The architectural physiognomy of Larissa
Larissa one of the most dynamic and economically active cities of Greece, is the biggest in size city of Thessaly and Central Greece and constitutes a dynamic administrative, commercial, economic, academic, agricultural, transport and cultural centre of the country. It constitutes the only city in Greece, which -according to the archaeological discoveries- is always found at the same place with the same name.
The built-up picture of Larissa has a close relation with the diachronic developments of the city. Per periods, the intense extensions of the built-up web brought the era style as a constructional style, the technology of materials and the various influences - effects of the current socio-political climate.
At the Byzantine period, Larissa constituted a metropolis with fourteen bishoprics. During the Ottoman Occupation, there were six big mosques with minarets and sixteen churches.
After the liberation of the city, began a big effort for its rebirth and its metamorphosis into a transport centre. Initially, the core of the current city was shaped -despite the re-planning the 1883- inside the old Ottoman urban web, following the old work of construction and the pre-existing urban planning. This event caused problems that still exist in a lot of Larissa’s districts (dead-end roads, anarchistic organisation, etc). This happened because in the beginning of the Ottoman occupation, in the big urban centres that constituted commercial and administrative centres, in many cases, the urban development was based to the arrangements of the previous Byzantine built-up centres that presented a labyrinthine organisation. Later this organisation became also the Ottoman traditional space organisation. The area in the hill of Frourio (Fortress) portrays precisely this period.
The architectural rhythm of the houses after liberation differentiated from the traditional models and followed the Athenian neoclassicism. The neoclassical architectural plan -as it was shaped in Athens- had a ground plan of an almost regular square with corridor -which crossed it from end to end- and rooms. In contrast, the traditional Thessalian house -from the years of the Ottoman occupation- had a rectangle ground plan with rooms along its long side, while in the long side across the way was a covered chagiati. The basic objective of the builders was the morphological transformation of the traditional house into a cube form. The 4-corner roof was usually decorated with a pediment in the facade. The structural materials and the constructional way remained the traditional ones: stones and wood. These houses and their materials were in harmony with space. They had rich lighting and airing, heat in the winter and dew in the summer. The fundamental criterion was their orientation to the north.
These houses only appeared in Larissa and generally in Thessaly and they are characterized as folk neoclassic houses.