Volos is a city in Thessaly, built in the inland of the Pagasitic
Gulf, near the site of ancient Iolkos and at the foot of the
mountain of Centaurs, Pelion. It is one of the largest cities and
one of the most important ports in Greece.
The permanent population of the Municipal Unit of Volos amounts to 86,046 inhabitants, according to the 2011 Census, while the entire urban complex has 125,248 inhabitants. The population of the enlarged "Kallikratiko" Municipality of Volos amounts to 144,449 inhabitants.
The origin of the name Volos is not fully
documented. According to some, the word Volos is attributed to a
corruption of the ancient name Iolkos (Iolkos> Giolkos> Golos>
Volos). Still others claim that the name Volos came from the name
Folos, which according to mythology was a rich landowner of the
area. According to a third version (see The Revolution of
Thettalomagnesia, by G. Kordatos), the word Volos or Volos comes
from the Slavic deity "Volos" or "Veles" and corresponds to the
Greek ancient deity Demeter, as the city was formerly called
Finally, according to a fourth version, the name Volos is a corruption of the Italian word golfo, which means bay. The fact is, however, that the place name Volos appeared around the 14th century. and was first used for the village that is built at the foot of Pelion and that today is called Ano Volos.
The area of Volos, ancient Magnesia, is one of the
first areas inhabited in Greece. The settlements discovered in the
nearby villages of Sesklo and Dimini date from the 7th millennium
BC, while the cultural presence in the area continues uninterrupted
to this day.
In ancient times
The wider area of Volos gathers some of the most important Neolithic sites of the entire Balkan Peninsula. Archaeological excavations in the area have brought to light about forty Neolithic settlements (7th – 8th millennium BC), several of which continued their activities during the Bronze Age (3000–1500 BC). Most important Neolithic settlements were discovered by archaeologist Christos Tsountas in the early 20th century. in Sesklo and Dimini. In these places, the researches revealed characteristic written ceramics, bone and stone tools, as well as obsidian objects that came from Milos.
Important Mycenaean sites have been discovered on the hill of Agios Theodoros, in the current district of Volos "Palea", and in Pefkakia. The foundation of Iolkos, an important economic and spiritual center of the region, dates back to the Mycenaean period, which is directly connected with the famous myth of the Argonaut campaign. Earlier researchers estimated that the location of Iolkos was in Palea. However, more recent archaeological finds substantiate the view that the seat of the kings of Iolkos was not in Palea, but in Dimini, which was then by the sea. In Kastro-Palea, two signs with Linear B writing were found, one of which had legible symbols. They are the only Linear B signs found in Thessaly. There was the center of economic activities based on agriculture and livestock, while commercial activities took place from the port of Pefkakia. In the classical period (6th century BC) the Pagases flourished, which were the port of Fera.
In 293/292 BC. The king of Macedonia Demetrios the Besieger founded the town of Demitriada on the peninsula now called Pefkakia, uniting the Pagases with various neighboring comas. Demitrias was a strong military base and stronghold of the Macedonians. At the same time it developed into an important commercial center during the period 217-168 BC. The city was built according to the hippodameian system and was surrounded by a strong wall. In the eastern part of the city was the palace, to the south the market and to the west the theater. Many tombstones have been found in the area that give interesting facts about the economy, society and art of the time. In 197 BC. Demetrias fell into the hands of the Romans.
From the early Christian to the post-Byzantine years
Demetrias continued to prosper during the Roman conquest. Together with Fthiotides Thebes, near today's Nea Anchialos, they were the most important centers of early Christian and Byzantine Thessaly, constituting the outlet of the hinterland to the sea. In fact, from the 5th c. AD, Demitrias became the seat of a bishop, whose title he retains to this day.
At the end of the 6th century, due to the Slavic invasions, Fthiotides Thebes were abandoned, while the inhabitants of Demitriada took refuge for protection on the hill of Ag. Theodoron in Palea, where there was a pre-existing settlement fortified by the emperor Justinian (551 AD). In the following centuries the city lost its importance, as it was insecure in the attacks of Saracen pirates.
In 1204, after the conquest of Constantinople by the Crusaders, Demitrias was given to the Melissians, a famous Byzantine family and especially to its local branch. At that time of the Latin occupation, the Battle of Demitriados took place in the port of the city, between the Byzantines and the Latins. In the 14th century, the place name Volos is found for the first time.
In 1423 the castle of Palea fell into the hands of the Ottomans. Then the Christian inhabitants began to leave the coastal areas and migrate to the hills of Pelion. Towards the end of the 16th century, the seat of Bishop Demitriados was moved to Ano Volos.
The Ottoman Empire
During the Turkish occupation, the economic and intellectual
activity of the region was transferred to Pelion, which was favored
by the privileged status granted to it by the Ottoman conquerors.
From the 17th c. and until the Greek Revolution of 1821, Pelion
developed into one of the most important first industrial and
intellectual centers of Greece. At the same time, the castle of
Volos was an exclusive area of the Ottomans, where the settlement
of Christians was forbidden or avoided.
During the outbreak of the Greek revolution of 1821, the villages of Pelion took the side of the revolutionaries, but the Turks managed, by force, to suppress the uprising within a year (1822). The castle of Volos was besieged by Spetses ships without success. In 1827 the Battle of Volos took place, in which the steamer Corvette "Karteria" participated with the Greek side, which was the first steam-powered warship in the world to participate in military operations.
The current city of Volos began to be built outside the old castle shortly after 1830. Its favorable geographical position, due to the port, contributed to its development into an economic center of Thessaly. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1877 and the conference of Constantinople (1881), Thessaly was ceded to the modern Greek state, and on November 2, 1881, the Greek Army entered the city of Volos.
During the unfortunate Greek-Turkish war of 1897, Volos fell again into the hands of the Turks. The inhabitants of the area were forced to seek refuge on neighboring islands, but after a few months the Turks left and so the people of Volos and Pelion returned to their homes.
In recent years
Two years after the liberation of Thessaly, with a royal decree of March 31, 1883 (Government Gazette 126), the Municipality of Pagasson was founded, the predecessor of the current Municipality of Volos. The development of the new city was rapid. The craft and agricultural tradition of Pelion, its port as well as the neighborhood funds that flowed into the area were some of the factors that favored the economic development of the city with main directions of trade and industry. The favorable position and the rapid economic development of the city attracted residents and investors from other areas. The brief occupation of Volos during the Greek-Turkish war of 1897 did not have long-term effects on its development.
In 1886, the railway connection of Volos with Larissa and Kalambaka was completed. Also in 1895, the railway line Volos-Lehonia began to operate, which extended to Milies in 1904. At the same time, in 1892, the port construction works began, which continued after the First World War, to meet the growing needs. movement of goods. In 1919, the port of Volos was the first in tobacco exports to Greece, with an export rate of 30%.
Gathering all the conditions - capital, labor, expanded internal market, access to raw materials - Volos developed before the war into an important industrial center. The main industries were food, metal, tobacco, textiles and tanneries.
The catastrophe in Asia Minor brought new blood to the developing
city of Volos, which, despite the great need for labor, fell victim
to widespread racism. The refugees from Asia Minor initially settled
in the empty spaces of the city. Around Riga Fereou Square, they set
up an entire slum, which was destroyed by fire in 1930. Slowly, the
new inhabitants of Volos moved to the NW suburbs of the city, to
"Refugees", which later formed the core of Nea Ionia, Volos. .
World War II temporarily halted the city's development. In the period 1941–1944 Volos was severely tested by the Italian and later the German occupation. This period is the only one during which the population of the city decreased. Many members of the resistance organizations, as well as ordinary civilians, were tragically killed on the city streets, in the execution sites (such as Eleftherias Square) and in the infamous "Yellow Warehouse", which the Germans and their local collaborators used as a prison. The Jewish community of Volos, one of the oldest in Greece had the fewest losses of any other Jewish community in Greece, thanks to the timely and dynamic intervention and mobilization of EAM-ELAS, but also the successful consultation of Metropolitan Demitriados Ioakeim and Archbishop Moses Pesach for the evacuation of Volos from the citizens of Jewish origin, after the events in Thessaloniki (deportation of the Jews of the city to the concentration camps). (Today, the Jewish community of Volos numbers only about a hundred souls, because most Jews left Volos after the war to settle in Israel or elsewhere.)
After the war, Volos developed into one of the most important urban complexes in Greece, from an economic and demographic point of view. In May 1947, by royal decree, the Municipality of Nea Ionia Volos was founded. On February 26, 1954, the Municipal Council of the Municipality of Pagasa, decided to rename the municipal authority to "Municipality of Volos". The following year, two earthquakes, on April 19 and April 21, 1955, destroyed almost a quarter of the buildings and the city changed its appearance. Some of the neoclassical buildings of pre-war Volos were lost forever and in their place appeared the small post-earthquake houses. These beautiful post-earthquake detached houses were replaced in the off-season (1970–2000) by apartment buildings.
The industrial development that Volos experienced until the first post-war years did not have a similar continuity during the second half of the 20th century. Large factories such as the Matsangos tobacco industry, the ironworks Glavani and Stamatelopoulos, the roller mills Louli in Palea (today's complex 'Village', which opened in the period 2004-2005), the textile factory Papageorgiou, the factory plinthosala. they stopped working. The operation of the Industrial Zone since 1969 led to a temporary industrial boom with the establishment of new industries. But in the mid-1980s, the deindustrialisation of Volos began to become a fact.
Today, some large industrial units are still operating in the area, such as the "Olympus" factory of AGET "Iraklis", the "Hellenic Steelworks" (former Thessaly Steelworks), the PET resin factory of VPI, the steel sheet factory of Konti, of EPSA, EUREKA with detergents, the factory of heavy maintenance-reconstruction of OSE, the cookies PAPADOPOULOU etc. However, the economy of Volos is now based mainly on trade, services and tourism, and secondarily on handicrafts and industry.
In 1984 the University of Thessaly was founded with headquarters in Volos and schools or departments in all the cities of Thessaly. The University, which accepted the first students in 1989 and today hosts about 15,000 students and more than 500 teaching and technical staff, gave a new breath to the intellectual life of Volos. Centers of artistic activities are the Municipal Theater, the Conservatory, as well as the Symphony Orchestra of the city.
In 2004, Volos became an "Olympic city", after hosting some football matches within the framework of the Olympic Games. The games took place at the new state-of-the-art Panthessalian Stadium, which was built for the needs of the Olympic Games.
Utilizing the tradition of the 2004 Olympic Games, Volos organized the European Gymnastics Championship and part of the World Billiards Championship in 2006.