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The district of Larissa, covers the north-western part of Thessaly, and is the biggest prefecture of Greece. It has a long history, as the region has been inhabited since 6000 BC. The name "Larissa" is of Pelasgian origin, and means a "highly organised hill or acropolis. During the 16th and 17th century, the region experienced a great economic blossoming, something which is reflected in its remarkable historical monuments. The natural landscape of the area is characterized by towering mountains, which are snow-capped in the winter and green in the summer. Moreover, one has to admire the stunning beaches that overlook the Aegean, the croplands, the traditional villages with the quaint old stone houses, mansions, monasteries and lastly its churches. The great Peneus River flows through the majestic Tembi Valley and also, through the well- protected forests which are also natural habitats.