Trikala

A place where legends were born and experiences never come to an end… Castles, ancient sites, byzantine churches, monasteries and beautiful bridges indicate a continuous civilization.

Trikala is a modern city with 51,862 residents. It is considered the third most significant city of the area of Thessaly, with respect to its cultural and financial activities. This big town is located on the NW edge of the plain of Thessaly, close to the beautiful mountains of Hasia and is divided by the Lithaios river. Situated at the center of the valley, roughly where the ancient city Trikki would be placed, it is a town with a rather new city grid, with many squares and parks and pedestrian and bike-friendly roads. Trikala is a large commercial center with a significant farming industry and a famous local industry of dairy products.

History

The region of Trikala has been inhabited since prehistoric times and the first signs of life in the region occured in the nearby cave of Theopetra approx. 100,000 years ago. Neolithic settlements of 6,000 BC have been discovered in Megalo Kefalovriso and other locations.

The city of Trikala is built on the ruins of the ancient city Trikka or Trikke, which was founded around the 3rd millennium B.C. and received its name from the nymph Trikke, a daughter of the river-god Penaeus, or - according to others - a daughter of the river-god Asopus. The city was an important center in the Antiquity and the famed birthplace of the god of medicine, Asclepius. Indeed in the region there was once the most important healing center of the Greek world ('asclepeiion'). The city is mentioned in Homer's Iliad as having participated in the Trojan War, when Asclepius' sons, Machaon and Podalirius contributed with thirty ships towards the Greek expedition against Troy. In the Mycenean period the city was the capital of a local kingdom, while later on it became the main center of the Thessalian region of Estaiotis, which has been roughly identified with the modern prefecture of Trikala.

In historical times, the city of Trikke and its surrounding area experienced prosperity. It fell under the Persians in 480 BC, while ten years later it joined the Thessalian monetary union. In 352 BC it was united with the Macedonian kingdom, under Philip II. The city became a place where major battles occured between the Macedonian Greeks and the Romans. Although Philip V of Macedon and his son Perseus tried to defend the city, it eventually fell under the Romans in 168 BC.

trikala clock

The Clock Tower of Trikala

In the early Byzantine era the region was conquered by many intruders: Goths (396), Huns (447), Slavs (577), Bulgarians (976-1025), Normans (1081), Catalonians (1309–1311) and in 1204 by the Franks, while for a short period it became part of the Despotate of Epirus. The city's current name first appeared in the early 12th century, in Anna Comnena's Alexiad. It was conquered by the Ottomans in 1393, and after an extended period of decline it became an important industrial center, with renouned industries producing woolen textiles and leather goods.

The city also became an important intellectual center for a long time during Ottoman dominion (1543-1854), where famous personalities, like Dionysios the Philosopher, received a great reputation. In the mid 16th century the Ottomans built the Koursoum mosque in Trikala for the growing Muslim population. It was built by Sinan Pasha who also designed the famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul. On the 23rd of August, 1881 the city regained Greek sovereignity along with the rest of Thessaly, following a treaty signed in Constantinople between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Greece.

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