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Mytilini Old Harbour | Lesbos | From a Byzantine Trading Hub to a Modern Tourist Destination

Updated: Mar 6


George Papadellis | SG Head

with some good tips from AI

Mytilini Old Harbour is a picturesque and historic port located on the island of Lesvos. This ancient harbor dates back to the Byzantine period and has been an important trading hub for centuries. Over the years, it has undergone significant changes, but it still retains its original charm and character. In this article, we explore the fascinating history and current state of Mytilini Old Harbour, and why it is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Lesvos.

Mytilini Old Harbour  |  Lesvos  |  Shiny Greece

History of Mytilini Old Harbour

The history of Mytilini Old Harbour dates back to the ancient times, when the early harbor of Mytilini (Akra Kastro) was united with a channel 700 meters long and 30 meters wide. Longus was speaking about white stone bridges linking the two sides. The strait allowed the passing of ancient sail boats called triremes, with 3 tiers of rowers or more. In the Byzantine era, the harbour served as a major trading port for the island of Lesvos. It was used as a hub for ships that transported goods such as wine, oil, and silk to different parts of the world. During the Ottoman rule, the harbor underwent significant changes, with the addition of mosques, fountains, and other Islamic architecture. In the 19th century, the harbor saw a boom in the shipping industry, which brought about the construction of several neoclassical buildings along the waterfront. Today, many of these buildings have been converted into trendy cafes, restaurants, and boutique hotels, adding to the charm of the harbor.

The Harbor during World War II

During World War II, Mytilini Old Harbour played a crucial role in the war effort. It was used as a base for the Allies and was the site of several naval battles between the British and the Germans. The harbor was also used as a refugee camp for thousands of Greek citizens who fled from the mainland due to the war. Today, the harbor is home to a museum that showcases the history of the harbor and its significance during the war.

Attractions at the Old Harbour

Mytilini Old Harbour is a popular tourist destination and has several attractions that draw visitors from around the world. One of the most popular attractions is the Castle of Mytilini, which sits atop a hill overlooking the harbor. The castle was built in the 14th century by the Byzantines and has undergone several renovations over the years. Visitors can explore the castle and enjoy panoramic views of the harbor from the top. Another popular attraction is the Municipal Art Gallery, which is housed in a neoclassical building along the waterfront. The gallery features a collection of contemporary and traditional Greek art, and visitors can enjoy the stunning views of the harbor while admiring the artwork. The harbor is also home to several restaurants and cafes that offer traditional Greek cuisine and fresh seafood. Visitors can relax and enjoy a meal while taking in the beautiful views of the harbor.

To Conclude ...

Mytilini Old Harbour is a charming and historic port that offers visitors a glimpse into the island's rich history and culture. From the Byzantine era to the present day, the harbor has played a significant role in the island's development and has become an important tourist destination. Visitors can explore the castle, visit the art gallery, and enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the stunning views of the harbor. Mytilini Old Harbour is truly a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Lesvos.


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