Lesvos Mitilini Island travel to Lesvos Mitilini guide of Lesvos Mitilini visit Lesvos Mitilini holiday in Lesvos Mitilini vacation in Lesvos Mitilini map of Lesvos Mitilini trip to Lesvos Mitilini arrange a trip to Lesvos Mitilini  go to Lesvos Mitilini discover Lesvos Mitilini journey of Lesvos Mitilini stay in Lesvos Mitilini trek Lesvos Mitilini Lesvos Mitilini voyage Lesvos Mitilini travelogue Lesvos Mitilini index info on Lesvos Mitilini Lesvos Mitilini information photos of Lesvos Mitilini pictures of Lesvos Mitilini Lesvos Mitilini pics
    More Islands
    More Cities
Island of Lesvos / Mitilini
In Greek mythology Lesvos was the beloved isle of the Muses. It is thus hardly surprising that the Arts and Letters were cultivated here to a remarkable degree. Outstanding among the island's intellectual figures are the lyric poet Alkaios and the greatest poetess in ancient Greece, Sappho. Pittakos, one of the seven sages of antiquity, the poets Terpander, Arion and Lesches, the historian Hellanikos, the philosopher and botanist Theophrastos and the writer of epigrams Krinagoras all hailed from Lesvos.
At the western end of Lesvos, on an arid slope of Ordimnos near the village of Sigri, is the extraordinary petrified forest. Some 20 million years ago a tropical forest with tower trees thrived here. These were buried under tons of lava and tephra ejected in the eruption of a volcano. The now stone trunks of the prehistoric sequoias have wonderful colours and the bark and roots are clearly visible. The petrified forest of Lesvos is of immense geological and historical value and is the only region in Greece (one of 17 regions worldwide) which has been designated as a "Geopark" by UNESCO.
  After suffering plunder and bondage for hundred years, Lesvos emerged once again from cultural obscurity in the early 20th century. In literature in particular, the inter-war years were so creative that the term "Lesbian spring" was coined. Among the island's most important men of letters in recent times are the leading Greek novelists Stratis Myrivilis, Ilias Venezis and Argyris Eftaliotis, the writers Nikos Athanasiadis and Asimakis Panselinos, and the premier laureate of modern Greek poetry, Odysseus Elytis, who was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1978.
The mountain-sides on Lesvos are mantled with olive trees but gere and there are extensive pine woods, through which dirt tracjs lead to lovely mountain villages. The best known and closest to Mytilini are on the slopes of Olymbos, around picturesque Agasos, with the classic route from Agasos to Megalochori and the wonderful eastern by-roads from Sanatorio to Karyona an d Aghia Paraskevi Karagatsiou. There are also scenic routes through the pine woods north of Megali Limni and towards the river Vouvaris, while a dirt track of rare beauty begins 2 km before Ambeliko and ends at Polichnito.
In addition to the famous olive oil, the visitor to Lesvos will find lots of other select eatables. The sardines caught in the bay of Kalloni, after which they are named, are delicious both fresh and salted. The bay is also a source of many kind of tasty fisk and superb scallops. The renowned ouzo of Lesvos is made in distilleries, large and small, throughout the island, while the development of stock-raising ensures prime dairy products, including the well-known cheese ladotyri of Mytilini.
The great economic prosperity of Lesvos during the 18th century is reflected most strikingly in the bourgeois mansions of Mytilini, residences of affluent merchants and wealthy landowners. These impressive buildings, designed by architects of note, are richly decorated with Neoclassical features imbued with nobility and luxury, and stand in spacious verdant grounds. Today most of them are kept in good condition and are without doubt the architectural hallmark of Mytilini.
On the southern slopes of the mountainous massif of Olympos, during the last two centuries a flourishing economy based on the cultivation of olive-trees has left its signs in the vicinity around Plomari. One can still see traces of this flurishment by following the old footpaths (currently restored and sign-posted by the Municipality of Plomari) which take you through a picturesque landscape and lead to abandoned villages, old oil-presses and country churches with panoramic views.
  From antiquity to the present day, Lesvos is synonymous with excellent quality olive oil. The island is literally covered by o huge olive grove, with over 11 million trees. For years the aromatic virgin oil of Lesvos was its principal resource. Production on a large scale led to the creation of many olive presses, packaging plants, warehouses, soap factories, shops and agents, bringing wealth and well-being to the island.
In 1355 Lesbow was presented as a dowry to the Genoese prince Francesco Gattilusi and in the ensung years acquired considerable economic and military power. This heyday lasted until 1462, when Sultan Mohamed II captured the island from the Genoese masters. Lesvos was plunged into centuries of darkness under Ottoman domination, until it was liberated by the Greek navy, in 1912.
Theophilos Hajimichail, one of the most significant Greek naive painters, was born at Varia in 1868. Theophilos, nicknamed Tsolias because he wore the foustanella (traditional kilt still worn by soldiers in the Greek Presidential Guard - tsoliades) or a costume like the uniform of Alexander the Great, was self-taught. He painted in houses and shops, on cheap materials, scenes from Greek life and history, with disarming simplicity, sensitivity and sincerity. The value of his work was publicised internationally by the Mytilenian art critic Stratis Eleftheriadis or Teriade, who created the Theophilos Museum in Varia.
  Lesvos is the third largest island in Greece and has literally countless beaches to suit all tastes. The best-known are the long stretches of sand at Vatera, Varia, Aghios Isidoros, Skala Eresou, Molyvos, Petra, Thermi and Anaxos, which are very popular with summer holidaymakers. The more adventurous visitors, who are prepared to negotiate unmetalled roads, will discover a host of idyllic little coves with quiet fishermen's huts or a solitary chapel. Such hidden jewels are the five beaches around Tarti, Drota and Melinda further west; Tavari, Podaras, Makara and Chrousos near Eresos, Lapsarna, BaloutsosKoutamatsa, Tsonia, Langada and Ferogia in the north part of the island.
Lesvos was famed in antiquity for its many medicinal springs which burble all over the island. There was a renowned ancient spa at Thermi, where the goddess Artemis Thermia was worhshipped. The warm therapeutic baths were very popular during the Ottoman period as well, and although there is less interest in them today, people can still enjoy the invigorating properties of the waters in the spas at Thermi, Gera, Polichnito and Eftalou.
The first king in the island's history was Makaras who, by marrying his daughter Methymna to the Thessalian prince Lesvos, secured the name that the island bears to this day. Lesvos flourished during the 7th century BC and citizens from Mytilini colonized the neighbouring coastal zone of Asia Minor, which was called the "Aigialos ton Mytilinaion", that is the "Mytilenians shore". When the Mytilenians seceded from the Athenian League the Athenians invaded the island in 428 BC and slayed 1000 inhabitants, to avenge the rebels.
All maps, photos and text are property of Road Publications
greece-2004.com - All Rights Reserved by Global Business Web Design
Rent a Car
Youth Hostels
Food & Beverage
Trad. Restaurants
Foreign Cuisine
Fast Food
Real Estate
Transportation Co.
Jewelry Stores
Local Products
Live Music
Internet Cafes