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Prefectures of Greece

During the first administrative division of independent Greece in 1833–1836 and again from 1845 until their abolition with the Kallikratis reform in 2010, the prefectures (Greek: νομοί, sing. νομός, romanizednomoi, sing. nomós) were the country's main administrative unit. They are now defunct, and have been approximately replaced by regional units.[1]

They are called departments in ISO 3166-2:GR and by the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names.[2]

The prefectures were the second-degree organization of local government, grouped into 13 regions or (before 1987) 10 geographical departments, and in turn divided into provinces and comprising a number of communities and municipalities. The prefectures became self-governing entities in 1994, when the first prefectural-level elections took place. The prefects were previously appointed by the government. By 2010, their number had risen to 51, of which one, the Attica Prefecture, where more than a third of the country's population resided, was further subdivided into four prefecture-level administrations (νομαρχίες, sing. νομαρχία). In addition, there were three super-prefectures (υπερνομαρχίες, sing. υπερνομαρχία) controlling two or more prefectures.

With the Kallikratis reform, which entered into force on 1 January 2011, the prefectures were abolished. Many, especially in the mainland, were retained in the form of regional units (περιφερειακές ενότητες) within the empowered regions, which largely took over the prefectures' administrative role.[1]


The "Prefectural Self-Governments" were formed in 1994[3] and replaced the previous prefectures, whose councils and prefects were appointed by the government.

Prefectures were governed by a Prefectural Council (νομαρχιακό συμβούλιο) made up of 21 to 37 members,[4] led by the Prefect (νομάρχης) and presided by a Council President (πρόεδρος).

Other organs of the prefectures were:

  • The Prefectural Committee, consisted of the Prefect or an assistant appointed by him and 4 to 6 members, elected by the Prefectural Council.[5]
  • The Provincial Council and
  • The Eparchos (Sub-prefect/eparch, έπαρχος).

Super-prefectures had their own organs (Council, Committee and Super-prefect).

Prefectural councillors were elected via public election every four years. Three-fifths of all seats went to the combination winning a majority and two-fifths of the seats going to remaining parties based on a proportional system. Prefect became the president of the victorious electoral combination. Victorious is a combination which attains more than 42% in the first round of the prefectural elections. If no combination passes this threshold, a second round takes place between the two combinations that took the most votes in the first round.[6]


The State ultimately oversees the actions of local governments, including the prefectures, but the Constitution of Greece[7] and the Code of Prefectural Self-Government[8] still provide communities and municipalities with legal control over the administration of their designated areas.

The Code of Prefectural Self-Government does not include a non-restrictive list of prefectural duties, but a general rule, according to which the newly formed Prefectural Self-Governments have all the duties of the previous prefectures, which are related to their local affairs.[9] Nonetheless, the affairs of "(central) state administration" belonging to the prefects before 1994 are now exerted by the Presidents of the Regions (περιφερειάρχης).[10] The current Prefectural Self-Governments have kept the "local affairs of prefectureal level" not belonging to the "(central) state administration".[11]

With certain laws specific affairs of certain ministries were transferred to the Prefectural Self-Governments (sanitary committees, urban-planning services etc.).[12]

List of prefectures

The prefectures of Greece
Division of Attica (labelled 1 in the map above): 1 Athens, 2 East Attica, 3 Piraeus, 4 West Attica.
in map
Prefecture Area
46 Aetolia-Acarnania 5460.888 224,429 41.10 Western Greece
42 Larissa 5380.943 279,305 51.91 Thessaly
24 Ioannina 4990.416 170,239 34.11 Epirus
5 Phthiotis 4440.765 178,771 40.26 Central Greece
34 Arcadia 4418.736 102,035 23.09 Peloponnese
19 Evros 4241.615 149,354 35.21 Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
2 Euboea 4167.449 215,136 51.62 Central Greece
12 Serres 3967.744 200,916 50.64 Central Macedonia
13 Thessaloniki 3682.736 1,057,825 287.24 Central Macedonia
37 Laconia 3636.058 99,637 27.40 Peloponnese
51 Kozani 3515.853 155,324 44.18 Western Macedonia
18 Drama 3468.293 103,975 29.98 Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
44 Trikala 3383.477 138,047 40.80 Thessaly
45 Achaea 3271.507 322,789 98.67 Western Greece
38 Messenia 2990.901 176,876 59.14 Peloponnese
6 Boeotia 2951.622 131,085 44.41 Central Greece
7 Chalkidiki 2917.877 104,894 35.95 Central Macedonia
40 Dodecanese 2714.295 190,071 70.03 South Aegean
15 Heraklion 2641.220 292,489 110.74 Crete
43 Magnesia 2636.272 206,995 78.52 Thessaly
41 Karditsa 2635.954 129,541 49.14 Thessaly
47 Elis 2617.776 193,288 73.84 Western Greece
39 Cyclades 2571.691 112,615 43.79 South Aegean
21 Rhodope 2543.145 110,828 43.58 Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
9 Kilkis 2518.880 89,056 35.36 Central Macedonia
10 Pella 2505.774 145,797 58.18 Central Macedonia
14 Chania 2375.849 150,387 63.30 Crete
49 Grevena 2290.856 37,947 16.56 Western Macedonia
36 Corinthia 2289.952 154,624 67.52 Peloponnese
35 Argolis 2154.309 105,770 49.10 Peloponnese
32 Lesbos 2153.727 109,118 50.66 North Aegean
4 Phocis 2120.564 48,284 22.77 Central Greece
20 Kavala 2111.705 144,850 68.59 Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
48 Florina 1924.564 54,768 28.46 Western Macedonia
3 Evrytania 1868.911 32,053 17.15 Central Greece
16 Lasithi 1822.764 76,319 41.87 Crete
22 Xanthi 1792.992 101,856 56.81 Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
50 Kastoria 1720.133 53,483 31.09 Western Macedonia
8 Imathia 1700.810 143,618 84.44 Central Macedonia
23 Arta 1662.210 78,134 47.01 Epirus
11 Pieria 1516.702 129,846 85.61 Central Macedonia
26 Thesprotia 1514.653 46,091 30.43 Epirus
1-2 East Attica 1512.993 403,918 266.97 Attica
17 Rethymno 1496.047 81,936 54.77 Crete
25 Preveza 1035.938 59,356 57.30 Epirus
1-4 West Attica 1004.007 151,612 151.01 Attica
1-3 Piraeus 929.382 541,504 582.65 Attica
28 Cephalonia 904.387 39,488 43.66 Ionian Islands
31 Chios 904.227 53,408 59.06 North Aegean
33 Samos 777.945 43,595 56.04 North Aegean
27 Corfu (Kerkyra) 641.057 111,975 174.67 Ionian Islands
30 Zakynthos 405.550 39,015 96.20 Ionian Islands
1-1 Athens Prefecture 361.719 2,664,776 7,366.98 Attica
29 Lefkada 355.936 22,506 63.23 Ionian Islands
a Mount Athos[13] 335.637 2,262 6.74


The following prefectures have been part of the Greek state since independence:


  1. Many of the prefectures were originally combined in pairs:
    1. Attica and Boeotia formed the Attica and Boeotia Prefecture
    2. Phthiotis Prefecture and Phocis Prefecture formed the Phthiotis and Phocis Prefecture (in 1833–1836 the Phocis and Locris Prefecture)
    3. Corinthia Prefecture and Argolis Prefecture formed Argolis and Corinthia Prefecture
    4. Achaea Prefecture and Elis Prefecture formed the Achaea and Elis Prefecture
  2. Aetolia-Acarnania originally also included Evrytania. Unlike the rest mentioned above, the prefecture never broke up into two prefectures, thus being the only one left with a composite appellation.
  3. Messenia originally included the southern half of what is now Elis.
  4. Laconia originally included the southern-eastern half of what is now Messinia.
  5. Euboea originally included the Sporades, which now belong to Magnesia.
  6. The territory of Phthiotis Prefecture did not originally include the Domokos Province, which was part of Thessaly (under Ottoman rule until 1881). The area currently constituting the Domokos Province of the Fthiotis Prefecture only became a part of the Greek state in general, and of Phthiotis in particular, after the annexation of Thessaly to Greece in 1881.
  7. Arcadia Prefecture and the Cyclades Prefecture are the only prefectures to have their borders unchanged since independence.
  8. The capital of Argolis Prefecture, Nafplion was the first capital of the modern Greek state (1828–1834), before the move of the capital to Athens by King Otto.

There were several short-lived prefectures in areas of present Albania and Turkey, during the Greek occupation of those areas during World War I and the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922) respectively:

See also


  1. ^ a b "Law 3852/2010 (Kallikratis reform)" (in Greek).
  2. ^ United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names: Administrative Division of Greece (Working Paper N° 95), New York 2000, (PDF, 1,3 MB)]
  3. ^ Law 2218/1994
  4. ^ Articles 13 and 14 of the "Code of Prefectural Self-Government" (Presidential Decree 30/1996)
  5. ^ Article 15 of the Code of Prefectural Self-Government
  6. ^ According to the legislative reform of 2006 (Law 3463/2006). See also the circular 12 of the Ministry of Interior Affairs about the upcoming local elections.
  7. ^ Article 102 of the Constitution
  8. ^ Articles 1 and 8 of the Code of Prefectural Self-Government
  9. ^ About the meaning of local affairs see the Decision 888/1997 of the Council of State.
  10. ^ Articles 3 and 8 of the Code of Prefectural Self-Government
  11. ^ See the Decision 3441/1998 of the Council of State.
  12. ^ See the Law 2647/1998 for instance.
  13. ^ Mount Athos is not a prefecture, but has been listed for completeness.
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Prefectures of Greece
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