Pyrgos is the capital of the Prefecture of Elia, and a major commercial and agricultural center.
Ancient Dyspontion, an outpost of Pisa (of leaning tower fame), may have been situated here.
The name of the town means 'tower', and has an interesting story behind it, set in the 15th or 16th century.
A poor man came down from a mountain village to work in the field here and found some ancient gold coins.
He offered quite a few of them to Sultan Selim, who in return gifted him with the area where he'd found the treasure, and made him bey of it.
A tower was built on the Eparcheion hill by this man, and the town developed slowly around it. When the Greek bey died without heirs, the land reverted to the Sultan, who gave the city of Pyrgos and vicinity to the head of his harem-the Valide-Sultana and the town grew up under the Sultan's protection.
There were more than 5000 inhabitants by the time that the first Turkish commander was appointed in 1678. The town passed into the hands of the Venetians, and then back to the Turks in 1715 and was made the seat of a 'voivode'.