Trikala

The Prefecture of Trikala covers an area of 3385 sq km. and is located in the northwest corner of Thessalia. Its capital is the city of Trikala. Mt. Lakmos (2,295 m) and Mt. Tzoumerka (2,429 m) are it highest mountains. The Aheloos River, the longest river in Greece, creates the artificial lake of Mesohora. To the southeast is the valley of Trikala, crossed by the Pineos River, part of the large Thessalia Plain, the largest plain in Greece. To the north is Meteora, famous for its rock formations and monasteries.

History

Neolithic remains at Sarkos and other sites, give evidence that man first inhabited the prefecture in the sixth millennium BC. The prefecture, like much of the region has a rich and varied history with many invasions and battles with periods of peace and prosperity in between. The inhabitants of the city of Trikala have fought in the Persian Wars in the 5 th century BC. They also marched with the Athenians to stop the King of Sparta in his attempt to take control of the regions of Macedonia and Thrace. Later in approx. 350 BC, they joined forces with Alexander the Great and took part in many of his conquests. In approx. 150 BC, the prefecture came under Roman rule. After the Romans, the Turks invaded the area in approx. 1420 AD, over the following years, many battles against the oppressive Turks that finally resulted in the region becoming part of the Greek State in 1881 AD.

Captial

Trikala: The city is the Homeric “Trikki”. According to the tradition, Trikki was the daughter er of Pinios. Aesculapius was born here in (1247 BC), part of the sanctuary of Aesculapius has been discovered. The sanctuary was a medical centre similar to those in Kos and Epidaurus. Sinan Pasha designed the Koursoum Mosque built in the 16th century; he also designed the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Rebuilt during 1992-1996 with the financing of the EU and it is now protected by UNESCO.

Trikala is a modern city with open squares, parks. Old mansions, some of which have been restored their former glory are to be found around this busy city. The River Letheos, runs through the city, a walk along its banks is a good way to enjoy the city and to relax and meet the locals. The river’s name means “the river of the dead”, from the Greek word “Lethe”, (from which the word “lethal” arose in the English language.)

Places of interest in the city

The Fortress: overlooks the old quarter; on the hill of Prophet Elias is a public park and zoo.

The Old Turkish Quarter: is worth having a stroll around, with its small winding lanes and quaint houses.

The churches of Saint Ioannis of Precursor, Saint Ioannis of Eleimona, Saint Panteleimona, Saint Anargyron and Virgin Mary Revealing, are worth the visit.

Towns and villages

Pyli, Pertouli and Elati: these villages of are fast becoming tourist destinations. The whole region provides a unique natural environment, hospitality in abundant picturesque lodgings, and many taverns and restaurants with delicious traditional tastes. It can be the base for activities like the unique walk in the nature or the dense forest and sports activities during summer or winter.

Pertouli : this little village (48 km west of Trikala) is one of the best winter resorts in Thessalia.

Porto Panagia: is a traditional settlement with its cobbled streets and thriving orchards.

Places of interest

Meteora: is unquestionably one of the best tourist attractions in Greece. It comprises of enormous rock pinnacles with monasteries on their summits. The name Meteora comes from the Greek adjective meteoros, which means hanging in the midair. From around 9th century, hermits lived in the caves of Meteora. Because of the increasing power of Byzantium and incursions by invaders, monks searched for remote places to build the monasteries. Therefore, Meteora was the perfect place for them, the monasteries are built up around a central courtyard, and the monk’s cells around it along with the chapel and refectory. The Katholiken stands in the centre of the courtyard. In the beginning, the monasteries were only accessible by nets, baskets or ladders. Today steps cute into the rocks access them, from the original twenty-four monasteries, only six remain in use.

Moni Megalou Meteorou: the most remarkable monastery of all is the Transfiguration (Metamorfosis) or Megalo (great) Meteoro. It stands on highest rock almost 613m above sea level. Founded by St. Athanasios in the 14th century it became the richest monastery also the most powerful after the Serbian Emperor Uros gave his wealth to the monastery and himself became a monk. A series of frescoes in the Katholiken depict the Martyrdom of the Saints.

Moni Agias Varvaras Rousanou: this monastery accessed by a bridge is the home to an order of nuns. The monastery has recently been restored after being unused for some time. The Katholiken illuminated by strained glass is exceptional.

Moni Varlaam: this monastery has many fine frescoes.

Moni Agia Triados: scenes from the James Bond film “for your eyes only” where filmed at this monastery, which is also the remotest of the Meteora monasteries.

Moni Agias Stefanou: has a beautiful embroidered Epitaphios (cloth with the picture of Christ on his bier). The nuns at the monastery do a roaring trade in selling souvenirs and videos of the region to tourists.

Moni Agiou Nikolaou Anapafsa: the Katholiken of the monastery dates from around 1390. The monastery was built in the 15th century. The monk, Theophanis Stelitzas, created the exceptional frescoes. Probably the most remarkable fresco is the one that shows Adam naming the animals.

When visiting the monasteries strict dress codes apply, long trousers for the men and skirts that cover the knees for the women.

On the way to the monasteries at Meteora the visitor passes through Kalambaka, on the top of a hill stands a Greek Orthodox cathedral dedicated to the Koimesis tis Theotokou dating from the early part of the 12 th century BC. Inside are some exceptional icons and wall paintings.

Theopetra : south of Kalambaka is an imposing rock with a cave of archaeological importance, which has yielded indication of occupation from the Palaeolithic and the Neolithic Age.

Doussikou monastery: construction of the monastery began by St. Vissarion in 1522. A wall 10 m. high encircles it. 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. Women cannot visit this monastery.

Tourist information

Local Festivities

Easter Sunday: at Kalambaka and Kastraki, there are celebrations with local dances.

May: at Trikala the “Hadjipetria Festival” which includes athletic contests, Greek national dances, lectures etc, usually held towards the end of May.

Travel

Rail: regular services run between Athens and other towns in the region.

Bus: regular services run between the towns in the district and Athens.

Useful Telephone Numbers

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