Municipality of PYRGOS

Municipality of PYRGOS

Pyrgos, the capital of the prefecture, is the largest city in Ilia. It is continuously developing and has a population of 34,902. The city is built over the ruins of the ancient city of Dyspontio. Until the 80s it was known as the municipality of Letrina, named after the homonymous ancient city that lay in the outskirts of Pyrgos. The name Pyrgos (tower) derives from a tower built on one of the seven hills in 1512 by the local Bei (Ottoman official) of the area. The tower was completely destroyed in 1825.

The city of Pyrgos played a pivotal role during the war of independence in 1821. Several battles took place in the vicinity and the town was plundered by Ibrahim’s army in 1825. After independence, Pyrgos prospered. The town became crossroads of the provinces of Olympia, Gortynia and Ilia thus turning into the administrative centre of the whole region.

The production of raisins played a major role in the local economy. In 1870, the population reached 9,000 when Athens, the capital of Greece, had 45,000 inhabitants. An important role was played by the building of the railway line that connected Pyrgos to Katakolon. This 13 km line was the second in Greece. The raisin trade led to great prosperity and development. Many countries like Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the U.S.A. and France had consuls in Pyrgos. Many factories were established and exports and imports increased. This prosperity led to the building of a new town hall, a neoclassic market, Apollo theatre and many beautiful mansions. There was also cultural flourishing; art, literature, sports clubs and a philharmonic were established. A conservatory opened and plays and concerts were performed.

The city today remains the agricultural and administrative centre of the prefecture. You can still see interesting sights like old neoclassical buildings and churches. The central square built in front of St. Nicholas church (1906) is one of the most attractive in Greece. The municipal market and Apollo theatre are the landmarks of Pyrgos. Both neoclassical buildings were designed by the famous Bavarian architect Ernest Ziller.

The municipal market which takes up the whole block, was built around 1890. This wonderful building proves the prosperity and wealth Pyrgos experienced. It functioned as the main market venue of Pyrgos until 1957. Nowadays, it belongs to the ministry of culture and functions as a museum. Apollo theatre, another work of Ziller, is closely associated to the history of the city. Its monumental appearance and interesting morphology make it a typical example of neoclassical architecture in the last quarter of the 19th century. Recently, the theatre was renovated with funds donated by the Greek shipping tycoon Ioannis Latsis. The Latsio town hall is another interesting building donated to the city by Ioannis Latsis and it also serves as a cultural centre. The municipal public libraries host 120,000 titles. Pyrgos is surrounded by many tourist destinations, sights and beaches like Katakolon, Aghios Andreas, Korakochori, Skafidia, Aghios Elias and Spiatza. The city also hosts a technical college and has a rich cultural life organized by the local authorities.

City Hall

Pyrgos City Hall

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