AskDefine | Define magnesia

Dictionary Definition

magnesia n : a white solid mineral that occurs naturally as periclase; a source of magnesium [syn: periclase, magnesium oxide]

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see Magnesia



Middle English magnesia, from late Latin magnesia, from Ancient Greek μαγνησία, after Μαγνησία, a city name in Thessaly, Lydia, and Asia Minor.


Extensive Definition

This article is about the region of Greece. For other meanings, see Magnesia (disambiguation)
Magnesia (Greek: Μαγνησία Magnisia), deriving from the Macedonian tribe name Magnetes, is the name of the southeastern area of Thessaly in central Greece. The modern prefecture was created in 1947 out of the Larissa prefecture. About 70% of the population live in the Greater Volos area which is the second-largest city in Thessaly and the third busiest commercial port in Greece. Much of the population lives near the Pagasetic Gulf and in the eastern part.
The capital of Magnesia prefecture is the metropolitan city of Volos one of the most scenic and developed urban areas in Greece. Magnesia is located only half way between Athens and Thessaloniki. According to the most recent census carried out (2001), the population stands at 207,000. The capital of the prefecture is a metropolitan city consisting of three municipalities, the municipality of Volos with a population of around 95,000 (2001), the municipality of Nea Ionia with approximately 45,000 permanent and temporary citizens, and the municipality of Iolkos with around 3,500 citizens. Mount Pelion, the mountain of the Centaurs, generously offers natural beauty and spectacular views to its visitors. The peaks and the slopes of the mountain are decorated with small churches dedicated to saints and the Virgin Mary. In this quaint churches one can admire precious relics and post-Byzantine icons. The prefecture of Magnesia is as well proud of the Northern Sporades group of islands located at the East of mainland Magnesia. Skiathos island, famous tourist resort of the Mediterranean sea worldwide, along with the greenest island of the Mediterranean Skopelos, the ecological Alonissos with the national park of Mediterranean Monk Seals or Monachus monachus, and smaller islets comprises the summer paradise for over 2,000,000 million tourists every year.
Magnesia is represented in the Greek Parliament by five members.


The perfecture of Magnesia with its distinguished natural beauties and the infrequent morphological alterations and oppositions undoubtedly charms visitors. Wooded mountain slopes with interesting flora, running waters, cultivable land, lacy beaches and picturesque bays, compose the natural landscape of the region that combines uniquely holidays by the mountain and the sea. The area's main element is the relief of verdurous Pelion, which extends on the East area of the Prefecture, close to the Aegean Sea and is ideal for holidays all year round.
The main mountainous volume of Magnesia is Pelion, which is also considered to be the Southeast part of mountain Maurovounio; togehter, they occupy the Eastern section of the Magnesia/Pelion peninsula. Mountain Maurovouni (1054 metres) is the Northeast mountain of the prefectre of Magnesia and extends to the prefectre of Larissa, where its highest peak is found.
Pelion extends entirely in Magnesia and occupies the homonym peninsula, which actually is the East breakwater of Pagasetic Gulf. The mountains high peak is Pourianos Stavros or Xeforti, (altitude 1624 metres). On the edge of Magnesia peninsula mountain Tiseo is found, which is considered to be the Southeast edge of Pelion. Another important mountain of the region is Othris, with its highest peak called Gerakovouni (1726 metres) and is the boundary of the prefectures of Magnesia nand Phthiotis.
In its interior Magnesia has two plains. One found between Halkodonio and Othry is called Almyros plain, while the other between Halkodonio and Pelion is called the Volos-Velestino plain. The hydrological network of the prefecture is not particularly rich and is characterized by the absence of big rivers. The waters coming from Pelion shape the torrents of Anavros, Platanorema, Xirias.
On the North section of the prefecture Lake Karla was formerly found , which has drained, and today an effort for its partial reconstruction takes place.On the bight of Sourpi, next to Amaliapolis a remarkable coastal wetland is found, where various species of migratory birds are hosted.This wetland together with the aesthetic forest of Kouri - an infrequent lowland of Oak tree forest close to Almyros - is included in the list of the protected regions of the European Network Natura 2000.
The coastal line of Magnesia is characterized by the famous Pagasetic Gulf, which is attributed to the sinking that occurred due to earthquakes that took place in the region.
It is bounded by Phthiotis region in the southwest, the Larissa in the west and north and the Aegean Sea in the east. The lagoon of Lake Voiviis or Karla is to the north and is surrounded with farmlands to the west and mountains to the east. It is one of the prefectures that is bounded with only two prefectures. It should also be noted that the chemical element, Magnesium, was named after the City of Magnesia by Sir Humphrey Davy in 1808


The climate in Magnesia lends itself to tourism. the average temperature is 17 degrees Celsius and the average rainfall about 540 millimetres per year. Heat waves and intense cold periods are rare. During the summer the temperature rises up to about 37 to 38 °C in August. The climate changes from place in the country; close to the Pagasetic Gulf conditions are a little humid, in Nea Ionia it is quite dry and in Velestino and Almyros is continental.



According to Hesiod's (probably) "Eoiae" (Greek : Ηοίαι) or "Catalogue of Women" on the origin of the Greeks, Pandora (named after her grandmother Pandora, sister of Hellen and daughter of Deukalion and Pyrrha) together with Zeus had one son Graecus, while Zeus had two more with Thyia, another of Deukalion's daughter: Magnes and Macedon who together with Hellen's three sons Dorus, Xuthus (with his sons Ion and Achaeus) and Aeolos, comprised the set of progenitors of the ancient tribes that formed the Greek/Hellenic nation, with Magnes ruling the area and people under his name. Magnesia is also homeland of the mythical heroes Jason, Peleus and his son Achilles. The word magnet comes from the Greek "magnítis líthos" (μαγνήτης λίθος), which means "magnesian stone". The names for the elements magnesium and manganese are also derived from this region, which in addition to the magnetic magnetite (an iron ore), produces certain ores of magnesium and manganese that were known to alchemists. The Magnetes contributed to the Greek colonization, with their main colonies being established before the 7th century BC, under the names of Magnesia beside Sipylus in Lydia and Magnesia on the Maeander in Ionia.

Christian Era

Written witnesses and remains of the 5th century AD document the appearance of Christianity in Magnesia. The minutes of the 3rd Ecumenical Conference are co-signed by the bishop of Dimitriada Cleonikos. Five basilicas have been revealed in Nea Anhialos, showing that the area was undergoing a spiritual growth at that era. The visitor of the digging open area and the Museum in Nea Anhialos can verify the dynamic role of the Orthodox Church in that age. Later on, the interference of spiritualism in the daily and social life of the inhabitants is obvious. Pelion is full of temples, monasteries and small churches, many of them are architectural masterpieces that have rescued the respectability of the old and younger generation and the traditional style that is well known as "Pelioritica".
In the area of Pelion the visitor can find the monasteries of Saint Yerasimos in Makrinitsa. The Holy Archangels in Agios (Saint) Georgios Nilias, Osios Lavredios in the homonym village, Saint John the Baptist in Siki and Saint Spiridon in Promiri. The most famous is the Monastery in Flamouri (top picture on the right), built in the 16th century by Osios Simeon, the so-called "barefoot and mono-cloth" in a fabulous location above Veneto.
In the Almiros area and on the mountain of Othris two other monasteries were built, one inhabited by monks in Ano Pagania (Virgin Mary) Xenia and one buy nuns in Kato Panagia Xenia, historical monuments of the area from the 12th century, full of wall paintings, treasuries and library. In Kato Panagia Xenia monastery, the icon of Virgin Mary, mostly honorable by all the people of the area, is kept. All the monasteries are of archeological, historical and artistic interest, they are accessible (the one in Flamouri only by men) and information is offered by the Holy Bishopric of Dimitriada at 24210 47501 and 24210 47593 phone numbers.
Every village, every valley, every slope in Pelion is crowned by its church. Beautiful basilicas with narthices, rich inside deco- ration, with unique temples gather the faithfull and the beauty hunters. In Zagora, every church is an artistic monument, with wood caved temples, with portable meta-Byzantine icons, with valuable holy articles. In Kissos the temple of Santa Marina (second and third picture on the right) is unique. In Milies the Holy Archangels church in the village centre possesses a valuable temple and 18th century icons, that have been restored lately. Famous temples can be found also in the Holy Cross church of Anemoutsa in Agria, in St. Demetrios church in Saint Lavredios village, in the Holy Archangels church in Tsagarada, in the Holy Trinity in Mouressi, in Saint Demetrios church in Makrinitsa, to Episkopi and to the Holy Trinity church in Ano Volos is worthy for somebody to remain ecstatic in front of the magnificent Byzantine sculptures of the ancient monastery of Acute Visitation, as well as to Santa Marina in Kissos and to Saint Demetrios in Neohori to enjoy the Pagonis wall paintings. Additionally one can visit the Virgin Mary chapel in Portaria, built in 1273.
All these sites provide opportunities for spiritual and psychical uplift, at the same time self-isolation and meditation, wonderful views and calmness.

Modern era

The modern Magnesian capital is the city of Volos, and the homonymous prefecture includes the Almyros plain, Nea Anchialos archaeological excavations, the Pagasetic Gulf, the Mount Pelion peninsula and the Northern Sporades islands. The prefecture was flooded on October 10 2006, one of the prefecture's worst recorded floods. The flood devastated crops and groves and nearly 100,000 homes. The city of Volos was flooded. A railroad bridge connecting Volos and Larissa collapsed when the central stone support was ruined by a combination of rocks, mud and debris carried by a swollen river. Several mudslides were reported.

Municipalities and communities

Archaeological sites




The first paved roads appeared in the 20th century as part of the program to have all city streets paved. The prefecture was to be linked with the railway in the late-19th century. In 1964, the GR-1 superhighway was opened to traffic and also additional roads were to be paved. The secondary ones were paved in the 1960s and the tertiary ones were paved in the late-20th century. The prefecture is directly linked to the rest of Europe through International Airport of Central Greece, located in Nea Anchialos in a small distance from Volos. Until today charter flights links the region and brings tourists to the wider area, mainly in Pelion and Meteora. The new infrastructure includes a brand new terminal ready to serve 1500 passengers per hour and new airlanes.




  • Hesiod (probably), "Eoiae" or "Catalogue of Women", c.650 BC.
  • ANEM Tourist authority of Magnesia
magnesia in Catalan: Magnèsia (Tessàlia)
magnesia in German: Magnisia
magnesia in Modern Greek (1453-): Νομός Μαγνησίας
magnesia in Spanish: Magnesia (prefectura)
magnesia in Esperanto: Magnisio
magnesia in French: Nome de Magnésie
magnesia in Korean: 마그네시아
magnesia in Italian: Magnesia (Grecia)
magnesia in Latin: Magnesia (nomus Graeciae)
magnesia in Dutch: Magnesia (departement)
magnesia in Japanese: マグネシア
magnesia in Norwegian Nynorsk: Magnisía
magnesia in Polish: Magnezja (Grecja)
magnesia in Portuguese: Magnésia
magnesia in Romanian: Prefectura Magnesia
magnesia in Russian: Магнесия
magnesia in Simple English: Magnesia
magnesia in Swedish: Magnesien
magnesia in Turkish: Magnezya
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