Agrinio is the largest city in the county of Aetoloakarnania and the center of the Municipality. It has a population of about 100,000 inhabitants. The extended Municipality of Agrinio Municipal includes the following sections: Angelokastro, Arakynthos, Makryneia, Thestieon, Parabolas, Parakampylion, Panaitoliko, Neapoli and Stratos. Agrinio, Patras and Ioannina are the three largest urban centers in the western part of the country.

History

In one interpretation, Agrinio is named after the mythical hero Agrio, son of Porthaonos, King of Plevrona and Calydon. Another version, which is closer to reality, is that the name comes from the god 'Apollo Wild' Protector of the Aetolians during harsh wars with Acarnanians. Since the First World War and after major reconstruction which can be observed mainly in the warehouses and building complexes of tobacco processing, such as Papastratou Brothers (1924) Brothers Papapetrou (192), Sisters Panagopoulos (1925), Elias Brothers, K. and I. Kamposiora Kokkali a little later. The water supply (1925), electric lighting (1928), the construction of the road Agrinio - Karpenisi (1932) and the construction of the airport (1934) further contributed to the rapid economic and urban development of the city.

Tobacco, one of our most important agricultural products which shaped the social history of Agrinio and after 1870 represented, one of the largest sources of revenue, contributing to the economic development of the city and the wider region. The excellent quality of Greek tobacco (the Greek tobacco is considered to be among the best in the world), made tobacco sought after in foreign markets and supported the Greek economy, to the extent that a few years ago tobacco comprised about half of Greece's exports in value. The interwar period in Agrinio is known nationwide for its pioneering and organized tobacco workers’ movement. Strikes and demonstrations for the working conditions of tobacco workers for better wages periodically overwhelm the city. Today, Agrinio has evolved and is fast becoming a large economic - commercial centre of the county, with dozens of small businesses, large corporations, banks, brokerage firms, auto dealerships, supermarket chains and few but important industrial units.

Sights

The city of Agrinio strongly maintains ties to the past. The atmosphere of the densely populated and bustling centre does not only relate to the newly constructed buildings but also to the historic buildings, temples which testify the religious tradition of the place and the significance of the museums with their priceless treasures.

The museums of Agrinio

To get to know and understand the history and culture of the region of Agrinio, it is necessary to visit the Archaeological and Folklore museum and to admire the rich artefacts that are exhibited there:

  • Papastratio Archaeological
  • Museum Folklore Museum of Agrinio
  • Kapralou Sculpturewarehouse

Warehouses

The History of the city of Agrinio is inextricably linked with tobacco. The buildings of the tobacco warehouses are places that are clearly historic, architectural and of cultural value to the city:

  • Papastratou warehouses (located on the square Panagopoulos)
  • Elias warehouses (located on the street Mesolongiou)
  • Papapetrou warehouses (located on the street K.Palama)

Historic Buildings

  • Mansion Xynopoulou
  • Municipal Market of Agrinio
  • Mansion Sochoriti
  • The Old Building of the Bank of Greece

Byzantium and Postbyzantium Museums

  • Agia Triatha Mavrika
  • Mosque of Megali Chora

The historic commercial centre of the city

The main route used by the visitor for an organised visit to Agrinio includes the Municipal Park, the jewel of the city. In the main entrance, the visitor can visit Papastrateia Schools and right beside the Municipal Library and Sculpture warehouse of Chris Kapralo. A few metres away, the Papastrateio Archaeological Museum is located with great exhibits from excavations in the greater region of Agrinio. From the entrance of the museum one can see, in a short distance, the renovated stadium of Panaitolikou and the beautiful square that extends the entire length of the entrance, and other public areas that were recently renovated. Further south we find the square Mary Dimadi in which there is a three-store municipal parking beneath it. In the above part of the square, the Municipal Market building is under renovation and it will soon operate as another culture multiplex. The adjacent square Peace leads to the busiest street of Agrinio Street Papastratou starting from the central Republic Square and ends at the park. The streets, parallel and vertical to this building the majority of the shops in the city attract customers from across the region, that come to the most commercial centre of the country to do their shopping. Crossing the Republic Square, the central square of the city, the visitor can reach the pedestrian pathway Charilaou Trikoypi Street where the Town Hall is located. Crossing the pedestrian zone with its bustling cafes and restaurants, the oldest fountain of the city can be seen, located in the Panagopoulos Square, which has always been one of the coolest parts of Agrinio. Next, the visitor can admire the warehouses of Papastratos and just below the Melina Mercouri Square which is the meeting area of the Municipality of Agrinio, located in the beautiful building of the Old Railway Station. On this route, the old slaughterhouse can be admired by the visitor where another city over-ground parking is available. A visit to the centre of Agrinio should not exclude a stop at the Folklore Museum in Kentrou Street. Equally essential is a visit to the Station Park and the Trinity Square Karapaneika where in a quiet and cool environment, a visitor can enjoy a cup of coffee, a soft drink or a drink. A cluster of footpaths is tempting to the visitor in discovering the rest of the City. The visitor can walk from the main square along the pedestrian pathway Elias Eliou to the vertical streets, with its cafes, restaurants and ouzo taverns. These steps will lead the visitor to the prestigious Metropolitan Church “Zoodochou Pigis” and following through the northern pathway Papastratou or parallel roads, the visitor will end up in the popular pedestrian streets Smirnis and Boukogianni. During tea time, the only problem is what to choose from as the industry of food and entertainment flourishes in Agrinio and the visitor can find a Greek and European part of the city.

Customs

One of the characteristic Easter customs of Greece known as "Chalkounia" takes place every year on the evening of Good Friday in Agrinio. Specifically, after the Epitaph of each parish, the Chalkounades gather together in the streets of Agrinio to mingle at Mary Dimadi Square and to take part in the Chalkounopolemo. This custom attracts hundreds of visitors from all over Greece.