|• Municipal unit||138.138 km2 (53.335 sq mi)|
|Elevation||40 m (130 ft)|
|• Municipal unit||26,963|
|• Municipal unit density||200/km2 (510/sq mi)|
|• Population||22,471 (2011)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
Argos (/ - /,; Greek: Άργος [ˈarɣos]; Ancient and Katharevousa: Ἄργος [árɡos]) is a city in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and the oldest in Europe. It is the largest city in Argolis and a major center in the same prefecture, having nearly twice the population of the prefectural capital, Nafplio.
Since the 2011 local government reform it has been part of the municipality of Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 138.138 km2. It is 11 kilometres (7 miles) from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour. A settlement of great antiquity, Argos has been continuously inhabited as at least a substantial village for the past 7,000 years.: 121-
A resident of the city of Argos is known as an Argive (// AR-ghyve, /-/ -jyve; Greek: Ἀργεῖος). However, this term is also used to refer to those ancient Greeks generally who assaulted the city of Troy during the Trojan War; the term is more widely applied by the Homeric bards.
Numerous ancient monuments can be found in the city today. Agriculture is the mainstay of the local economy.
There are several proposed etyma. The name is associated with the legendary Argus, the third king of the city in ancient times, who renamed it after himself, thus replacing its older name Phoronikon Asty (Φορωνικόν Άστυ, "Citadel of Phoroneus"). Both the personal name and placename are linked to the word αργός (argós), which meant "white" or "shining"; possibly, this had to do with the visual impression given of the Argolic plain during harvest time. According to Strabo, the name could have even originated from the word αγρός "field" by antimetathesis of the consonants.
Herodotus first recorded the myth of the traditional story of Argos being the origin of the ancient Macedonian royal house of the Argead dynasty (Greek: Ἀργεάδαι, Argeádai) of Philip II and Alexander the Great. As a strategic location on the fertile plain of Argolis, Argos was a major stronghold during the Mycenaean era. In classical times, Argos was a powerful rival of Sparta for dominance over the Peloponnese, but was eventually shunned by other Greek city-states after remaining neutral during the Greco-Persian Wars.
There is evidence of continuous settlement in the area starting with a village about 7,000 years ago in the late Neolithic, located on the foot of Aspida hill.: 124 Since that time, Argos has been continually inhabited at the same geographical location. And while the name Argos is generally accepted to have a Hellenic Indo-European etymology, Larissa is generally held to derive from a Pre-Greek substrate.
The city is located at a rather propitious area, among Nemea, Corinth and Arcadia. It also benefitted from its proximity to lake Lerna, which, at the time, was at a distance of one kilometre from the south end of Argos.
Argos was a major stronghold of Mycenaean times, and along with the neighbouring acropolis of Mycenae and Tiryns became a very early settlement because of its commanding positions in the midst of the fertile plain of Argolis.
Argos experienced its greatest period of expansion and power under the energetic 7th century BC ruler King Pheidon. Under Pheidon, Argos regained sway over the cities of the Argolid and challenged Sparta's dominance of the Peloponnese. Spartan dominance is thought to have been interrupted following the Battle of Hyssiae in 669–668 BC, in which Argive troops defeated the Spartans in a hoplite battle. During the time of its greatest power, the city boasted a pottery and bronze sculpturing school, pottery workshops, tanneries and clothes producers. Moreover, at least 25 celebrations took place in the city, in addition to a regular local products exhibition. A sanctuary dedicated to Hera was also found at the same spot where the monastery of Panagia Katekrymeni is located today. Pheidon also extended Argive influence throughout Greece, taking control of the Olympic Games away from the citizens of Elis and appointing himself organizer during his reign. Pheidon is also thought to have introduced reforms for standard weight and measures in Argos, a theory further reinforced with the unearthing of six "spits" of iron in an Argive Heraion, possibly remainders of a dedication from Pheidon.
In 494 BC, Argos suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of its regional rival, Sparta, at the Battle of Sepeia. Following this defeat, Herodotus tells us the city suffered a form of stasis. The political chaos is thought to have resulted in a democratic transition in the city. Argos did not participate in the Hellenic Alliance against the Persian Invasion of 480 BC. This resulted in a period of diplomatic isolation, although there is evidence of an Argive alliance with Tegea prior to 462 BC.
In 462 BC, Argos joined a tripartite alliance with Athens and Thessaly. This alliance was somewhat dysfunctional, however, and the Argives are only thought to have provided marginal contributions to the alliance at the Battle of Oenoe and Tanagra. For example, only 1,000 Argive hoplites are thought to have fought alongside the Athenians at the Battle of Tanagra. Following the allies' defeat at Tanagra in 457 BC, the alliance began to fall apart, resulting in its dissolution in 451 BC.
Argos remained neutral or the ineffective ally of Athens during the Archidamian War between Sparta and Athens. Argos' neutrality resulted in a rise of its prestige among other Greek cities, and Argos used this political capital to organize and lead an alliance against Sparta and Athens in 421 BC. This alliance included Mantinea, Corinth, Elis, Thebes, Argos, and eventually Athens. This alliance fell apart, however, after the allied loss at the Battle of Mantinea in 418 BC. This defeat, combined with the raiding of the Argolid by the Epidaurians, resulted in political instability and an eventual oligarchic coup in 417 BC. Although democracy was restored within a year, Argos was left permanently weakened by this coup. This weakening led to a loss of power, which in turn led to the shift of commercial focus from the Ancient Agora to the eastern side of the city, delimited by Danaou and Agiou Konstadinou streets.
Argos played a minor role in the Corinthian Wars against Sparta, and for a short period of time considered uniting with Corinth to form an expanded Argolid state. For a brief period of time, the two poleis combined, but Corinth quickly rebelled against Argive domination, and Argos returned to its traditional boundaries. After this, Argos continued to remain a minor power in Greek affairs.
Argos escaped occupation by Macedon during the reigns of Philip II and Alexander the Great and remained unscathed during the Wars of the Diadochi, however in 272 it was attacked by Pyrrhus of Epirus at the Battle of Argos, in which Pyrrhus was killed.
Argos was a democracy for most of the classical period, with only a brief hiatus between 418 and 416. Democracy was first established after a disastrous defeat by the Spartans at the Battle of Sepeia in 494. So many Argives were killed in the battle that a revolution ensued, in which previously disenfranchised outsiders were included in the state for the first time.
Argive democracy included an Assembly (called the aliaia), a Council (the bola), and another body called 'The Eighty,' whose precise responsibilities are obscure. Magistrates served six-month terms of office, with few exceptions, and were audited at the end of their terms. There is some evidence that ostracism was practiced.
Under Roman rule, Argos was part of the province of Achaea. While prosperous during the early principate, Argos along with much of Greece and the Balkans experienced disasters during the Crisis of the 3rd Century when external threats and internal revolts left the Empire in turmoil. During Gallienus' reign, marauding bands of Goths and Heruli sailed down from the Black Sea in 267 A.D. and devastated the Greek coastline and interior. Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes and Argos were all sacked. Gallienus finally cut off their retreat north and destroyed them with great slaughter at Naissus in Moesia.
With the death of the last emperor over a unified Empire, Theodosius I, the Visigoths under their leader Alaric I descended into Greece in 396–397 A.D., sacking and pillaging as they went. Neither the eastern or western Roman warlords, Rufinus (consul) or Stilicho, made an effective stand against them due to the political situation between them. Athens and Corinth were both sacked. While the exact level of destruction for Argos is disputed due to the conflicting nature of the ancient sources, the level of damage to the city and people was considerable. Stilicho finally landed in western Greece and forced the Visigoths north of Epirus. Sites said to have been destroyed in Argos include the Hypostyle hall, parts of the agora, the odeion, and the Aphrodision. In the late 7th century, it became part of the Theme of Hellas, and later of the Theme of the Peloponnese.
In the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade, the Crusaders captured the castle built on Larisa Hill, the site of the ancient acropolis, and the area became part of the lordship of Argos and Nauplia. In 1388 it was sold to the Republic of Venice, but was taken by the Despot of the Morea Theodore I Palaiologos before the Venetians could take control of the city; he sold it anyway to them in 1394. The Crusaders established a Latin bishopric. Venetian rule lasted until 1463, when the Ottomans captured the city.
In 1397, the Ottomans plundered Argos, carrying off much of the population, to sell as slaves. The Venetians repopulated the town and region with Albanian settlers, granting them long-term agrarian tax exemptions. Together with the Greeks of Argos, they supplied stratioti troops to the armies of Venice. Throughout the Ottoman–Venetian wars, many Albanians died or were captured in service to the Venetians; at Nafpaktos, Nafplio, Argos, Methoni, Koroni and Pylos. Furthermore, 8,000 Albanian stratioti, most of them along with their families, left the Peloponnese to continue their military service under the Republic of Venice or the Kingdom of Naples. At the end of the Ottoman–Venetian wars, a large number of Albanians had fled from the Peloponnese to Sicily. Some historians consider the French military term "argoulet" to derive from the Greek "argetes", or inhabitant of Argos, as a large number of French stratioti came from the plain of Argos.
During Ottoman rule, Argos was divided in four mahalas, or quarters; the Greek (Rûm) mahala, Liepur mahala, Bekir Efenti mahala and Karamoutza or Besikler mahala, respectively corresponding to what is now the northeastern, the northwestern, the southwestern and southeastern parts of the city. The Greek mahala was also called the "quarter of the unfaithful of Archos town" in Turkish documents, whereas Liepur mahala (the quarter of the rabbits) was composed mostly of Albanian emigrants and well-reputed families. Karamoutza mahala was home to the most prominent Turks and boasted a mosque (modern-day church of Agios Konstadinos), a Turkish cemetery, Ali Nakin Bei's serail, Turkish baths and a Turkish school. It is also at this period when the open market of the city is first organised on the site north to Kapodistrias' barracks, at the same spot where it is held in modern times. A mosque would have existed there, too, according to the city planning most Ottoman cities followed.
Argos grew exponentially during this time, with its sprawl being unregulated and without planning. As French explorer Pouqueville noted, "its houses are not aligned, without order, scattered all over the place, divided by home gardens and uncultivated areas". Liepur mahala appears to have been the most organised, having the best layout, while Bekir mahala and Karamoutza mahala were the most labyrinthine. However, all quarters shared the same type of streets; firstly, they all had main streets which were wide, busy and public roads meant to allow for communication between neighbourhoods (typical examples are, to a great extent, modern-day Korinthou, Nafpliou and Tripoleos streets). Secondary streets were also common in all four quarters since they lead to the interior of each mahala, having a semi-public character, whereas the third type of streets referred to dead-end private alleys used specifically by families to access their homes. Remnants of this city layout can be witnessed even today, as Argos still preserves several elements of this Ottoman type style, particularly with its long and complicated streets, its narrow alleys and its densely constructed houses.
With the exception of a period of Venetian domination in 1687–1715, Argos remained in Ottoman hands until the beginning of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, when wealthy Ottoman families moved to nearby Nafplio due to its stronger walling.
At that time, as part of the general uprising, many local governing bodies were formed in different parts of the country, and the "Consulate of Argos" was proclaimed on 28 March 1821, under the Peloponnesian Senate. It had a single head of state, Stamatellos Antonopoulos, styled "Consul", between 28 March and 26 May 1821.
Later, Argos accepted the authority of the unified Provisional Government of the First National Assembly at Epidaurus, and eventually became part of the Kingdom of Greece. With the coming of governor Ioannis Kapodistrias, the city underwent efforts of modernisation. Being an agricultural village, the need for urban planning was vital. For this reason, in 1828, Kapodistrias himself appointed mechanic Stamatis Voulgaris as the creator of a city plan which would offer Argos big streets, squares and public spaces. However, both Voulgaris and, later, French architect de Borroczun's plans were not well received by the locals, with the result that the former had to be revised by Zavos. Ultimately, none of the plans were fully implemented. Still, the structural characteristics of de Borroczun's plan can be found in the city today, despite obvious proof of pre-revolutionary layout, such as the unorganised urban sprawl testified in the area from Inachou street to the point where the railway tracks can be found today.
After talks concerning the intentions of the Greek government to move the Greek capital from Nafplio to Athens, discussions regarding the possibility of Argos also being a candidate as the potential new capital became more frequent, with supporters of the idea claiming that, unlike Athens, Argos was naturally protected by its position and benefited from a nearby port (Nafplio). Moreover, it was maintained that construction of public buildings would be difficult in Athens, given that most of the land was owned by the Greek church, meaning that a great deal of expropriation would have to take place. On the contrary, Argos did not face a similar problem, having large available areas for this purpose. In the end, the proposition of the Greek capital being moved to Argos was rejected by the father of king Otto, Ludwig, who insisted in making Athens the capital, something which eventually happened in 1834.
During the German occupation, Argos airfield was frequently attacked by Allied forces. One of the raids was so large that it resulted in the bombing of the city on October 14, 1943, with the casualties of about 100 dead Argives and several casualties, and 75 of the Germans. The bombing started from the airfield heading southeast, hitting the monastery of Katakrykmeni and several areas of the city, up to the railway station.
The mythological kings of Argos are (in order): Inachus, Phoroneus, Apis, Argus, Criasus, (Phorbas, Triopas is sometimes between Criasus and Iasus in some sources), Iasus, Agenor, (Crotopus and Sthenelus was between Agenor and Gelanor in some sources), Gelanor AKA Pelasgus, Danaus, Lynceus, Abas, Proetus, Acrisius, Perseus, Megapenthes, (Argeus and Anaxagoras comes after in some sources). An alternative version supplied by Tatian of the original 17 consecutive kings of Argos includes Apis, Argios, Kriasos and Phorbas between Argus and Triopas, explaining the apparent unrelation of Triopas to Argus.
The city of Argos was believed to be the birthplace of the mythological character Perseus, the son of the god Zeus and Danaë, who was the daughter of the king of Argos, Acrisius.
After the original 17 kings of Argos, there were three kings ruling Argos at the same time (see Anaxagoras), one descended from Bias, one from Melampus, and one from Anaxagoras. Melampus was succeeded by his son Mantius, then Oicles, and Amphiaraus, and his house of Melampus lasted down to the brothers Alcmaeon and Amphilochus.
Anaxagoras was succeeded by his son Alector, and then Iphis. Iphis left his kingdom to his nephew Sthenelus, the son of his brother Capaneus.
Bias was succeeded by his son Talaus, and then by his son Adrastus who, with Amphiaraus, commanded the disastrous war of the Seven against Thebes. Adrastus bequeathed the kingdom to his son, Aegialeus, who was subsequently killed in the war of the Epigoni. Diomedes, grandson of Adrastus through his son-in-law Tydeus and daughter Deipyle, replaced Aegialeus and was King of Argos during the Trojan war. This house lasted longer than those of Anaxagoras and Melampus, and eventually the kingdom was reunited under its last member, Cyanippus, son of Aegialeus, soon after the exile of Diomedes.
After Christianity became established in Argos, the first bishop documented in extant written records is Genethlius, who in 448 AD took part in the synod called by Archbishop Flavian of Constantinople that deposed Eutyches from his priestly office and excommunicated him. The next bishop of Argos, Onesimus, was at the 451 Council of Chalcedon. His successor, Thales, was a signatory of the letter that the bishops of the Roman province of Hellas sent in 458 to Byzantine Emperor Leo I the Thracian to protest the killing of Proterius of Alexandria. Bishop Ioannes was at the Third Council of Constantinople in 680, and Theotimus at the Photian Council of Constantinople (879). The local see is today the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Argolis.
Under 'Frankish' Crusader rule, Argos became a Latin Church bishopric in 1212, which lasted as a residential see until Argos was taken by the Ottoman Empire in 1463  but would be revived under the second Venetian rule in 1686. Today the diocese is a Catholic titular see.
Argos has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa). It is one of the hottest places in Greece during summer. Argos has generally cold winters, although due to the local climate, some winter months may have little rainfall. The weather of Argos includes an abundant amount of sunny days throughout the year, even in the winter. Temperatures below zero degrees Celsius are recorded mostly in the nightly hours during the winter months. Snowfalls are generally rare there, although not unheard of. The most recent significant snowfall in Argos occurred in early January 2017 during a large European cold wave. There is also a degree of variation in the annual rainfall volumes in Argos, as rainfall in Argos usually is between 300 and 800 millimeters depending the year.
|Climate data for Argos (1980–2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||14.6
|Daily mean °C (°F)||8.2
|Average low °C (°F)||3.0
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||66.5
|Average precipitation days||10.3||10.1||9.7||8.6||6.2||3.0||2.1||2.5||5.0||6.9||9.4||12.2||86|
|Average relative humidity (%)||75.3||73.6||72.2||68.6||60.5||54.0||52.5||56.6||65.8||71.8||76.7||77.3||67.1|
|Source: Hellenic National Meteorological Agency|
The city of Argos is delimited to the north by dry river Xerias, to the east by Inachos river and Panitsa stream (which emanates from the latter), to the west by the Larissa hill (site of homonymous castle and of a monastery called Panagia Katakekrymeni-Portokalousa) and the Aspida Hill (unofficially Prophetes Elias hill), and to the south by the Notios Periferiakos road.
The Agios Petros (Saint Peter) square, along with the eponymous cathedral (dedicated to saint Peter the Wonderworker), make up the town centre, whereas some other characteristic town squares are the Laiki Agora (Open Market) square, officially Dimokratias (Republic) square, where, as implied by its name, an open market takes place twice a week, Staragora (Wheat Market), officially Dervenakia square, and Dikastirion (Court) square. Bonis Park is an essential green space of the city.
Currently, the most commercially active streets of the city are those surrounding the Agios Petros square (Kapodistriou, Danaou, Vassileos Konstantinou streets) as well as Korinthou street. The Pezodromi (Pedestrian Streets), i.e. the paved Michael Stamou, Tsaldari and Venizelou streets, are the most popular meeting point, encompassing a wide variety of shops and cafeterias. The neighborhood of Gouva, which extends around the intersection of Vassileos Konstantinou and Tsokri streets, is also considered a commercial point.
In the center of the city, next to the St. Peter's church, there is an artificial lake that was constructed and filled during an extensive redevelopment works in the city, which lasted between February 2015 and April 2016. During the work for the redevelopment of the city's square the floor of the old (now demolished) church of St. Nicholas was found, which was located north of the present-day church of St. Peter, that was built after 1865. Pursuant to a decision of the Central Archaeological Council, the floor and part of the sidewalls of the old church were covered with dirt in early March 2016.
On 15 February 2022 a new statue of Heracles was unveiled. It is a replica of a statue made by Lysippus of Sicyon in the 4th century BC. The Roman copy of Lysippus' statue is known as the Farnese Hercules, and it is exhibited in Naples, Italy.
In March 2022 the construction of the fountain in St. Peter's square was completed. In the base of the marble fountain there are four lions. Above the visitor can see four members of the Danaids. The fountain has a width of 7 meters and a height of 5 meters, while the fountain was designed in collaboration with the Supreme School of Fine Arts in Athens.
The city has three monasteries that are located in Larissa hill.
In 700 BC there were at least 5,000 people living in the city. In the fourth century BC, the city was home to as many as 30,000 people. Today, according to the 2011 Greek census, the city has a population of 22,085. It is the largest city in Argolis, larger than the capital Nafplio.
The primary economic activity in the area is agriculture. Citrus fruits are the predominant crop, followed by olives and apricots. The area is also famous for its local melon variety, Argos melons (or Argitiko). There is also important local production of dairy products, factories for fruits processing.
Considerable remains of the ancient and medieval city survive and are a popular tourist attraction.
Most of Argos' historical and archaeological monuments are currently unused, abandoned, or only partially renovated:
A great number of archaeological findings, dating from the prehistoric ages, can be found at the Argos museum, housed at the old building of Dimitrios Kallergis at Saint Peter's square. The Argos airfield, located in the homonymous area (Aerodromio) in the northwest outskirts of the city, is also worth mentioning. The area it covers was created in 1916–1917 and was heavily used during the Greco-Italian War and for the training of new Kaberos school aviators for the Hellenic Air Force Academy. It also constituted an important benchmark in the organization of the Greek air forces in southern Greece. Furthermore, the airfield was used by the Germans for the release of their aerial troops during the Battle of Crete. It was last used as a landing/takeoff point for spray planes (for agricultural purposes in the olive tree cultivations) up until 1985.
Argos is connected via regular bus services with neighbouring areas as well as Athens. In addition, taxi stands can be found at the Agios Petros as well as the Laiki Agora square. A good road network ensures the connection of the city with the surrounding towns, villages and the rest of Peloponnese and the country.
The city also has a railway station which, at the moment, remains closed due to an indefinite halt to all railway services in the Peloponnese area by the Hellenic Railways Organisation. However, in late 2014, it was announced that the station would open up again, as part of an expansion of the Athens suburban railway in Argos, Nafplio and Korinthos, however the plan never came in fruition. Finally in mid 2020 it was announced by the administration of Peloponnese Region their cooperation with the Hellenic Railways Organisation for the metric line and stations maintenance for the purpose of the line's reoperation in the middle of 2021. As of April 2023, no steps have yet been taken to even prepare for an upcoming reopening of the railway lines, to the dismay of the local populus.
Argos has a wide range of educational institutes that also serve neighbouring sparsely populated areas and villages. In particular, the city has seven dimotika (primary schools), four gymnasia (junior high), three lyceums (senior high), one vocational school, one music school as well as a Touristical Business and Cooking department and a post-graduate ASPETE department. The city also has two public libraries.
For the academic year 2020–2021, the beginning of operations for a faculty of Rural Economy of the University of Peloponnese in Argos was planned. However, the creation of this faculty was cancelled by the Greek ministry of education.
There is a municipal children's'-youth library next to the Bonis Park, and another one next to Aggeli Bobou street.
Argos hosts two major sport clubs with presence in higher national divisions and several achievements, Panargiakos F.C. football club, founded in 1926 and AC Diomidis Argous handball club founded in 1976. Other sport clubs that are based in Argos: A.E.K. Argous, Apollon Argous, Aristeas Argous, Olympiakos Argous, Danaoi and Panionios Dalamanaras.
The city has a municipal sports' center, an indoor gym and a municipal swimming bath that was opened in May 2021.
|Sport clubs based in Argos|
|Panargiakos F.C.||1926||Football||Earlier presence in Alpha Ethniki|
|AC Diomidis Argous||1976||Handball||Panhellenic and European titles in Greek handball|
Argos is twinned with: