Volos - City tour through the harbor town of the Argonauts

Volos - City tour through the harbor town of the Argonauts

A visit to the city and port of Volos lead us along the promenade at the harbor to the Argonaut monument and through the pedestrian zone of Volos later on and as expected already, it was quite relaxed.

The myth of the Argonauts is one of the best known parts of Greek mythology and deals with the journey of Iason and his companions in the search for the Golden Fleece and its robbery from Kolchis in the Caucasus.

The myth of the Argonaut had its starting point in the struggling power around the Kingdom of Thessaly, whose modern center today forms the city of Volos. Pelias, the king of Thessaly, who had secured the power from his brother Aison, received an oracle from a holy place with the warning of a "person with just one shoe" from the Greek city of Iolkos.

Godmother Hera asks Pelias's nephew, Iason, to help her crossing a creek, when he was losing a shoe. When Iason, the son of Aison, meets with his uncle, he immediately recognizes who Iason is, and seized upon a cunning. He promises his nephews the throne when he returns the golden fleece, the very valuable fur of a ram, from the end of the world to home. Pelias was thinking that this is a journey without a return.

The companions around Iason are called the Argonauts, according to their legendary fast ship, the Argo. Homer  already refers to the Argonaut myth: In the Odyssey, Kirke tells Odysseus that the Argo was successfully navigated by the Plankten with Hera's help - two floating overhanging "rocks", against the strong current.

In antiquity, the ancient cities of Demetrias, Pagasae and Iolcos were situated in the region around Volos. Demetrias was founded by Demetrius Poliorcetes, king of Macedonia. Iolkos, was the home of the mythological hero Jason, who accompanied the ship Argo, accompanied by the Argonauts and sailed for Kolchis in search of the Golden Fleece. In the west of Volos lie the Neolithic settlements of Dimini with a ruined acropolis, walls and two beehive tombs from the time around 4000-1200 BC, Sesklo, with the remains of the oldest Acropolis in Greece (6000 BC) and the Foundations of a palace and manor houses, among the most characteristic examples of Neolithic civilization. On the road to the beach, Alikies excavations are carried out. The modern name Volos can be traced back to the ancient name Iōlkos.

After the incorporation of the Greek kingdom into the Ottoman Empire in 1881, the city just had 4,900 inhabitants, but grew rapidly over the next four decades, when merchants, businessmen, craftsmen and sailors settled here. Volos was occupied by the Ottomans on May 8, 1897 during the Greco-Turkish War. The Greek defeat in the Greek-Turkish war between 1919 and 1922, with the so-called population exchange between Greece and Turkey, subsequently agreed upon in the Treaty of Lausanne, 1923. This led Volos to settle Greek refugees from Asia Minor, especially from Ionia, but also from Pontus, Cappadocia and Eastern Thrace, as well as the forced emigration of the Turkish population to Turkey. In this period, the city quarter "Nea Ionia" was created for the refugees from Asia Minor.

In 1882 Andreas Syngros founded the Privileged Bank of Epirus and Thessaly, which the National Bank of Greece acquired in 1899 after the death of its founder.

In 1955, the historic city center was largely destroyed during an earthquake. The reconstruction led to a modern cityscape almost without any historical building. At the port, at least, a monument commemorates the exit of the Argonauts.

Volos was always known for its special railroads: between 1960 and 2000, three different lanes met (normal track 1,435 m, one meter tracks and small tracks with 600 mm gauge). The main train track goes to Larisa in the north and connects to the main Athens-Thessalonica line. The small track lane of the formerly private Thessaly railways led from Volos west as far as Kalambaka in northwest Thessaly. The 600-mm-tracked Pilion train created the connection of Volos to the Pilion Mountains. It is now used in tourist sections, so we will report about in a later article.

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Life | Outdoors