Lesbos

The Island of Poetry & Art

Molyvos Village | Photo by: Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net), Molyvos, CC BY-SA 4.0 | 20.11.2017

«Nowhere, in no other place of the world, do the sun and the moon share a kingdom in harmony, share their power equally, as on this piece of land, which someone, who knows, in which great eras, which god, to have fun, cut and blew this planetree leave in the middle of the sea.». With these few words, the Nobel prize awarded poet Odysseus Elytis, the follower of the tradition of Lesbian poets, describes the beauty and the harmony of the landscape of the “big diamond” of the North-Eastern Aegean Sea, Lesbos. It is not accidental that this land gave birth to the love lyric poetry through the tenth muse, Sappho (7th – 6th century B.C.). The poetry that followed the tough and doric epic poetry that praised the bravery and toughness of heroes. In this cross-road of the osmosis of the civilizations of the East, the Aeolic and the Ionian land, some great spirits of the ancient and the newer era pushed culture and glorified the Greek people. Albert Camus (1913 – 1960 A.C.), who loved Lesvos, said: “Here is where I want to come to live and work. There, see, by the sea, in this side home (in Sigri village). I will stand there, by the edge of the coast, and look at the sea”.

Panagiotis | Shiny Greece

Lesbos Map.jpg

Lesbos is the third largest island in Greece, located in the northeastern Aegean, capital of the Region of North Aegean governing the islands Chios, Ikaria, Lemnos, Samos, Psara, Oinousses, Fourni Korseon and Agios Efstratios. Its exceptional sunshine makes it one of the sunniest islands in the Aegean Sea.

According to later Greek writers, Mytilene was founded in the 11th century BC by the family Penthilidae, who arrived from Thessaly and bequeathed it with the Aeolic dialect of the Greek language, whose written form survives in the poems of Sappho, amongst others. Later, according to Homer's Iliad, Lesbos became part of the kingdom of King Priam, and in the Middle Ages, it was under Byzantine and then Genoese rule.

 

The largest villages of the island are Agiassos, Eressos, Gera, Kalloni, Molyvos, Mytilene and Plomari. The cities of Mytilene and Molyvos (ancient Mythimna) have been bishoprics since the 5th century.

The economy of Lesbos is agricultural in nature, with olive oil being the main source of income. It is noteworthy that eleven million olive trees cover 40% of the island. Fishing and the manufacture of soap and ouzo, the Greek national liqueur, are the remaining sources of income, while tourism, encouraged by its international airport and its coastal towns, contribute substantially to the economy of the island.

The island is forested and mountainous with two large peaks, Mountain Lepetymnos and Mountain Olympus. Signs of the volcanic history of the island are its two gulfs (Kalloni Gulf and Gera Gulf) and its hot springs.

 

The entire territory of Lesbos is a geopark. The Lesvos Geopark is a member of the European Geoparks Network (since 2000) and Global Geoparks Network (since 2004). The island contains one of the few known petrified forests called Petrified Forest of Lesbos and it has been declared a Protected Natural Monument.

 

The most important archaeological sites on the island are the Neolithic cave of Kagiani, the Neolithic settlement of Chalakies, the habitation of Thermi (3000–1000 BC) and the large habitation of Lisvori (2800–1900 BC) part of which is submerged in shallow coastal waters (resource for diving tourism).

Visit | Taste | Learn

The most important attractions of the island are the Acropolis of Ancient Pyrra, the Ancient Sanctuary of Messa, the Barbagiannis Ouzo Museum, the Bridge of Kremasti, the Castle of Molyvos, the Castle of Mytilini, the Castle of Sigri, the Catacomb of Maria Magdalene, the Church of Panagia Agiassos,  the Church of Theotokos (catholic church where part of Saint Valentine’s relics are kept), the Church of Panagia Agiasos, the Early Christian Basilica of Agios Andreas in Eressos, the Monastery of Agios Raphael,  the Monastery of Limonas, the Monastery of Taxiarchis, the Monastery of Ypsilou, the Ouzo Museum, the Petrified Forest of Lesbos, the Roman Aqueduct of Lesbos, the Statue of Liberty, the Temple of Chalinados, the Temple of Klopedi.

Twelve historic churches of Lesbos are listed in the 2008 World Monuments Fund's Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world. These are the Church of Agios Georgios Anemotia, the Church of Agios Ioannis Kerami, the Church of Agios Nikolaos Petra, the Church of Agios Stephanos Mantamados, the Church of Taxiarchon Vatousa, the Early Christian Basilica Afentelli Eressos, the Early Christian Basilica Agios Andreas Eressos, the Katholikon of Moni Damandriou Polichnitos, the Katholikon of Moni Perivolis, the Katholikon of Moni Taxiarchon Kato Tritos, the Metamorphosi Soteros Church in Papiana and the Monastery of Ipsilou.

 

In English and most other European languages, including Greek, the term lesbian is commonly used to refer to homosexual women. This use of the term derives from the poems of Sappho, who was born in Lesbos and who wrote with powerful emotional content directed toward other women. Due to this association, Lesbos and especially the town of Eressos, her birthplace, are visited frequently by LGBT tourists.

Notable people born in Lesbos are Alcaeus of Mytilini (ancient poet and politician), Elias Venezis (writer), Georgios Jakobides (painter), Longus (ancient author), Odysseas Elytis (poet with Nobel prize), Sappho (ancient poet), Stratis Myrivilis (writer), Teriade (art critic), Terpander (ancient poet and citharede), Theophanes of Mytilini (ancient historian), Theophilos (painter), Theophrastus (philosopher and botanist)

 

Local specialties are Kydonato, Revythato, Kalloni sardins, Ladotiri Mytilinis, Ouzo, Sfougato, Retseli.

The international visitors of Lesbos are served by the airport of Mytilini (MJT).

Stay

Pyrgos of Mytilene Hotel

Pyrgos of Mytilene was built in 1916 in the style of Second Empire. From August 1999, Pyrgos of Mytilene operates as a luxurious hotel all year round. Every room creates its own unique atmosphere with discreet and soft coloring. The friendly environment and wonderful service offered by extremely efficient personnel create a warm and friendly atmosphere and will ensure an unforgettable stay.

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Aeolis Apartments & Studios

Aeolis Apartments is located by the sea, in a quiet place on the Gulf of Gera. The apartments have been designed with elements of traditional architecture and contemporary lifestyle to provide visitors with the luxury design and comfort they need. Facilities and provisions include terraces, home-made breakfast, excursions, reflexology sessions, yoga sessions and cooking lessons.

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Elysion Hotel

Elysion is a new hotel in Mytilene city with superb architecture & minimal design, welcoming the guests in a sophisticated venue, harmoniously decorated with zen mood & a lot of benefits for a luxurious stay. Large and spacious rooms, built with quality, the incredible views of the Aegean and the benefits offered by Elysion are factors that can satisfy the most demanding customers.

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Theofilos Paradise Hotel

Theofilos Paradise is a boutique hotel situated in the heart of the historical center of Mytilene town. The hotel standard, superior and deluxe rooms, family rooms, junior and superior suites, a hammam and sauna, and a pool and roof garden. The Greek breakfast served at the respective lounge, is prepared everyday in the hotel kitchen with fresh ingredients from local producers.

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Heliotrope Hotel

Heliotrope is a 4-star hotel of special modern architecture located at the picturesque seaside suburb of Varia, Mytilene, only 3 kilometers away from the city center. Its 62 rooms provide comfort promising the most pleasant stay, while its facilities, including a restaurant and well-equipped conference rooms, as well as the swimming pool, may accommodate professional and social events of the highest standards.

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