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Home 02 October 2022
Environment Penios River Larissa

Penios and the riverboats (1880). In the centre is distinguished the bridge of Larissa
(Photo: Archive of A. Galeridi)
Large concourse of people on the deck of the bridge (1884)
(Photo: Archive of A. Galeridi)
The ceremony of Epiphany in Penios
(Photo: Archive of A. Galeridi)
The flood of 1909. The five of the nine openings of the bridge were covered by flooding waters. Alkazar and Pera Mahalas became an island
(Photo: Archive of A. Galeridi)

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The bridge of Larissa

Antonis Galeridis

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The position of the bridge
For centuries, the symbol of Larissa for its Greek and Turks residents, constituted the nine-arch stone bridge of the city. It was built in the position of the first department of the nowadays existing bridge of Penios river, that was manufactured in 1950 and it was bridged the old(historical) watercourse of the river. The second department of the modern bridge was manufactured in the beginning of 1980, side by side with the first, for the cover of the circulatory needs of the city. The pedestals of the first modern bridge, also with nine openings, are supported on the foundation of the old stone bridge.

The chronology of the manufacture
The two studiers of the history of the city of Larissa, Nikolaos Georgiadis and Epameinondas Farmakidis, in the dues of 19th beginning of 20th century respectively, supported that the bridge is considered Byzantine, built before the 13th century, that restored on Ottoman domination from Hasan Bey, grandson of the conqueror of Larissa Tourhan Bey (15th century). According to Nikolaos Georgiadis the bridge was "twelve arch" while according to Epameinondas Farmakidis was "ten arch".

Description - technical characteristics
The geometrical characteristics of the bridge are in detail known, from elements that were drawn from the imprinting of the English company Boot, which manufactured in prewar times the flood-preventing works of Thessaly.

The total length of the bridge was 118,26 m. and its width was 4,75 m.

The British antiquary and topographer William Martin Leake, in his work "TRAVELS IN NORTHERN GREECE" report that the width of the bridge was so much, so that two carriages can cross each other on it. It is appreciated that it was 4,00 meters if it is considered that the thickness of the parapets was 0,35m. The openings of the arcs oscillate from 7 until 10,50 meters. The parapets of the bridge were constituted by big carved stones placed on the cornice at their big dimension.

Afterwards the annexation of Thessaly in Greece in 1881, the deck of the bridge was enlarged from 4,00 in 4,57 metres, from a Greek unit of the engineer, with cashiering of a department of the parapets and were added pavements of length of 1,50 m.

Generally all the stones of the manufacture of the bridge were carved and very well processed, with most impressive those of the old parapets. The porous stone that was used for the production of the stones of the bridge, was emanated very probably from the region of Agia or, with small probability, it was used porous stone from the hilly regions of the exit of Tempi valley.

The mortar was very powerful, because the old foundation of the bridge was also used in the manufacture of the new bridge.

The bridge in the life of city
The bridge "Alkazar", as it was called in middle war times but also today because of its adjacency with the thicket Alkazar (thicket of Nymphs), constituted indubitably the most important building of Larissa. Daily the deck was full of life and traffic, because except the functional needs it constituted also place of walk.

Particularly during the floods of the river the residents of the city watched the inflated waters of Penios above its deck. In middle war times did not exist Larissa’s citizen but also visitor that would not be photographed in front of the bridge.

The bridge linked the city of Larissa with the neighborhood of Pera Mahalas and substantially the Northern with the Southern Greece. Up to today from the bridge becomes the dive of Honest Cross the day of Epiphany. The bridge "Alkazar" was indubitably included in the life of city.

The background of the destruction of the bridge
On Good Friday of 1941, with the entry of Germans in Greece, British blown up an arc in order to cover their reprocess. However the destruction of the bridge was completed in October 1944, with the reprocess of Germans, that blown up all the arcs apart from two.

After the blowing up, the communication to Tirnavos - Elassona in the beginning it was becoming with boats and ferry (perataria) and then was set up two wooden bridges, up to 1950 when it was delivered the first bridge from armed concrete.