About Lesvos (Lesbos) island, Greece
Lesvos is the third
largest Greek island and has a long history that goes back
more than 3.000 years. It has been the birthplace of famous people, such
as the poets Sappho and Alcaeos, Arion the Guitarist, and Pittacus, one
of the seven wise men of ancient Greece. A tradition that even continues
today and gives the island that distinctive atmosphere which makes it so
different from the rest.
Sappho's reputation as a lover of her own sex, has given the word
"Lesbian" an international
currency. Her reputation is based
on some of the fragments of her poetry: "I was in love with you
once, Atthis, long ago..."
Rich in olives and fish, the
island has an economic balance rare in the Aegean and because of
its relative prosperity the island is very easy for travelers to reach
even in the quiet months of winter. By air, one can get to Lesvos from
Athens five times a day and from Salonica seven times a week. By
Ferry-boat, one can reach Lesvos every day from Piraeus, and from
Salonica on a less frequent schedule.
Mytilene is the capital of the
island and has a population of 30,000 people. This is about one
third of the total population of the island. It is built
amphitheatrically around its well preserved Byzantine Castle. Not very
far from there, on the north-east side of town, one can find the
Hellenistic Theatre with its superb acoustics and capacity of 10,000
people. Further in the suburb of Varia one can visit the Theophilos
Twelve kilometers from Mytilene, near the town of Moria, one can visit
the Roman Aqueduct that was built in the second century AD.
Going further up north by the east coast, thru a series of beautiful
little villages one will arrive in the town of Mantamados, famous for
its cheeses and the fine pottery. The next stop will be Skala Sikaminias, one of the most charming fishing villages one would ever
And then, at the northest point of
the island one will find the picturesque village of Mithymna (also
known as Molivos), with its mediaeval castle and the traditional
architecture. Molivos is also the islands best known resort. By some it
has been called "the closed place to paradise, on earth".
association with Arts is appropriate enough, for it was here in Mithymna
that the head of Orpheus is said to have been washed ashore after his
dismemberment of the Thracian women. Another mythical citizen of
Mithymna was the lyric poet and musician Arion. It has been said that he
has been saved by the music-loving dolphin.
Only a short distance of 5 Km SW of Molivos the village of Petra can be
found. Petra has one of the best sandy beaches of the island.
Again further south the village of Agia Paraskevi is situated. This
village has a lot of old mansions and is known for the Bull Festival
that has been celebrated since more than two hundred years. Near the
village lay ruins of an ancient temple of Napaios Apollo and the ruins
of an Ionian temple dated from the 3rd century BC. This temple was
dedicated to Zeus, Hera and Dionysos.
In the island's center, not far
from Agia Paraskevi, lays the modern town Kalloni. It is famous for its
sardines which are caught in the nearby bay called the Gulf of Kalloni.
On this gulf one will also find the popular summer resort Skala Kalloni
with its beautiful sandy beaches.
Also near the center of the island another well known town is
This town is famous for its pottery. Going further south again we reach
the towns of Plomari and Vatera which have the one of most superb beaches of
the island, 10 Km long.
At the western tip of Lesvos, Sigri is a pretty fishing village with a
nice little beach and a castle that goes back to the 18th century. Not
far from there lies the Petrified Forest, dating back fifteen million
Finally, not far from Sigri, one will find the town of
has been the birth place of Sappho and Theoprastos. Its port, Skala
Eressos, is a famous resort with a magnificent beach.
Lesvos, as it can be seen from its
classical history, its abundance of poets, musicians, philosophers
and lawgivers, was one of the great cultural centers of the Greek world.
It was second perhaps only to Athens, in its influence if not in its
As a place for a holiday, for a rest or for quiet work, Lesvos is
HARD to BETTER. It is big enough to permit that change of scene so
necessary if one is to avoid "island claustrophobia". It has a
further advantage that it is easy from here to organize a trip to visit
Troy or to explore the coastline of ancient Ionia.