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You are in:  Top  →  Europe  →  GREECE  →  N. E. Aegean Islands  →  LESVOS

LESVOS

Lesvos very often called Mytilini, after its capital, is the third largest island in Greece, located very close to the island of Hios.

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In the East Aegean, across from the Asia Minor coast, the island of Lesvos welcomes the visitor with its ideal climate, abundant natural beauty and the exceptional hospitality of its residents.

The olive tree thrives in the eastern and central regions of the island. The wide central region is filled with pine trees. The landscape to the west is less verdant and characterized by sheep pastures, oak trees and rocky mountain ranges. The northern region encompasses a wide variety of breathtaking features.

The capital of the island, Mytilini also the gateway to all of Lesvos, fills the visitor who first arrives here with a variety of feelings. It is the seat of the Ministry of the Aegean and of the Headquarters of all the services of the Prefecture of Lesvos. There are banks, tourist agencies bus stations and in general whatever a visitor might need.

The Gulf of Yera and the larger Gulf of Kalloni contribute to the distinctive form of the island. Small valleys, fresh water springs, mountain range sand beaches, some sandy and some with pebbles, complete the picture which is both insular and continental, a landscape that remind us with every step that we are in the Aegean Sea in Greece.

The island is very irregular with huge tear-shaped bays cutting into the west and south coasts of the island. There are important concentrations of tourism on the north coast at beautiful Molyvos (which to add to the confusion, is called by its ancient name of Mithymna nearly half the time) and south at Plomari. Sappfo's hometown, Eressos, is near the northwest coast of the island.

Lesvos was in ancient times an important artistic center, famous for its academies and symposia, and there is still a festival each May called "the Week of Prose and Arts".

The most important sites are the excellent Theophilos Museum in nearby Varia, the port and the ornate, peaked dome Church of St. Therapon. There are many grand old garden villas scattered around town, especially near the archaeological museum, west of the port. The new archaeological Museum has a fine sculpture collection. The museum exhibits finds from the Bronze Age up to the Hellenistic era from Thermi and Molyvos, including the latest excavations, and a rich selection of mosaics, sculpture, and tablets. The popular Museum is in a small white house near the local bus station. The Theophilos Museum is the former house of folk artist Hatzimichalis Theophilos, who emigrated from the Mt. Pelio region, to paint on Lesvos. It is about 3 km south of town in Varia. The mildly compelling Teriad Library and Museum of Modern Art is next door to the Theophilos Museum.

Justinian founded the Kastro to the north of the city, in the sixth century. It was restored and enlarged in 1737 by the Genoese, who incorporated columns from a 7th century B.C temple of Apollo. In the summer, it is used as a performing arts centre and is often with popular Greek singers. Molyvos (Mithymna), at the northern tip of the island's triangle, is a castle -crowned village with stone and pink-pastel stucco mansions capped by red-tile roofs.

Eressos, the winter village, and its summer neighbor, Skala Eressos, has become a full -scale resort. Plomari is 40 km on the southwest of Mytilini. Still having the character of a fishing village, it is very much like Molyvos. There are many old monasteries still in use in Lesvos. Some have turned into places of pilgrimage while others continue to progress in the spiritual tradition.

A modern day phenomenon is the developing monastery of St. Raphael in Thermi. Leimonos monastery, a large cluster of buildings, is an important spiritual centre on the island with a museum, a library and social services. Ypsilou monastery, built on the crater of a dormant volcano, has been characterized as the "watch tower of the sky".

Nature has generously endowed Lesvos with hot mineral waters. The hot springs throughout the island have been well known since antiquity. Although the petrified trees have been found in many sites on the island, the ones that the visitor can admire are found in certain areas of the western terrain of Lesvos.

Major centres of attraction are in the region of Eressos near monastery of Ypsilon where one can visit a protected, enclosed area and on Nisiopi, the small island of Sigri, which many admires of the phenomenon visit by boat. Visit the island's landmarks, the castle of Mytilini, the fortress of Molyvos, Ovriokastro in ancient Andissa, the ancient theatre in Mytilini, the Roman aqueduct in Moria, the Kremasti bridge, the Paleochristian Temple of Chalinados in Agia Paraskevi and the Petrified Wood in the west. Wander around the island with its variety of sight seeing features, and you will discover those which suit your preferences.



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