Clockwise from top: Central Bridge, Trikala Castle, a street in Varousi (old town), Osman Shah Mosque, Asclepius Statue, view of Varousi (old town), Panagia Faneromeni Church, Trikala Clock Tower
Trikala is located in Greece
Location within the region
Coordinates: 39°33′N 21°46′E / 39.550°N 21.767°E / 39.550; 21.767
Administrative regionThessaly
Regional unitTrikala
 • MayorNikolaos Sakkas[1] (since 2023)
 • Municipality607.59 km2 (234.59 sq mi)
 • Municipal unit69.2 km2 (26.7 sq mi)
115 m (377 ft)
 • Municipality78,605
 • Density130/km2 (340/sq mi)
 • Municipal unit
 • Municipal unit density900/km2 (2,300/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
421 00
Area code(s)24310
Vehicle registrationΤΚ

Trikala (Greek: Τρίκαλα) is a city in northwestern Thessaly, Greece, and the capital of the Trikala regional unit. The city straddles the Lithaios river, which is a tributary of Pineios. According to the Greek National Statistical Service, Trikala is populated by 81,355 inhabitants (2011), while in total the Trikala regional unit is populated by 131,085 inhabitants (2011).

Trikala is a lively Greek city with picturesque monuments and old neighborhoods with traditional architecture. The city is near Meteora and also near the mountain range of south Pindus, where there are many destinations (i.e. Pyli's stone bridge, Elati, Pertouli, Palaiokarya's stone bridge and waterfall, Pertouli Ski Center etc.).[3]


The city's name derives from the ancient Trikka or Trikke (Greek: Τρίκκα or Greek: Τρίκκη), which was itself named after a nymph that was a daughter of Peneus or Asopos. The name Trikala appears in the Byzantine period. In Ottoman Turkish it was known as Tirhala. In Aromanian it is known as Trikolj.



Silver hemidrachm struck in Trikka 440-400 BC.
O: naked Thessalian youth restraining forepart of unruly prancing bull R:forepart of bridled prancing horse
A statue of Asclepius

The region of Trikala has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The first indications of permanent settlement have been uncovered in the cave of Theopetra, and date back to approx. 49,000 BC. Neolithic settlements dating back to 6,000 BC have been uncovered in Megalo Kefalovriso and other locations.

The city of Trikala is built on the ancient city of Trikka or Trikke, which was founded around the 3rd millennium BC and took its name from the nymph Trikke, daughter of Peneus, or according to others, daughter of the river god Asopus. The ancient city was built at a defensive location in between the local hill and the river Lithaios. The city became an important center in antiquity and it was considered to be the birthplace and main residence of the healing god Asclepius.[citation needed] The city exhibited one of the most important and ancient of Asclepius' healing temples, called asclepieia. The city is mentioned in Homer's Iliad as having participated in the Trojan War with thirty ships under Asclepius' sons Machaon and Podalirius. In the Mycenean period, the city was the capital of a kingdom, and later it constituted the main center of the Thessalian region of Estaiotis, which occupied roughly the territory of the modern Trikala Prefecture.

In historical times, the city of Trikke and the surrounding area experienced prosperity. It fell to the Achaemenid Persians in 480 BC, while ten years later it joined the Thessalian monetary union. In 352 BC it was united with the Macedonia of Philip II. The city became a location of hard battles between Macedonia and Rome. While Philip V of Macedon and his son Perseus tried to keep the city, after 168 BC it fell to the Roman Republic.

Middle Ages

Inside the Byzantine castle

While the area was considered to be firmly under the rule of the Byzantine Empire, it was invaded nevertheless by a succession of raiders and nomadic tribes. Some of these tribes that raided the area include: Goths (396), Huns (447), Slavs (577), Bulgarians (986–1000), Normans (1082/3), Catalans (1309–1311).

The current name of Trikala first appears in the 11th-century Strategikon of Kekaumenos, where "Trikalitan Vlachs" are mentioned, and then in the early 12th-century Alexiad of Anna Komnene.[4] Later in the century, the Arab traveller and geographer al-Idrisi recorded the town as "an important agrarian center with abundant vineyards and gardens" (T.E. Gregory).[4]

After the dissolution of the Byzantine state by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, Trikala does not appear to have fallen into Frankish hands, but became part of the Despotate of Epirus. Epirote rule lasted until 1259, when the town was taken without resistance by the Empire of Nicaea (after 1261 the renewed Byzantine Empire) following the Battle of Pelagonia.[4] In the early 14th century the town was the capital of a semi-independent domain under the sebastokrator Stephen Gabrielopoulos, which extended across much of western Thessaly and Macedonia. After his death in 1332/3 the city, along with most of Gabrielopoulos' lands, was seized by the Epirote ruler John II Orsini, but he was in turn expelled and the area incorporated into the Byzantine Empire by Andronikos III Palaiologos.[4][5]

In 1348, Thessaly was conquered by Stephen Dushan and incorporated into the newly established Serbian Empire. The Serbian general Preljub was made the region's governor, and established himself at Trikala. In 1359, Dushan's half-brother Symeon Uroš established his court at Trikala, and in 1366/7 he founded the Meteora monasteries nearby. Symeon was succeeded by his son John Uroš, and he in turn by the local magnates Alexios Angelos Philanthropenos and Manuel Angelos Philanthropenos, who ruled until the Ottoman conquest of Thessaly in 1393/4.[4][6]

Ottoman period

Osman Shah Mosque
A street in Varousi

Under Ottoman rule, the city was called Tırhala. Its fortunes in the early period of Ottoman rule are unclear: it is reported as being part of a large sanjak under Ahmed, the son of Evrenos Bey, but in the early 15th century it formed part of the domain of Turahan Bey, who brought in Muslim settlers and granted privileges to the local Greek population. Turahan and his son and successor, Ömer Bey, erected many buildings in the city, helping it, in the words of the historian Alexandra Yerolimpos, to "[acquire] the appearance of a typical Ottoman town, with mosques, medreses, a hammam, imaret, khan and karwansaray extending beyond the citadel and the Varoussi (Varosh) quarter which remained Christian".[7]

As the administrative center of the local province (the Sanjak of Trikala), the city attracted Muslim immigrants and had large Muslim and Jewish communities: in the 1454/5 census, the city had 2,453 inhabitants (251 Muslim families and 9 widows, and 212 Christian families and 73 widows); in 1506, the city numbered 3,100 inhabitants, with 260 Muslim, 310 Christian and 19 Jewish families; in 1520/38, the number had risen to 301 Muslim, 343 Christian, and 181 Jewish families.[7] The city also became an important intellectual center during these years (1543–1854) with the Trikke School (and later Greek School), where famous intellectuals of the time, such as Dionysius the Philosopher, taught. Christian children from Trikala also became Janissaries. According to the 1603-4 "eşkal defter" Christian boys from the villages around the town were included in the batch that the Turnacıbaşı, the Chief collection officer levied.[8]

The 17th-century Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi reports that the city had 2,300 houses divided into sixteen Muslim and eight Christian quarters (mahalla); eight mosques, of which only the city's main mosque, the Osman Shah Mosque built by Mimar Sinan, survives today; four hammams; six tekkes; and the probably exaggerated number of 1,000 shops, although Evliya curiously does not mention the city's impressive bezesten (covered market) which was demolished in the early 20th century.[7] The city was largely burned down in a great fire in 1749, a destruction repeated by Albanian irregulars following an abortive uprising by the local Christian population during the Orlov Revolt. Despite the destruction, its population seems to have remained the same, ca. 25,000, until the outbreak of the Greek Revolution in 1821.[7] By 1840, it reportedly had only 10,000 inhabitants, with the last Ottoman census in 1877/8 listing 25,000 inhabitants for the entire sanjak of Trikala.[7]

Modern period

Dorothea School houses also the Philharmonic Society of Trikala

On 23 August 1881 with the Treaty of Constantinople between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Greece, the city passed in Greek sovereignty, along with the rest of Thessaly. It became occupied again by Ottoman forces briefly during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. In the years that followed, Trikala played a fundamental role in the rural workers' mobilizations, in the early 20th century, against the Thessalian landlords (Greek: Τσιφλικάδες). Trikala eventually became the city that the first Agricultural Cooperative of Greece was founded, in 1906.

Historically, Trikala and its surroundings had a notable concentration of Aromanians, including from other regions.[9]

The town lost much of its Ottoman and medieval buildings in the early 20th century, particularly after it was rebuilt to a modern urban plan in the 1930s.[7]

Trikala today is a vibrant greek city, well known throughout Greece for its river that bisects the city center and also for the historic monuments and the picturesque old town. [3]


Ruins of the ancient greek Asclepieion in the archaeological site of Ancient Trikka
View of the clock tower, located within the Byzantine castle of the old town (Varousi).
Panagia Faneromeni church in Varousi
Panagia Episkepsi church in Varousi
View of the old town of Varousi from the castle.
Traditional architecture in Varousi
A street in Manavika
Central bridge

Nearby destinations

Trikala city is in close proximity of many interesting destinations in the region suitable for daily trips. The city is near the world famous Meteora and Kalampaka and also near the mountain range of south Pindus with its renowned sights i.e. the stone bridge of Pyli (16th c.), the Byzantine Church of Porta Panagia, the stone bridge (16th c.) and waterfall of Palaiokarya, Elati, Pertouli, Neraidochori and Pertouli Ski Center.


The municipality Trikala was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 8 former municipalities, that became municipal units:[16]

The municipality has an area of 607.585 km2, the municipal unit 69.205 km2.[17]


The province of Trikala was one of the provinces of the Trikala Prefecture. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipalities Trikala, Farkadona and Pyli.[18] It was abolished in 2006.


Trikala is home to the General Hospital of the Trikala Prefecture. The Physical Education and Sport Science department of the University of Thessaly is also located in Trikala, and was founded in 1994, with the first students being admitted in the academic year 1994-1995; it was originally housed in the Matsopoulos Park facility, but moved to the new Karyes campus in July 1999. Trikala has over 20 schools of secondary education, and a modern night technical school also functions in the town.

Trikala has the distinction of being the first smart city in Greece, integrating new technologies into the daily life of the municipality and providing government services to citizens by means of e-governance.[19][20] Furthermore, it is in the process of becoming Greece's first 5G-ready city.[21]


The city is next to the Motorway 3 (A3), or the Central Greek motorway (known also as E65 highway). KTEL, which is the main intercity public transport bus service in Greece, has frequent bus itineraries, connecting Trikala with the surrounding regions, Athens, Thessaloniki and many other cities of the mainland. The city is also served by a railway station. There are daily basis train connection to Athens and Thessaloniki.


Trikala's continental influence isn't enough for the city to avoid being classified as a Mediterranean climate (Csa), although with significant diurnal temperature variation. Summers are very hot, with an August average high of 34.5 °C (94.1 °F). Meanwhile, autumn and spring are quite mild, lacking extremely low or high temperatures. Freezing temperatures occur sporadically, especially during winter nights. Occasional snowfall is observed but is generally not significant.

Climate data for Trikala Castle
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 10.7
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 1.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 58.6
Source: [1] 2010-2020 precipitation ,2019-2021 temperatures

Sporting teams

Twin towns - sister cities

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Greece

Trikala is twinned with:[22]

Historical population

Railway station building.
Year Municipal unit Municipality
1991 48,857 74,832
2001 54,605 78,817
2011 61,653 81,355
2021 62,064 78,605

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ Municipality of Trikala, Municipal elections – October 2023, Ministry of Interior
  2. ^ "Αποτελέσματα Απογραφής Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2021, Μόνιμος Πληθυσμός κατά οικισμό" [Results of the 2021 Population - Housing Census, Permanent population by settlement] (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority. 29 March 2024.
  3. ^ a b "Trikala City - Η Πόλη του Ασκληπιού - Νομός Τρικάλων".
  4. ^ a b c d e Gregory, Timothy E. (1991). "Trikkala". In Kazhdan, Alexander (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 2115–2116. ISBN 0-19-504652-8.
  5. ^ Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. pp. 246, 252–253. ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5.
  6. ^ Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. pp. 320, 352–353. ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Yerolimpos, Alexandra (2000). "Tirḥāla". In Bearman, P. J.; Bianquis, Th.; Bosworth, C. E.; van Donzel, E. & Heinrichs, W. P. (eds.). The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Volume X: T–U. Leiden: E. J. Brill. pp. 539–540. ISBN 978-90-04-11211-7.
  8. ^ Yılmaz, Gülay (2015-12-01). "The Devshirme System and the Levied Children of Bursa in 1603-4". Belleten (in Turkish). 79 (286): 901–930. doi:10.37879/belleten.2015.901. ISSN 0041-4255.
  10. ^ "Ασκληπιείο Αρχαίας Τρίκκης - Ασκληπιείο Τρίκαλα".
  11. ^ a b c "A proposal for the enhancement and ideal administration of monuments in the town of Trikala (Part 1)". 17 February 2014.
  12. ^ "Λόφος του Προφήτη Ηλία – Η ομορφιά έχει πράσινο".
  13. ^ "Ληθαίος ποταμός". 12 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Μουσείο Τσιτσάνη - Βασίλης Τσιτσάνης". Μουσείο Τσιτσάνη.
  15. ^ "Ανοικτό και πάλι το εξαίσιο Λαογραφικό Μουσείο Τρικάλων". 11 December 2022.
  16. ^ "ΦΕΚ A 87/2010, Kallikratis reform law text" (in Greek). Government Gazette.
  17. ^ "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece.
  18. ^ "Detailed census results 1991" (PDF). (39 MB) (in Greek and French)
  19. ^ "The 'smart city' of Trikala and the future of Greece". Kathimerini. 24 March 2017. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  20. ^ "Inside Greece's first smart city: 'Now you don't need to know a politician to get something done'". The Guardian. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  21. ^ "Τα Τρίκαλα γίνονται η πρώτη 5G πόλη". News247. 18 August 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  22. ^ "Αδελφοποιημένες Πόλεις". (in Greek). Trikala. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 2020-01-09.

Additional reading