Prefectures of Greece

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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, translit. nomoi; sing.: νομός, translit. nomós) were the country's main administrative unit. They are now defunct, and have been approximately replaced by regional units.

They are called departments in ISO 3166-2:GR and by the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names.[1]

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.


The current "Prefectural Self-Governments" were formed in 1994[2] and replaced the previous prefectures, whose councils and prefects were appointed by the government.

Prefectures are governed by a Prefectural Council (νομαρχιακό συμβούλιο) made up of 21 to 37 members,[3] led by the Prefect (νομάρχης) and presided by a Council President (πρόεδρος).

Other organs of the prefectures are:

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

Prefectural councillors are elected via public election every four years. Three-fifths of all seats go to the combination winning a majority and two-fifths of the seats go to remaining parties based on a proportional system. Prefect becomes the president of the victorious electoral combination. Electoral 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[5]


The State ultimately oversees the actions of local governments, including the prefectures, but the Constitution of Greece[6] and the Code of Prefectural Self-Government[7] 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.[8] Nonetheless, the affairs of "(central) state administration" belonging to the prefects before 1994 are now exerted by the Presidents of the Regions (περιφερειάρχης).[9] The current Prefectural Self-Governments have kept the "local affairs of prefectureal level" not belonging to the "(central) state administration".[10]

With certain laws specific affairs of certain ministries were transferred to the Prefectural Self-Governments (sanitary committees, urban-planning services etc.).[11]

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
46Aetolia-Acarnania5460.888224,42941.10Western Greece
5Phthiotis4440.765178,77140.26Central Greece
19Evros4241.615149,35435.21Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
2Euboea4167.449215,13651.62Central Greece
12Serres3967.744200,91650.64Central Macedonia
13Thessaloniki3682.7361,057,825287.24Central Macedonia
51Kozani3515.853155,32444.18Western Macedonia
18Drama3468.293103,97529.98Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
45Achaea3271.507322,78998.67Western Greece
6Boeotia2951.622131,08544.41Central Greece
7Chalkidiki2917.877104,89435.95Central Macedonia
40Dodecanese2714.295190,07170.03South Aegean
47Elis2617.776193,28873.84Western Greece
39Cyclades2571.691112,61543.79South Aegean
21Rhodope2543.145110,82843.58Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
9Kilkis2518.88089,05635.36Central Macedonia
10Pella2505.774145,79758.18Central Macedonia
49Grevena2290.85637,94716.56Western Macedonia
32Lesbos2153.727109,11850.66North Aegean
4Phocis2120.56448,28422.77Central Greece
20Kavala2111.705144,85068.59Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
48Florina1924.56454,76828.46Western Macedonia
3Evrytania1868.91132,05317.15Central Greece
22Xanthi1792.992101,85656.81Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
50Kastoria1720.13353,48331.09Western Macedonia
8Imathia1700.810143,61884.44Central Macedonia
11Pieria1516.702129,84685.61Central Macedonia
1-2East Attica1512.993403,918266.97Attica
1-4West Attica1004.007151,612151.01Attica
28Cephalonia904.38739,48843.66Ionian Islands
31Chios904.22753,40859.06North Aegean
33Samos777.94543,59556.04North Aegean
27Corfu (Kerkyra)641.057111,975174.67Ionian Islands
30Zakynthos405.55039,01596.20Ionian Islands
1-1Athens Prefecture361.7192,664,7767,366.98Attica
29Lefkada355.93622,50663.23Ionian Islands
aMount Athos[12]335.6372,2626.74Eastern Macedonia and Thrace


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