- If you want information regarding Volos, a variant name of the ancient slavic god Veles, see: Veles
The greater Volos conurbation has a population of about 160,000 and includes the Municipalities of Volos and Nea Ionia, as well as smaller suburban communities. Volos is the capital of Magnesia prefecture. The economy of the city is based on manufacturing, trade, services and tourism.
Modern Volos is build on the area of the ancient cities of Demetrias or Dimitrias and Iolkos. Demetrias was established by Demetrios Poliorcetes, king of Macedonia. Iolkos or Iolcos or Iolcus was the homeland of Jason who boarded the ship Argo accompanied by the Argonauts and sailed in the quest for the Golden Fleece to Colchis. To the west of Volos there are the neolithic settlements of Dimini with a ruined acropolis, walls and two beehive tombs dated between 4000-1200 BC and Sesklo with the remains of the oldest acropolis in Greece (6000 BC), as well as the foundations of a palace and mansions among the most typical examples of neolithic civilisation.
According to a Byzantine historian of the 14th century Volos was called "Golos". The most widely accepted theory for the derivation of the city's name is that Volos is a corruption of the Mycenaean Iolkos, which was distorted through the ages to "Golkos", then "Golos" and subsequently "Volos". Others claim that it originates from Folos, who according to mythology was a wealthy landlord of the region.
Volos is a relatively new city, that began growing in the mid 19th century where an insignificant Turkish hamlet used to be. After its annexation to Greece from the Ottoman Empire in 1881, it had a population of only 4,900 but rapidly grew within the next 4 decades. Merchants, businessmen, craftsmen and sailors moved to Volos from the surrounding area. In the 1920's there was a large influx of refugees in Volos, especially from Ionia, but also from Pontus, Cappadocia and Eastern Thrace. In the 1920 census, Volos had 30,046 inhabitants but according to the 1928 census, its population grew to 47,892. In detail: Volos had a total population of 41,706 and the refugees of the "Asia Minor Catastrophe" were 6,779 (percentage of refugees in Volos 16.25%). In Nea Ionia district the total population was 6,186 and the refugees were 5,166 (Percentage of refugees in the district of New Ionia 83.51 %). Thus the total number of refugees in the Municipality of Pagasses (Volos and New Ionia) was: 11,945 and the percentage of refugees in the Municipality of Pagasses (Volos and New Ionia) was: 24,94%.
The development of the city was closely connected with the establishment of the industrial estate, the upgrading of the port and the growth of tourism due to the geographical position of Volos near scenic Mt. Pelion and the beautiful beaches of Magnesia prefecture, especially those of the Northern Sporades islands.