"History of Volos" Top 5 Page for this destination Volos by vago1

Volos Travel Guide: 48 reviews and 216 photos

The "Castle" of Volos, a walled town situated on the site of the present-day neighbourhood of Palea. The west of the city, was built in the mid 6th century AD. The same period saw the decline of the ancient city of Demetrias, a populous shipbuilding centre for the construction of oared ships, which had been created by Demetrios Poliorcetes, king of Macedonia, through the union of several smaller towns. New methods of shipbuilding for the construction of small sailing ships grew up at several points along the coast of the Pagasetic gulf. Small-scale settlements predominated again in the communities, which became established on the slopes of Mt. Pelion itself.

Thus, a small harbour to the south of the "Castro" sufficed for the distribution of produce from the Thessalian plain and Mt. Pelion, together with a small fort for its protection from marauding pirates.

The "Castro" came, in turn, under the jurisdiction of the late-Byzantine feudal lords, the Catalans and finally the Ottomans, when it ceased to be used as a fort. The Venetian fleet last attacked it in 1655. After this date the harbour began to grow in importance and, as warehouses were constructed around it, to develop into a port. On its eastern side, outside the "Castro", a residential neighbourhood of Thessalian grain merchants grew up.

From the mid 19th century, with the building of the new city of Volos, the "Castro" was allowed to decline. At the end of the century its south and north walls were demolished and the maze of winding streets within the old town gave way to a "modern" street layout.

After 1830 craftsmen from Mt. Pelion, together with other inhabitants from the newly formed Greek state and elsewhere in the Greek Diaspora, began to build a new city along the coast to the southeast of the old town. Streets of shops, workshops and residences were built parallel to the sea and soon the consulates of the European powers were also established there. Due to its geographical position close to the border of the Greek state, the new city and its port soon prospered, with increasing trade and manufacturing activity and in 1881, when Thessaly and Volos were annexed to the Greek state, the city entered a period of renewed activity.

The expansion of the port, with the addition of new facilities, and the construction of the railway connecting Volos to the towns of the Thessalian hinterland, lent additional economic strength to the city. This economic development was accompanied by increased activity in the fields of construction and planning, including monuments and buildings in the characteristic neo-classical and "modern style" of the period. Famous architects embellished the city with grandiose churches like those of St. Nicholas, Metamorphosis and St. Constantine, which gave their names to their respective districts. The railway station, the large warehouses, the workshops and the newly constructed factories employed styles of industrial architecture current in cities of central and western Europe.

The expansion of the new city proceeded rapidly and local manufacturing evolved into fully-fledged industry, chiefly in the fields of metallurgy, textiles, tobacco and the influx of refugees arrived in Volos, contributing significantly to the progress of the region.

In the interwar period the "OLYMPUS" cement factory was established to the east of the city and expanded its activity progressively on an international level.

In 1955 strong earthquakes demolished the city almost entirely, destroying its previous architectural identity and necessitating the reconstruction, which was the starting point for its present appearance. The development of the city between the wars is closely connected with the establishment of the Industrial Estate, the upgrading of the port and the growth of tourism due to the geographical position of Volos at the centre of a wider touristy region (Mt. Pelion, Northern Sporades and Euboea).

  • Intro Written Feb 11, 2004
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