Wellcome to Lesvos Island


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Wellcome to Lesvos Island

Lesvos, reknowned since antiquity, is an island of harmony and dream. The flower of an eternal spring set on the blue waters of the Aegean, a vision that opens wide its modest beauty to the horizon, offering an invitation to love and promise. An ethereal substance you would say, made from the very breath of God. Matter that is moulded of a light made up of soft tones and sweet shadowing which emerges from the embrace of the sea and poised there achieves its equilibrium with the water, in a melding of myth and truth, contemplation and reality. As if the seasons has paused caught up in a feeling of responsibility and awe in the face of such beauty and then left this land pristine where the gods of joy and sun were worshipped and Sapphic grief was heard in the incomparable “Aeolian melody”

Thus, it is just as back then when the Tritons cavorted on the serene shores, when Cupids roamed in the brilliant gardens with flowers woven in their hair, when youth, in the figures of Daphnis and Chloe, spun the most tender tale of love that time has ever known. In this land beauty, the courtesy of true feeling, clear reasoning, passion for creation and longing for life cannot help but be in eternal bloom.

No discord. Even in the sheer cliffs plunging to the sea and the enormous masses of rock in the interior, in the dry stone walls and the ancient lava along the slopes, you will encounter a gentle pulse of tamaness, a glow of meekness which gives you a feeling of intimacy, which draws near you, and enters you a feeling of intimacy, which draws near yo, and enters you as a polite and welcome merging. Here is where song and lyric poetry, philosophical reflection and the arts first flowered, as ancient finds have shown. Homer mentions Lesvos as the seat of Makereos, the son of Helios, the most famed of the mythical kings. The poet Palamas said Lesvos was a temple to beauty and the novelist Myrivilis thought of it as a flower-bedecked boat sailing between Greece and the Orient. Lesvos is a true princess of the deep blue Aegean. A hallucination. A myth. A truth. A paradise of serenity..

Lesbos (Greek: Λέσβος, transliterated from Modern Greek as Lesvos, sometimes also referred to as Mytilini after its major city Mytilene) is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea. It has an area of 1632 km² (630 square miles) with 320 kilometres (almost 200 miles) of coastline, making it the third largest Greek island and the largest of the numerous Greek islands scattered in the Aegean. It is separated from Turkey by the narrow Mytilini Strait.

It is also a separate peripheral unit of the North Aegean, and the only municipality of the peripheral unit. Its population is approximately 90,000, a third of which lives in its capital, Mytilene, in the southeastern part of the island. The remaining population is distributed in small towns and villages. The largest are Kalloni, the Gera Villages, Plomari, Agiassos, Eresos, and Molyvos (the ancient Mythymna). Mytilene was founded in the 11th century BC by the family Penthilidae, who arrived from Thessaly, and ruled the city-state until a popular revolt (590–580 BC) led by Pittacus of Mytilene ended their rule.


Lesbos lies in the far east of the Aegean sea, facing the Turkish coast (Gulf of Edremit) from the north and east; at the narrowest point, the strait is about 5.5 km (3.4 mi) wide. Its shape is roughly triangular, but it is deeply intruded by the gulfs of Kalloni, with an entry on the southern coast, and of Gera, in the southeast.

The island is forested and mountainous with two large peaks, Mt. Lepetymnos at 968 m (3,176 ft) and Mt. Olympus at 967 m (3,173 ft), dominating its northern and central sections. The island’s volcanic origin is manifested in several hot springs and the two gulfs.

Lesbos is verdant, aptly named Emerald Island, with a greater variety of flora than expected for the island’s size. Eleven million olive trees cover 40% of the island together with other fruit trees. Forests of mediterranean pines, chestnut trees and some oaks occupy 20%, and the remainder is scrub, grassland or urban. In the western part of the island is the world’s second largest petrified forest of Sequoia.

Its economy is essentially agricultural. Olive oil is the main source of income. Tourism in Mytilene, encouraged by its international airport and the coastal towns of Petra, Plomari, Molyvos and Eresos, contribute substantially to the economy of the island. Fishing and the manufacture of soap and ouzo, the Greek national liqueur, are the remaining sources of income.


The island has a mild Mediterranean climate. The mean annual temperature is 18 °C (64 °F), and the mean annual rainfall is 750 mm (30 in). Its exceptional sunshine makes it one of the sunniest islands in the Aegean Sea. Snow and very low temperatures are rare.

Petrified forest of Lesbos

Lesbos contains one of the few known petrified forests and has been declared a Protected Natural Monument, included also in the European Geopark Network. Fossilised plants have been found in many localities on the western part of the island. The fossilised forest was formed during the Late Oligocene to Lower–Middle Miocene, by the intense volcanic activity in the area. Neogene volcanic rocks dominate the central and western part of the island, comprising andesites, dacites and rhyolites, ignimbrite, pyroclastics, tuffs, and volcanic ash. The products of the volcanic activity covered the vegetation of the area and the fossilization process took place during favourable conditions. The fossilized plants are silicified remnants of a sub-tropical forest that existed on the north-west part of the island 20-15 million years ago.

Contemporary Lesbos

One meaning of the word lesbian derives from the poems of Sappho, who was born in Lesbos and who wrote with powerful emotional content directed toward other women. It is due to this association that Lesbos and especially the town of Eresos, her birthplace, are visited frequently by lesbian tourists,[4] much to the chagrin of some deeply conservative and traditionalist Greek Orthodox elements of the island’s population.[5] In 2008, a group of Lesbian islanders lost a court case against the Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece. The Lesbian islander group had requested a legal injunction to bar homosexual groups from using the word “lesbian” in their names, which the petitioners claim violated their human rights as it is “insulting” and disgraces them around the world.

Skala of Eresos-Antissa
Ouzo Plomari of Lesbos

Twelve historic churches on the island were listed together on the 2008 World Monuments Fund’s Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world. Exposure to the elements, outmoded conservation methods, and increased tourism are all threats to the structures. It is hoped that increased attention to their declining states will aid in their preservation.


Lesbos is a separate peripheral unit of the North Aegean Periphery, and the only municipality of the peripheral unit. As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the peripheral unit Lesbos was created out of the former Lesbos Prefecture. At the same reform, the current municipality Lesbos was created out of the 13 former municipalities:

* Agia Paraskevi (Αγία Παρασκευή)
* Agiasos (Αγιάσος)
* Gera (Γέρα)
* Eresos-Antissa (Ερεσός-Άντισσα)
* Evergetoulas (Ευεργέτουλας)
* Kalloni (Καλλονή)
* Loutropoli Thermis (Λουτρόπολη Θερμής)
* Mantamados (Μανταμάδος)
* Mithymna (Μήθυμνα)
* Mytilene (Μυτιλήνη)
* Petra (Πέτρα)
* Plomari (Πλωμάρι)
* Polichnitos (Πολίχνιτος)

Notable people

* Terpander (7th century BC), poet and citharede
* Alcaeus of Mytilene (7th century BC), poet and politician
* Sappho (7th and 6th centuries BC), poet
* Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), philosopher, was born in Chalkidike but lived for a time on the island.
* Theophrastus (370–285 BC), philosopher and botanist
* Theoctiste of Lesbos (9th century), hermit saint
* Christopher of Mytilene (11th century), poet
* Hayreddin Barbarossa (1470s–1546), Ottoman admiral
* Georgios Jakobides (1853–1932), painter
* Theophilos Hatzimihail (c. 1870–1934), painter
* Tériade (1889–1983), art critic, patron, and publisher
* Hermon di Giovanno (c. 1900–1968), painter
* Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha Ottoman Grand Vizier 1909-1910
* Odysseas Elytis (1922–1996), poet
* Tzeli Hadjidimitriou (b. 1962), photographer and writer