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Traditional Architecture | Lesbos | Unique Mansions and Industrial Diamonds

Updated: Feb 20


George Papadellis, SG Head

Lesbos is well known for its mansions which were designed and built by Ziller students both in the city of Mytilini as well as in villages (Agia Paraskevi, Molyvos, Petra, Plomari and more).

Traditional Mansion Lesbos

Photo by: | Panagiotis Papadellis

The mansions are mainly built in Bavarian and neoclassical styles, with characteristic balconies, staircases, painted ceilings. The mansions are locally called Pyrgelia (small towers), and they were initially used for protection, as animal shelters and for the storage of goods.

House in Agiasos Lesvos  |  Shiny Greece

House in Agiasos Lesvos and Olympos Mountain at the Back | Photo by: Plakle, Charaktiristiki Katoikia stin Agiaso kai sto vathos to oros Olympos, cropped and rotated by Shiny Greece, CC BY-SA 4.0

A basic means of protection in the traditional architecture of Lesbos was the tower, as it was used to scan the area from high above the roofs and fire an alarm to the rest of the village in case of pirate invasion. When piracy ended at the beginning of the 18th century, the tower houses began to play the role of aristocracy properties.

The main characteristics of the mansions are: 1) the very thick walls, 2) the very heavy outside doors that were locked with big wooden bars, sometimes not at ground level, but at a higher level that needed a ladder to reach, 3) the many windows at the top floor which was projected outside (sachnisia), 4) the hide-aways at the ground floor with secret doors, 5) the middle-floor for the staff.

House in Molyvos Lesvos

House in Molyvos Lesvos | Photo by: Rosa-Maria Rinkl, Häuser in Molivos, cropped and rotated by Shiny Greece, CC BY-SA 4.0

The island is also known for its impressive industrial buildings renovated and changed for modern uses (museums, cultural centers).

Museum of Vranas Lesbos

Photo by: | Panagiotis Papadellis

These buildings were constructed during the island's economic growth, mainly for the local production needs, such as for olive oil, soap and more.w


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5 days ago
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

The architectural diversity of the island is expressed in the cosmopolitan architecture of the urban centers and the rural settlements of the countryside. Mansions, farmhouses, castle cities, fortified towers, residences, temples, industrial buildings, what a unique environment!


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