Volos is the capital of the prefecture of Magnesia and of the Thessaly district. The population of Volos is 150,000. Volos lies at the cove of Pagasitikos Gulf and is the railway hub of the Volos - Larisa and Volos - Kalabaka lines. Volos together with the neighboring municipality of Nea Ionia is the fifth largest (as far as population is concerned) city in Greece (after Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra and Larisa).
Volos is a well-planned city with wide, straight streets and a beautiful sea-front. The city lies at the foot of the spectacular Mount Pelion.
Volos is one of the most industrialized provincial cities of Greece, due to its strategic location between the largest population centers of the country (Athens - Thessaloníki) and its port. Industry is intensely specialized in steel production and manufacturing, and METKA has two large factories in the industrial area of Volos, while large factories of SIDENOR - a steel producer - operate in close proximity from the nearby city of Almyros. Hellenic Steel industry (Helliniki Halivourgia) also has production facilities in Volos, and AGET - Hraklis, a member of the Lafarge group, operates one of the largest cement facilities in the world (with capacity exceeding 7,000,000tn) with its own private port, next to the city. Volos is also active in the research sector, hosting the CERETETH.
The city of Volos has always had a major role in the financial, economic, commercial and administrative matters of the region of Thessaly and Central Greece, due to the strategic position of the city's port, unique between Athens and Thessaloniki. Several European countries have established consulates in Volos including: Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands.
The University of Thessaly was founded in 1984 and has elected the first Rectorate Board in 1998. Its administrative and academic centre is in the city of Volos. In order to serve the needs of the region of Thessaly, its first Departments were based on agricultural, educational and technological sciences. In its initial phase of organization and operation there have been eight Departments, seven of them in Volos and one, the School of Medicine, in Larissa. Since 1984 and onwards the University of Thessaly has been gradually growing with new Departments in the four biggest cities of the region of Thessaly, Volos, Larissa, Trikala and Karditsa. Its present academic structure consists of sixteen (16) Departments, four (4) Faculties and they were all founded by the end of 2000-01.
The Museum of Volos houses one of the biggest collections of stone age artifacts (found in Dimini, a village near Volos) as well as coins and statues from the long history of Thessalia from the Mycenean (Bronze Age civilization which existed in Greece, Crete, Asia Minor, etc. from c. 1700-c. 1100 B.C.) to the Roman age.
Volos is a relatively new city, built only in 1823, where an insignificant Turkish hamlet used to be. But long before the 13th century, there was a village, Golos, there which was occupied by the governor of Thessaloniki Monachos. During the Turkish occupation Golos was the administrative center of the 24 villages of Pelion. After the successful war of independence from the Ottoman Empire Volos become one of the most successful cities in Greece. Merchants, businessmen, craftsmen and sailors moved to Volos from the surrounding area. The city suffered extensive damage during the 1955 and 1975 earthquakes, when a lot of buildings were destroyed. Volos was quickly rebuilt, however, and today is one of the most beautiful Greek cities.