Litheos river flowing through the city of Trikala
|Population statistics (as of 2011)|
|- Area:||608.5 km2 (235 sq mi)|
|- Density:||134 /km2 (346 /sq mi)|
|- Area:||69.2 km2 (27 sq mi)|
|- Density:||898 /km2 (2,326 /sq mi)|
|Time zone:||EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)|
|Elevation (center):||115 m (377 ft)|
|Postal code:||421 00|
Trikala (Greek: Τρίκαλα) is a city in northwestern Thessaly, Greece. It is the capital of the Trikala regional unit, and is located northwest of Athens, northwest of Karditsa, east of Ioannina and Metsovo, south of Grevena, southwest of Thessaloniki, west of Larissa and near Meteora. The city is straddled by Lithaios river, which is a tributary of Pineios river. According to the National Statistical Service, Trikala had 81,355 inhabitants in 2011, while the Trikala regional unit had 131,085 inhabitants.
The region of Trikala has been inhabited since prehistoric times and the first signs of life in the cave of Theopetra are reach back to approx. 49,000 BC. Neolithic settlements from 6,000 BC have been discovered in Megalo Kefalovriso and other locations.
The city of Trikala is built on the ancient city Trikka or Trikke, which was founded around the 3rd millennium BC and took its name by the nymph Trikke, daughter of Penaeus, or according to others, daughter of Asopus river. The city was an important center in Antiquity as the birthplace and main residence of Asclepius. In the region existed indeed one of the most important and ancient asclepieia. The city is mentioned in Homer's Iliad as having participated in the Trojan War with thirty ships under Asclepius' sons Machaon and Podalirius. In the Mycenean period, the city was the capital of a kingdom, and later it constituted the main center of the Thessalian region of Estaiotis, which occupied roughly the territory of the modern Trikala Prefecture.
In historical times, the city of Trikke and the surrounding area of the river experienced prosperity. It fell to the Achaemenid Persians in 480 BC, while ten years later it joined the Thessalian monetary union. In 352 BC it was united with the Macedonia of Philip II. The city became a location of hard battles between Macedonia and Rome. While Philip V of Macedon and his son Perseus tried to keep the city, after 168 BC it fell to the Roman Republic.
In the early centuries AD and during the Byzantine era the region was conquered by many intruders: Goths (396), Huns (447), Slavs (577), Bulgarians (976-1025), Normans (1081), Catalonians (1309–1311) and from 1204 by the Franks, while for a short period it was part of the Despotate of Epirus. The city's current name first appears in the early 12th century, in Anna Komnene's Alexiad. The city was conquered by the Ottomans in 1393, and after an extended period of decline it became an important center of cottage industry, with famed woolen textiles and leather products. The city also constituted an important intellectual center for a time during the Ottoman domination (1543-1854) with the Trikke School (and later Greek School), where famous intellectuals of the time, such as Dionysios the Philosopher, taught.
On 23 August 1881 with the Treaty of Constantinople between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Greece, the city passed in Greek sovereignty, along with the remainder of Thessaly. It fell again under Turkish sovereignty briefly during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. Afterwards, Trikala played a fundamental role in the rural workers' mobilizations in the early 20th century against the Thessalian landlords and was the scene of the foundation of first Agricultural Cooperative in Greece, in 1906.
|O: naked Thessalian youth restraining forepart of unruly prancing bull||R:forepart of bridled prancing horse
TPI KK AI (mirrored)
|Silver hemidrachm struck in Trikka 440-400 BC.
; During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys and cap, to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then travelled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.
- The Old City of Trikala, which consists of the districts Varousi and Manavika. Varousi was the Christian district of Trikala during the Turkish rule and is located at the foot of the fortress. Until 1930, this part of the city was considered as the noble district of Trikala and is now preserved in its entirety, with a large number of old buildings, built between 17th and 19th century, preserved until today . In this part are located the oldest churches of the city. Following the district Varousi up to the central square is the part of the city called Manavika, a neighborhood of the old city with a uniform architecture . Here are located some of the best restaurants and coffee bars in town.
- The archaeological site of Asklepieion of Trikke, the most significant and the most ancient of Greece, according to Strabo.
- The Byzantine Castle, built by Justinian onto the acropolis of ancient Trikke in the 6th century AD. Later it was rebuilt by the Ottomans, who in the 17th century placed a huge clock tower, which was accompanied by a bell weighing 650 kg. In 1936, another clock tower was placed and today remains the trademark of the city, while offers a panoramic view to the city.
- The Mosque of Osman Shah (16th century), building designed by Mimar Sinan. Behind the mosque stands the mausoleum of Osman Shah, nephew of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. The mosque is now a monument protected by UNESCO and serves as a museum.
- The hill of Prophitis Ilias, a park with a nice view of the city and within walking distance from the city center. On this hill is situated the church of the Prophet Elijah and the zoo.
- Lithaios river and the Central Bridge, built in 1886, which connects the central square with the Asclepius pedestrian zone.
- The Mill of Matsopoulos, which was constructed in 1884 and today is a historical-industrial building and cultural center. During the Christmas period, the stone-built Matsopoulos Mill transforms into the “Mill of Elves”, a famous Christmas park
- The Trikala Train Station, built in 1886, the courthouse and many more historical and neoclassical buildings.
The municipality Trikala was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 8 former municipalities, that became municipal units:
The province of Trikala was one of the provinces of the Trikala Prefecture. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipalities Trikala, Farkadona and Pyli. It was abolished in 2006.
Trikala is home to the General Hospital of the Trikala Prefecture. The Physical Education and Sport Science department of the University of Thessaly is also located in Trikala, and was founded in 1994, with the first students being admitted in the academic year 1994-1995; it was originally housed in the Matsopoulos Park facility, but moved to the new Karyes campus in July 1999. Trikala has over 20 schools of secondary education, and a modern night technical school also functions in the town.
- Trikala F.C., a football team that competed in the Greek first division, as recently as the 1999-00 season.
- Trikala 2000 B.C., a basketball team that competed in the Greek top division, in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. The team was dismantled following the team's relegation from the top division, and ensuing financial difficulties.
- Aries Trikala B.C., a basketball team that is currently competing in the top division.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Trikala is twinned with:
- Amberg, Germany
- Braşov, Romania
- Chongqing, People's Republic of China
- Pyatigorsk, Russia
- Talence, France
- Tucson, USA
- Œcumenius (about 990) Bishop of Trikka (now Trikkala)
- Evangelos Averoff (1910–1990), politician
- Georgios Kondylis (1879–1936) army officer, Prime Minister of Greece
- Sotirios Kyrgiakos (1979) footballer
- Dimitris Mitropanos (1948–2012) singer
- Christos Papanikolaou (1941) pole vaulter
- Efthimios Rentzias (1976) basketball player
- Vassilis Tsitsanis (1915–1984) songwriter and singer
- Sofia Sakorafa (1957) javelin's thrower
- Georgios Koltsidas (1970) footballer
- Dimitrios Sgouros (1969) pianist
- Apostolos Kaldaras (1922) popular musician
- Elias Katsanos (1922) author
- Kostas Papanikolaou (1990) basketball player
- Kostas Virvos (1926) rhymer
- Detailed census results 2011 (Greek)
- Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
- PDF (39 MB) (Greek) (French)
- "Twinnings". Central Union of Municipalities & Communities of Greece. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Tucson Sister Cities". Interactive City Directory. Sister Cities International. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- Trikala local portal
- City of Trikala
- Trikala wi-fi Internet coverage
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Trikkala". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press