City of Karditsa the Heart of Greece

Posted on the 20 January 2020 by Danyel Naq @alotoftrips
City of Karditsa the heart of Greece
The regional section of Karditsa covers the largest part of the Thessaliotida of the historical period, and it was continuously populated from the Paleolithic age, as proven by archaeological findings. From the pre Hellenic tribes the Pelasgs, Minyes, Aeolians, from Viotia and Thesaaly, Dolopes and and Athamanes are mentioned to have lived in the region.
The spread of Christianity in the are of Karditsa was made by Herodeon, a relative of the Disciple Paul. A Paleo-Christian basilica of the 5th BC century has been located in the settlement of Filia, next to the pre-Christian sanctuary of Itonia Athena.
In the late Byzantine period, Fanari with its famous castle is the most important settlement in the region as it is strategically located, controlling the communications passage between Epirus and Thessaly. In the long Turkish Occupation period Fanari continued to be the military, administrative and religious center of the region.
The unbearable slavery and the constant desire for freedom led the Greeks of the region to successive uprisings. In 1600-1601 the first organized uprising lead by the Metropolite of Larissa Dionysio the Philosopher took place. However this movement failed and as a result many people from Agrafa were killed including the Archbishop of Fanari. After other several uprisings in 1770, 1821, 1854, 1866, 1878 and finally 1881 Thesally joined Greece. After the liberation, Karidtsa became a province of the prefecture of Trikala and was divided in 13 municipalities.
With a population close to 40000. Karditsa is the fourth city of Thessaly, its foundation is placed in the late Byzantine period as its name is not Turkish and therefore it existed before the Turkish Occupation in West Thessaly in 1393. As settlement it was initially small and did not have anything extraordinary.  From the 17th century on Karditsa is mentioned in monastery protheses offered by its inhabitants and indirectly in 1677 in the letters of Evgenios Giannulis Etolos. In 1668 the well known ottoman traveler Elviya Tselebi describes Karditsa as the most important commercial center of the southwest Thessaly.
With the integration of Thessaly to Greece in 1881 and the departure of turks who made up half of the population, Jews and people from Sterea Ellada rush to settle in Karditsa. Through out its history plenty of references and descriptions of the city by Greek and foreign travellers  and writes can be found.
In the early 20th century the modernization of the city is fast, it has already four Primary Schools, a Greek School, a High School and all the necessary agencies while it does not feel so isolated once the railway of Thessaly started its operation.  The efforts to improve the living conditions as well the modernization of the city continued in years that followed despite the negative effects of the Occupation and Civil War period.

Today visitor will get to see a modern bustling city, with gentle inhabitants, good city planning, beautiful buildings, many shops, sports facilities and squares where both young and older people go on daily basis. Karditsa has a network of 4km urban and 10km peri-urban bicycle track.
The Eleftherias Square is the main square of the city with plenty of shops of every kind. Its trademark is the fountain, the work of sculptress Nella Gollanda and the statues showing the Muses Erato, Thalia and Cleo as well the Grace Aglaia.
Close by to the north is the Ethnikis Antistasis Square better known as the Dikastrion Square taking its name from the imposing Court House located here.  On the southern end of the square, on Iekeziel Street, is the renovated two stories Metropoilitan Bishop's Mansion.  In 1924 was bought by the Monastery of Korona and used the seat of the Metropolis of Thessaly and Fanariofersala.
At the crossroads of Iekeziel Street and A Papandreu Street is the Town Hall. The Popular Library Athena is housed on its second floor.  The Academy of Athens has awarded the Library an honorary diploma in recognition at its social contribution. Great personalities of arts and letters such as Gianni Ritsos, Zisis Skaros, Nikiforos Vrettakos, Dimitris Gioldasis  and many others were throughout time part of various events organized by the Library.
The impressive neoclassical building on the corner of Karaiskaki and Blatsouka Street is the hotel Arni, created by Konstantinis Tertipis in 1921, who's brother was Dimitrios Tertipis one of the leaders of the revolution of 1878. The building had an elaborate dome, which collapsed in the strong earthquake of 1954.
Opposite the city shopping center the bust of the hero of the revolution of 1821 Georgios Karaiskakis can be observed, work of the Athenian sculptor Nik Georganti. Right across it, the two storey stone building of the National Bank is located, a 1910 construction.
The building of the Dimotiki Agora (Municipal Market) at the end of Valvi Street is a real jewel for the city of Karditsa. It was build with cement, metal and glass between 1925 and 1930 when Asterios Allamanis was mayor, based on a design he brought from Paris. In 1922 was included in the European Architectural Heritage Monuments list by a european committee. The latest renovation of the building took place in 1998 and its use has given the city a space for cultural activities.  The Museum of the Photography and Cinematography Club of Karditsa is housed on ground floor.
Opposite the Municipal Market is the factory of the Old Electrical, built in 1910 and starting its operation in the same year supplying electricity to the city of Karidtsa. The complex consists of a ground floor building that was the engine room and a two stories building. It remained in operation until 1957.
The Metropolitan church of Saints Konstantinos and Eleni is at the beginning of Iezekiel Street in Pafsylip, with construction starting in 1887 and finished 23 years later. It is exclusively built with stones carried on carriages from the riverside areas of Mitropoli. The church courtyard is adorned with busts of the heroes of the history of Thessaly.
The famous Pafsylypon park is an extraordinary green spot and an oasis of coolness during the hot summer months. The Plastira square on its southern part is dominated by the statue of Nikolaos Plastiras, the illustrious child of Karditsa, made by the sculptor Stelios Triantis.
Opposite the park, the Folklore Museum established in 1982, can be visited by tourists. The objective of the museum is not only to present the existing material but also to preserve and save any kind of historical testimony and to inform the history loving public through a wide range of events.
The Municipal Gallery of Karditsa, on the corner of the streets Vasiardani and V. Tzella, was established in 1993. The four storey building includes three exhibition areas for permanent collections, one hall for periodic exhibitions, a multiple hall and a library.
The Archaeological Museum was built in the place of the old hospital of the city of Karditsa. Located opposite the Municipal Gallery, includes a large number of archaeological items most of them coming from the warehouses of the Museum of Volos.
At the exit of the city towards Trikala there are many school facilities among which the most known are the Technological Educational Institutions and the Veterinary School of the University of Thessaly.
Karditsa has a lot to show in the field of culture. Further more there are many music and dance schools, theatrical and visual art workshops. Theatrical performances are also given during the summer months in the theater of Mitropoli by groups from all over Greece.

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