Thessaly beyond Salonica Attractions Thessalía
Thessaly is a region in central Greece, bounded on the west by the Pindos range, on the north by Macedonia, on the east by the Aegean and on the south by Boeotia.
Thessaly, with an area of 14,000 sq. km/5,400 sq. mi, is a fertile agricultural region which was famed in ancient times for its horses and is now important for agricultural produce such as cotton and sugar-beet. The wide expanses of cultivable land available here, in contrast to the regions farther south, led in classical and Turkish times to the development of large estates and in more recent times has favored the establishment of agricultural cooperatives. The mountains which enclose the region - Pindos, Olympus, Ossa, Pelion, Othrys - give it a continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. As a result the olive does not flourish in Thessaly.The chief town of Thessaly is Lárisa, near which recent excavations have brought to light traces of very early settlement. From the fourth millennium B.C. onwards the land around the Gulf of Vólos saw a continuous succession of settlements - Sesklo (fourth millennium), Dimini (third millennium), Iolkos (second millennium), in the first millennium B.C. Pherai, Pagasai and Demetrias, and finally Vólos, the only port in Thessaly, most of which is cut off from the sea by Mt Pelion.The importance of this region in Mycenaean times is reflected in the numerous myths which have Thessaly as their setting. This was the home of the Centaurs, including the wise Cheiron who initiated Asklepios into the art of healing and brought up Peleus and his son Achilles; Admetos and Alkestis lived in Pherai; and the Argonauts set out from Iolkos in quest of the Golden Fleece.Apart from the monasteries of Metéora, the tourist interest of Thessaly is confined to the mountain villages in the Pélion massif and the coastal resorts on the Magnesia peninsula.
Surely one of the most astounding sights in Greece, Metéora is the site of old monasteries perched on rock pinnacles high above the land below.
Thessaly - Doussikou Monastery
Northwest of the Portaikos River, on the crossroads of Porta Panagia, lies the Megáles Pilés of Doussikou monastery, built in a forest of oak trees, six km northwest of the villages. Construction of the monastery began by St Vissarion in 1522. It is encircled by a wall 10 m high. The three-storied structure comprises 366 cells symbolizing the days of the year. Its Refectory and collection of manuscripts and relics in the Library attest to the wealth enjoyed by the monastery in the past. At the center of the complex is the Byzantine Church of the Transfiguration, with frescoes done in 1577 by Theophanes. Its wood carved temple was done in 1767 and was given a gold-leaf finish by Metsovon artisans in 1813. One should also visit the crypt on the west side of the church and the adjoining three small chapels.
Tríkala, on the western edge of the plain of Thessaly, famed in ancient times for its horses, is the market town and center of this agricultural region.Ancient Trikka was the home of Asklepios, the god of healing. In the Middle Ages it was the capital of a Serbian principality. It has a lively bazaar, with excellent tavernas, and pleasant walks along the banks of the river Lithaios. There are fine views from the Byzantine castle which occupies the site of the ancient acropolis.Station on Palaiofársalos-Kalambáka railroad line; bus connections with Athens, Kalambáka and Lárisa.
Piyí - Panayía Pórtas
A road runs southwest from Tríkala by way of Piyí (7km/4.5mi) to the Pórta pass (21km/13mi), with the church of the Panayía Pórtas, founded in 1283 (mosaics of that period and 15th C. frescoes).
At the Pórta straits, 21km west of Tríkala, is the church of Pórta Panagía. The church was built in 1283 by Ioannis Connenos Doukas, or according to others, by Andronikus III in the 14th century. It has remarkable mosaics.
Magnesia is the area on the east side of Thessaly and includes the Thessaly Peninsula with Cape Trikeri and the Pagsitic Gulf. This is a very scenic area with Mt Pelion and beautiful coastal areas.
Paleokastro sits on the location of the ancient site of Gomfi. High above the plains below the town has a great vantage point which was an advantage in ancient times. Gomfi was a walled town, conquered eventually by Julius Caesar.