The Island of Poetry & Art
George Papadellis | SG Head
Panagiotis Papadellis | SG Team
Molyvos Village | Photo by: 155659800 © Freesurf69 | Dreamstime.com
«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”.
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.
Tsiknias River | Photo by: Chrysanthi Kostidi, Kolpos Kallonis (river Tsiknias) & Olympos, CC BY-SA 4.0 | 06.04.2022
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).