia was built by Lamos, the son of Hercules and Omphalis, the vile widow - queen of Lydia who bought Hercules from Hermes. Another version is that it was built by Lamia, the Queen of Trachinia, daughter of Poseidon. The word Lamia etymologically is related to "laimos" or "lamos", which means chasm, abyss or even insatiable, greedy. It is known that a large and deep stream passed through the city. On the northeastern side of People's Square, a recent excavation for reconstruction revealed a deep gorge with running water. After all, its plane trees are also indisputable witnesses. It is not excluded, therefore, that Lamia was named after this stream and the many Lamias that lived in those years in its dense vegetation. Another theory is the one mentioned by Aristotle. The word Lamia is feminine, adjective name and means the area, the country, the city located between two hills. Around 19 AD. Lamia for the first time loses its name and is called Sevasti in honor of the Roman emperor ("Sevastos" was the Greek rendering of the Latin title Augustus).

We do not know when it was renamed Lamia, nor do we know when and by whom it was renamed Zitouni. Perhaps this change took place in the time of Justinian. We first respond to it as a Zitouni in the HD Ecumenical Council, in 869. It appears with a variety of variants, such as: Zitounion, Zirtounion, Zitonion, Gipton (during Byzantine times), Situn (during the Frankish period), El Sito (during short occupation of the Catalans) and Izdin during the Turkish occupation. Many historians have tried to give some explanation as to the origin of the word. Some believe it comes from the Turkish or Arabic Zeitun which means olive. Others say that it comes from the Slavic word sitonion, which means the granary area or "land beyond the river".

Pre-Christian times
Lamia is built in a strategic position, on the southern slopes of Mount Othris. Recent excavations have shown that the area has been inhabited since at least the Bronze Age (2800-1100 BC). It must have flourished significantly from 413 BC. Already from the end of the 5th c. It must have been fortified, according to sections of fortifications on the citadel and in the present city.

However, the oldest written testimony about the fortification of Lamia comes from Diodoros Sikeliotis. The fortification was intended to monitor the valley of Sperchios, the coastal road and the narrow passage that leads to Thessaly. The city after the middle of the 4th c. e.g. came under the rule of Philip II of Macedonia. In 323 BC. Lamia will go down in history as the city of the "Lamian War", as there was the great conflict of the Macedonian army with the army of the Greek cities that fought the Macedonians. In 302 BC. was liberated by Demetrius the Besieger and until its occupation by the Romans remained under the influence of Thessaly and Aetolia.

Christian times
We do not have much historical information about its life in Christian times, apart from the fact that it was the seat of a diocese during the 5th and 6th centuries. From the 9th century (869-870), the city appears in the sources as Zitouni. In 1204, with the overthrow of Byzantine rule after the fall of Constantinople by the crusaders of the Fourth Crusade, it passed into the hands of the Franks, who founded the Baroness of Zitouni there, under the name Girton. The fortification of the citadel (Acrolamia) is mentioned for the first time as a Castle in a letter of Pope Innocent III (early 13th century). In 1218, it was occupied by the Despot of Epirus Theodoros Komninos Doukas. In 1275 the Castle was handed over by the ruler of Thessaly, John I Doukas, as a dowry to the later Duke of Athens, William de la Ross. In 1311, the Castle of Zitouni passed into the hands of the Catalans under the auspices of the kingdom of Naples, under the name El Cito. From 1446 it passed into the hands of the Turks until the liberation of the city in 1832-1833. In 1658, perhaps even earlier, the well-known bazaar with pan-Hellenic and pan-Balkan radiation began to operate in Lamia. From 1884 until World War II the Castle was used as a barracks. In 1973 the site was handed over from the Ministry of National Defense to the Ministry of Culture and in 1984 the Municipality of Lamia undertook its renovation and repair of the barracks, in order to house the Archaeological Museum of the city.


World War II - Liberation
October 18, 1944, on the day of the religious holiday of St. Luke, the city of Lamia is liberated, after the withdrawal of the Nazi troops and their retreat to the north. Already on October 17, forces of ELAS Roumelis (group of the XIII Division of ELAS) clashed with the Germans in Megali Vrysi where nine fighters were killed: Athanasios Psomas (Lamia), Dimitrios Varsos (Lamia), Elias Devesiadis (Lamia) Stylida), Ioannis Giannoutsos (Stylida), George Manolopoulos (Lamia), Ioannis Panoutsos (Lamia), Tzinavas (Lamia) and Thanasis Psomas who was seriously injured and later succumbed to his injuries. In the afternoon of the same day in Lamia, an SS team met at the railway line two young people from Lamia, Argyris Daitsiotis and Costas Gaitani. They were chased, captured by Gaitanis and executed on the spot shortly before the liberation bells rang.

On the night of October 18, the last German soldiers leave Lamia under the pounding of the divisions of the XIII Division that enter the city at dawn.

First came the regiment of Thymios Zoulas with the captain of ELAN Sotiris Begnis, but almost simultaneously from the other entrance of the city entered the section of Nikiforos (Dimitris Dimitriou) with the captain-Atromitos (Dimitris Kaperonis). On October 19, the III battalion of the 42nd regiment of Fotis Vermaios (Phoebus Grigoriadis) arrived in Lamia with its captain Pericles (George Chouliaras) and the 36th regiment of the XIII Division from Amfissa. Aris Velouchiotis arrived at dusk on October 20 in his hometown of Lamia, where the people welcomed them triumphantly.

Shortly before leaving, the Nazis had sabotaged the bombing of ammunition depots in the old barracks complex (Tsaltaki camp). The plan to blow up the ammunition and the city of Lamia, however, failed as the Austrian keyman Josef Blechinger (Elias Kokkinos) who worked on the railway (along with an Italian named Mario, as Kokkinos has stated) cut the ignition cord of the saboteurs. and saved the city from destruction.

The liberation of Lamia was bloodless, thanks to the heroism of this man and the ELAS forces that fought against the Nazis. In 1946, the Mayor of Lamia, Stavros Charalambopoulos, announces the intention of the Municipality to appoint the Evangelist Luke the patron saint of the city and the 18th of October, a local holiday. On June 25, 1948, a Royal Decree was published "On the recognition as a permanent local religious celebration of the ceremony of the Evangelist Luke of Lamia", by which the Evangelist Luke was appointed patron saint of the city.

On 18/10/1979, during the town hall of Ant. Friend, Elias Kokkinos was honored with the Medal of the City for his contribution to the city of Lamia (which was now his homeland) and its inhabitants.

The Castle of Lamia
The fortification system of Lamia consisted of two zones, the citadel and the wall of the lower city. The surviving fortification enclosure has a triangular plan and is preserved in good condition due to continuous repairs. Its perimeter reaches 600m. and its height varies reaching the NW corner at 13 meters.

The thickness of the masonry is on average 1.35m. and ends in jagged ramparts. The Castle has two gates, one to the SE, the so-called "iron gate", through which it communicated with the lower city and one to the NE that led to Orthry.

Reinforcing towers are erected near the gates, at the corners of the wall and at all patient points for defense. Internally, the space was divided by two transverse walls into three parts. The northern part (citadel) is located higher and served as the last refuge of the defenders of the Castle. The plateau of the SW corner served in the Middle Ages as a bastion and had a tank. Remains of glass are kept in the same place. In the time of Otto, a two-storey rectangular building was erected in the center of the middle plateau, which was a barracks until the beginning of World War II.


Building Phases
The fortified enclosure presents several construction phases. The oldest part of a polygonal system, dating to the 5th c. BC, is located in the NW corner of the west side. At the base of the NW tower there is an isodomic trapezoidal building system that can be dated from the end of the 5th to the beginning of the 4th c. e.g. An isodomic rectangular system meets several other points at the base of the wall. It remains uncertain whether there was any renovation of the wall in the time of Justinian. The masonry sections with intermediate use of binder mortar and tiles belong to repairs probably of Byzantine times, but also of the Franks and the Catalans. New additions and repairs were made during the Turkish occupation. The gates were formed at the same time. The additions of the Ottoman Empire are distinguished by the abundant use of plaster as a binder.

The ancient currency of Lamia
Lamia had minted a coin and several ancient coins have survived.

A silver Aeginian half drachma of the 4th c. e.g. depicts the left profile of the bust of Dionysus at a young age. She has long hair and wears an ivy wreath. The back side bears the inscription LAMIE on in two parts, left and right respectively and depicts an amphora, and below an ivy leaf. On the right, a winemaker. The coin has a diameter of 16 mm and weighs 2.77 grams.
A silver Aeginian obol of the 4th c. e.g. presents the same features as the previous currency. It has a diameter of 11 mm and weighs 0.89 grams.