The Port of Volos is Greece’s third largest port. Lying at the head of the Gulf of Pagasitikos on Thessaly’s east coast, Volos is the capital of the Magnisia region and the seat of the Orthodox bishopric of Demetrias. The Port of Volos is about half way between the Port of Thessaloniki to the north and Athens to the south. Today’s Volos was built in the area where the ancient Macedonian cities of Demetrias, Iolkos, and Pagasae were established. Iolkos was the home of Jason, leader of the mythological Argonauts.
The Port of Volos is one of Greece’s most industrialized cities, with industry specialized in the production of steel and manufacturing. One of the world’s largest cement factories is located in Volos. Volos is also an important research center, with Greece’s CEnter for REsearch and TEchnology THessaly (CERETETH) conducting research leading to new products and services to meet the needs of local, national, and European industrial and governmental institutions. Today, about 120 thousand people call the Port of Volos home.
While the Port of Volos is a relatively new city, it lies in the center of an area surrounded by ancient life. Myth holds that the half-man-half-horse Centaurs lived on Mount Pelion, and Jason and the Argonauts are said to have set sail in search of the Golden Fleece from the port.
To its immediate west are the ruins of the Neolithic settlements of Dimini and Sesklo, with remains of structures dating to 6000 BC. Within five kilometers from the city are the ancient towns of Iolkos (east) and Demetrias (west). A 14th Century Byzantine historian reported that Volos was known as Golos. Excavations have been ongoing since 1956 on two Mycenaean palaces in Ano Volos, the ancient site of Iolkos, which has been inhabited since 2500 BC.
The modern Port of Volos was established in 1841. The town held only 80 houses in 1858, most of them on the waterfront. The city began to grow in 1881 when Turkey ceded the area to Greece and the area was home to about 4900 people. Over the next 40 years, the Port of Volos grew rapidly, attracting business people, craftsmen, and seamen. In the 1920s, a flood of refugees came to the town from the east, and the population grew to over 30 thousand people. By 1928, the city’s population was over 41 thousand, many of whom were refugees.
The development of the Port of Volos is closely related to the growth of industry, the port, and tourism. With beautiful beaches and islands and a very rich history, the Port of Volos is an inviting tourist destination. The city’s industrial district rings the gulf, and the old town is built rises on Mount Pelion to 750 meters above sea level. When a direct ferry service to Tartus, Syria, was established, the industrial port began to grow rapidly. The Port of Volos exports many goods from the Thessalian plain (wine, cereals, fresh fruit, olives and olive oil, yarns, cereals, cement, tobacco, and chromite).