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Volos in Magenesia Prefecture Page 1

Map of Magenesia and VolosVolos, a city of approximately 80,000 population at the head of the Pagasitic Gulf, and mostly blocked from the Aegean by the Pilio peninsula which curves around the Pagasitic Gulf, Volos is the capital of its eparchy (administrative district, like a county) in the nomos (prefecture) of Thessaly.

The third important port in Greece after Thessaloniki and Piraeus (and ferry port for the Sporades islands), Volos is a big industrial city which exports both regional produce (olives and olive oil, wine, fruit, grains, vegetables, cotton, silk, sugar, soap, and tobacco among them) as well as machinery and metal goods, the latter via ship to the Middle East, and especially to Syria. There are forty-four factories on the outskirts of the city, including tanneries, mills, cigarette factories, refineries and cement works, oil-pressing plants. Volos is also a bishopric.

In ancient times this city was called Iolkos, and was allegedly the place of departure for the mythical Jason and his Argonauts when they set off to capture the Golden Fleece. The site of ancient Iolkos is between the railway and a dry river bed, which may have been the Anauros. Identified in 1956 by the Greek Archaeological Service, it sits on a hill surrounded by a medieval wall. Two Mycenaean palaces were also found there in 1958. The Archaeological Museum is on the southeast end of town. It was founded in 1909,rebuilt after the earthquakes, and reopened in 1961. It houses an exceptional and unique collection of painted grave stelae (upright slabs or pillars with sculptures and inscriptions) from Hellenistic times and also one of the best collections in Europe of Neolithic pottery, figurines and tools from the local sites of Dimini and Sesklo. The site of ancient Dimini (Tues-Sun 8:30am-3pm; 2euros) is west of Volos, and includes two Mycenaean tholos tombs. The Mycenaean palaces mentioned above are next to the site and not open to the public yet. Ancient Sesklo (near the village of Sesklo) is 15km/9.3miles from Volos. Inhabited from around 7000BC to 3000 BC, the acropolis is on a low hill in a valley (open Tues-Sun 8:30-3pm,2 euros).

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