Laurio, is a small Greek town located within the metropolitan area of Athens, towards the south eastern area of Attica. This town is where the Municipality of Laverotiki is located, and is one of the main sources of income for the entire region of Athens due to the silver mines it has.
The town of Laurio is often known as Lavrio, Laurium or Laurion. In Ancient Greece, the town was known as Thoricum, and several centuries later, during the Medieval Times it was called Ergastiri or Workplace. As it can be easily noticed, this town has gone through many different denominations as well as it has lived through several historical periods.
Laurio is on a bay, near Makronisos, an island famous in the region. This town counts with an important antique port which has been renovated in the last years. This port allows local people to count on the activity of fishing as an important resource. It is also interesting to know that many local dishes use fish as the main ingredient, and it is often recommended that visitors should try one of these typical meals while visiting the town.
According to the Laurio’s history, this town was crucial to the first steps of Athens’ naval forces. This is affirmed due to the fact that Themistocles convinced the citizens of Athens to dedicate most of the earnings received through the work on the mines to building ships. This way, since the époque of the Battle of Marathon, this spot started producing battle ships and becoming a pioneer in it in the region.
During the first centuries after the mines were discovered, most of their workers used to be slaves and an important percentage of the earnings would be retained by the government. The way in which workers would labor in the mines started changing around the 5th century, in the époque in which the Spartan invaded some spots in the region. Some of the first tools used in these mines, along with many other interesting objects related to these mines, can be seen in some museums and exhibitions in the town and surrounding areas.