Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Thessaly is best known for the spiritual landscape of Meteora. Here, large columns of rock seem to rise out of the valley. Precipitously located at the top of some of these are medieval monasteries. The region is also home to Mount Olympus and Mount Pelion, both associated ancient Greek gods. At the foot of Mount Pelion is the picturesque city of Volos. Some believe that was from Volos that Jason and the Argonauts departed in search of the Golden Fleece. The administrative region of Thessaly includes the regional units of Karditsa, Larissa, Magnesia, Sporades and Trikala.

Archaeology & History Sites in Thessaly

Ancient Theatre of Larissa

The ancient theatre in Larissa was built during the first half of the 3rd century BC, on the southern slopes of what is today Frourio Hill, back then the city’s fortified acropolis. The theatre, a typical Hellenistic construction, was in use until the end of the 3rd century or early in the 4th century AD. Sometime in the late 2nd the second floor of the scene, the Doric entablature and a part of the transcendent epitheatre were destroyed in an earthquake. And with a second earthquake in the 7th century the theatre was all but totally destroyed. The site has recently been extensively excavated.

Church of the Holy Cross at Doliana of Krania

The striking 13-domed 18th century church is all that remains of the post-Byzantine monastery. In 1943 the monastic buildings were destroyed by the Nazis, their ruins can be seen a few hundred metres from the church, which also suffered at this time but has since been restored. There is no icon paintings inside the three-aisled basilica, its interest is solely external. Some of the domes are decorative and do not correspond to internal architecture.

The Monastery of Roussanou

This one single building occupies the entire surface of the rock, giving the impression the monastery is an extension of the rock. Also called the Monastery of St. Barbara, it was founded in the 14th century, but what we see today – built on three levels, was constructed in the 16th century. The monastery cathedral is known for its paintings of the Coming of Judgement, the Preparation of the Throne and the Dormition of the Virgin – all thought to have been painted in the 16th century.

Museums & Art Galleries in Thessaly

Athanasakio Archaeological Museum of Volos

Built in 1909, the museum with its striking neoclassical façade is one of the oldest archaeology museums in the country. On display are artefacts recovered from 20th century excavation of sites in the Thessaly region. These range from the neolithic and Mycenaean periods, through to Roman and Byzantine periods. The highlights of the museum include the archaeology of the Neolithic settlement of Dimini, with reconstruction of domestic dwellings in the gardens.

The Mill of Pappas

Following an extensive renovation due to fire damage, the late 19th century mill is now a cultural heritage museum and centre. The mill was built in 1893, when the town was still under Turkish rule. What made the mill unique then is that it was the first in the area to be steam driven. Over the years it would develop into one of the most productive mills in the region. Sadly, it was destroyed by fire in 2002. The centre now has a theatre, a summer cinema and other events venues.