Meet Lesvos Island and Mytilene



Mytilene is the capital of Lesvos. The town of Mytilini was first founded on the small island where the Enetic castle was later constructed.




Herodotus dates the foundation of the town, in his work " Homer's Life", 130 years after the conquest of Troy, that is to say around 1053 a. C., if the conquest of Troy took place in 1183, as historians say. Mytilene reached her highest development around the 7th-6th century with the philosopher Pittakos and the poets Alkeos and Sapho. Mytilene got her name by one of Makaras' daughters, the island' s first colonist.




The Municipality of Mytilene consists of the villages Agia Marina, Taxiarches, Loutra, Panagiouda, Moria, Alyfanta, Afalonas, Pamphila and the city of Mytilene. It is about 188 miles from Piraeus and it has about 25000 inhabitants.



Impressive buildings of a neo-classic architecture, historical monuments, unique archaeological treasures, like the mosaic-works found at Menandros' s House (exhibited now at the Archaeological Museum) and the natural hot springs compose a rich cultural context. In the centre of Mytilene we will find the Ministry of the Aegean Sea, the Regional Administration of the North Aegean Sea and the Central Administration of the University of the Aegean Sea.



The construction operations of the waste treatment system, not only contribute to the improvement of the quality of the citizens' life but they also contribute to the discovery of archaeological treasures found in the centre of Mytilini during the operations. These archaeological treasures are exhibited either at modern museums or at specially equipped open - air spaces that are impressive and have a unique historical value.The town' s foundations are extended over seven adjoining hills. The centre of the town is divided into three main parts: Kioski, which is a very beautiful suburb, the central old neighbourhoods and the west neighbourhoods. The efforts of the authorities to reconstruct the centre of the town and to adapt the needs of the Municipality of Mytilene to the demands of the new century are remarkable. Kioski, the old aristocratic suburb of Mytilini where we can find the new Archaeological Museum, is not far away from the Enetic Castle.



The Castle was situated on the isolated, by the channel of Euripus, part of Mytilini and seemed like a small island. The channel of Euripus, along which there were a lot of bridges, had been uniting, in the past, the south port to the north port dividing, this way, Mytilini in two parts. 




Important ruins of ancient and roman structures are also discovered in the north part of Mytilini. Along the coast that starts from the Custom House (Teloneio), the visitor has the possibility to enjoy an interesting stroll, during which he will have the chance to admire the mansion, where the old Archaeological Museum is established, the beach that belongs to the Greek Touristic Organism (EOT), the small and clean beach, called " t' apeili", and above that, on a small hill among the pine trees, the bust of Sapho, the poetess, worked out artistically and given to the Municipality of Mytilini by the American artist Erietta Fors.






The village is situated on the east side of the mountain Amali. The big rock that stands above the village and the magnificent church of Taxiarhes are responsible for the village' s enchanting landscape. The church's characteristic is its Byzantine Cross-Shaped Rhythm. Its construction has taken place between 1903 and 1958. At its place there was a smaller one at which the icon of Taxiarhes - on the south wall of the church-, now placed in a shrine, was a fresco of the 17th century.




In the market place there is an old fountain dated back to 1753 and restored in 1875. We should not forget to talk about the remarkable underground springs with tiled galleries supported by arches. We will find them a little bit further from the village (going towards Mytilini), close to the chapel of St Thekla. Next to this ravine, is situated the post-byzantine church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the "Potamousa". From the other side of the village (going towards the village of Loutra), on the rock of St Bartholomew there is a cave belonging to the neolithic era.




After the village of Taxiarhes, we will find the village of Agia Marina, with a magnificent view over the airport, the sea and the sunrise. In the lower part of the village, there is the Basilica of St Marina, with three aisles, built in 1797. The church has a magnificent wooden sculptured reredos and an episcopal throne dated back to 1839. Architectural component parts, such as breast-works and pillars, have been taken from the byzantine temple of the Blessed Virgin Mary (situated on the top of the mountain Amali), and have been added to the Basilica of St Marina. The Byzantine Temple, we mentioned above, offers to the visitor an excellent view through the pine trees. In the village of Agia Marina we can visit the mansion of the Vernardaki Family. A monumental fountain dated back to 1818 will also attract our attention. On the coast of Neapolis, next to the "Lesvos beach" Hotel, the Argalon Paleo-Christian Basilica has been excavated (with a baptistery, while the central aisle was decorated with mosaic-works). The whole structure dates back to the 5th century. Above the airport, the springs of the Lagada River, whose water was being stored in a built well and a water tower, had been supplying Mytilini with water. At the moment, the ten water mills that, from the past century until 1941, had been pumping up water from the same spring are still well maintained.




The village of Loutra is situated on the south side of the town of Mytilini and is gifted with a wonderful view over the sunset and the Gulf of Gera. It is a beautiful village among an endless olive grove. At its entrance, ruins of the Roman era have been found. The church of St George (construction 1815, extension 1840) has an underground reservoir where water from a spring is stored (holy water). The village' s picturesque character is due to the paved streets, to the plane trees and to the traditional cafes. At the port of Loutra, next to the old shipyard that still works, we can enjoy all kinds of fish delicacies at the traditional taverns.




We can also find there the hotel Zaira, a renovated olive press. On the picturesque hill, named after the Blessed Virgin Mary, there is an ancient fortress, while ancient graves were found at the bottom of fuel reservoirs (it seemed like a seaside ancient small town).A little bit further from the port of Loutra, at the seaside of Koudouroudia, where there are also taverns and hotels, apart from the excellent seafood and the wonderful view over the Gulf of Gera that we can enjoy, we can also go across the Gulf of Gera by boat to the picturesque port of Gera called Perama (meaning passage in greek, as it has been for many years a passage for the inhabitants). To the south of the port of Loutra, on the coast of the bay of Paleopotamos, an ancient small town has been found. On the seashore of Agios Ermogenis, named after the small chapel of St Ermogenis situated on the rock, above the seaside, the visitor has the possibility to enjoy the swimming, the beach and the delicious delicacies. Along the road that from Haramida leads to the village of Loutra, a Paleo-Christian Basilica (that belongs to Tsesmedes) has been excavated. It dates back to the 5th century and it has a beautiful mosaic-work decorated with birds and vine branches at the middle aisle. To the north of the village of Loutra, in the middle of the Gulf of Gera, on a small island, there is the chapel of St Isidoros.





Panagiouda is a small seaside village with a small port and many cafes and taverns. Panagiouda is the village, where the inhabitants of the village of Afalonas moved, after the earthquake of 1867. We had a larger increase in population in 1928, when refugees came from Minor Asia bringing with them their own local color.




The Byzantine Church in the centre of Panagiouda, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in 1896. On the seashore there are a lot of old industrial buildings (olive press, soap factory, tannery and shipyards) revealing the inhabitants' activities in the past. The old village is situated on the hill Vounari. The big ottoman fountain, on the street dates back to 1807.




The Byzantine Church in the centre of Panagiouda, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in 1896. On the seashore there are a lot of old industrial buildings (olive press, soap factory, tannery and shipyards) revealing the inhabitants' activities in the past. The old village is situated on the hill Vounari. The big ottoman fountain, on the street dates back to 1807).






Moria is a big and a very beautiful village. In a document that Gatelouzi from Geneva have written in 1456, Moria is reported, as Morea. The church of St Vassilios is situated on the exit of the village. It was constructed in 1796, while in 1932 there was an extension at the construction (a vestibule). 




The wooden sculptured reredos dates back to 1781. On the top of the hill, above the village, there is the church of St Dimitri (1889), which together with the old school (1848) among the pine trees are a special ornament for the village. Beautiful houses and picturesque cafes complete the traditional character of the village. The double fountain at the central square of the village bears an ottoman inscription that dates back to 1774. In the plain of the village, very beautiful mansions reveal the glory of the fifty towers that date back to 1890.




At the same area there was an ancient small town whose ruins are dispersed everywhere. We can also find there, by the road as we come from Mytilini, a gallery, known as "Thermelia", which dates back to the Roman era. Above the gallery, on the hill, there is an ancient marble quarry (320 a. C. - 4th century a. C) from where marble was extracted for the construction of Mytilini).




The village of Pamphila is situated on the hill Vounari and is reported in the code 1565, while it is believed that it is named after the poetess Pamphili, who is contemporary with Sapho. Along the street that goes through the village and at its central square we will find very beautiful cafes.




 At the entrance of the village there are the High -School - College/Lyceum and the old Primary School (Vostanio). On the hills Atiganos and Anemomylos, there were found archaeological treasures/positions/towns, which belong to the early Copper Era (copper dominion). Beautiful fountains (one of them bearing an ottoman inscription) decorate the village.




But the monument that imposes to the whole village its structure and its architecture is the Church of St Varvara. The Church is a three aisled Basilica where the dome is 12 meters high and three meters long. The construction of the marble reredos (dated back to 1878) is a creation of the sculptor Ioanni Halepa (who came from the island of Tinos and who was the son of the famous sculptor, Giannouli).




In the past, at the place of St Varvara's Church, there was a smaller church, whose the reredos still exists and is kept at the seaside chapel of St Nikolaos. The restored building of the Katsakouleio School (dated back to 1911) is a characteristic example of the Lesbian architecture. In the village, we can also find very beautiful towers, like the Vostani tower, dated back to 1856 and the Salta tower dated back to 1842).




At the port of the village of Pamphila, the deserted factories (Attkinson, Vostani, etc.) reveal the importance of this area in the past. Here, at the small port, there is also a picturesque tavern, available to whoever wants to taste delicious delicacies.




Alyfanta is a small village to the west side of Mytilini. The Church of St George was built in 1912. At the central square of the village we will find its only cafe. To the west, on a hill, there is the chapel of St Nikolaos, the "Alyfantas", beside which there was an ancient quarry. On the same hill we will find the cave of Magara, which is characterized, as a sacred place because of the treasures (pots and coins dated back to the 6th/5th a. C century) that have been found there.




The village is situated to the west of the village of Panagiouda. The view from there is wonderful. The village is reported in the code of 1565 and went through a very hard adventure after the earthquake of 1867. The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is attributed to the architect Adalis. Very beautiful fountains (one of them dated back to 1837) decorate the village. Unfortunately, from the 14 towers that we had here, only two remained intact from the earthquake as well as few houses with "sahnisinia", special traditional architecture.



The high school was situated on the top of the mountain, on the big plateau (Epano Alonia, Afalonas), during the Turkish Rule. It was on the same plateau that the reservists of the "Atlas" organization had fought. A little bit further, in the surroundings of the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary the "Armenopoula" there were found ancient ruins of a big ancient town. To the west, in the surroundings of the chapel of St George (Patia position) and the chapel of St Theraponda, there are ruins of a small ancient town, while at the chapel of St Triada, at an imposing ravine, by the Gulf of Gera, we can assume the existence of a monastery.