Museums and Monuments

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Museums and Monuments


The Museum of Theophilus of Mytilene
The museum of Theophilus is located in the suburb Varia in Mytilene. It houses an extensive part of the works of the popular artist Theophilus Hatzimichael. Theophilus was born and spent his childhood in Varia. Later he will flee to Smyrna and from there he will go to Pelion, where for thirty years he wanders either dressed as a Tsolias or as Alexander the Great. He goes back to Mytilene after it was liberated and completes his curriculum in painting. He used to draw at coffee shops, houses, and chapels very often in return for a meal. His works are distinguished for their rigor and brilliance, harmony in colors and a bizarre primitivism. His subjects have their origin in nature and history. The recognition of the value of his oeuvre as well its publicity on the international stage is owed to the renowned connoisseur Str. Eleftheriades-Teriade. He did not live to see the appreciation his creations saw.

The museum of Theophilus was erectred in 1964 in a suburb of Mytilene, Varia, where the popular artist was born and spent his childhood, at the expenses of the famous Mytilene art publisher in Paris Stratis Eleftheriades (TERIADE). In 1965 Teriade endowed it to the Municipality of Mytilene along with 86 paintings of Theophilus coming from his personal collection, and since then it has been the Municipal Museum. The edifice is built of Mytilene stone that is in perfect harmony with the olive grove surrounding it. It comprises four consecutive halls, in which there are 86 paintings of Theophilus. The subjects of the paintings originate from History, Mythology, and Folklore. Furthermore, they represent every-day scenes, costumes, landscapes, etc.

Archaeological Museum of Mytilene
The new edifice of the archaeological museum of Mytilene, an example of modern museum architecture, is located in Kioski, where recent excavations have brought to light the Temple of Aphrodite. It was completed in 1995 on the part financing of the Greek state and the European Community, while the permanent exhibition “Lesvos from the Hellenistic to the Roman Period” was inaugurated on 23rd March 1999.

The rationale behind this exhibition is to introduce the visitor to the way of life on Lesvos from the 2nd century BC to the 3rd century AD by presenting to them mansions with wonderful mosaic floors, useful objects and sculptures that were either intended for worship or formed symbols of power and wealth. The presentation of the exhibition is complemented with enlightening texts, maps and models that contribute to the better understanding of the exhibits. The Museum includes:

* Mosaic floors and murals from stately mansions that reveal themselves on the hill of Agia Kyriaki and stand as irrefutable witnesses of the outstanding economic prosperity in Mytilene from the 2nd century on.
* Sculpture of the Hellenistic and Roman times exemplified in Lesvos on tomb anaglyphs, statues and portraits of eminent personalities of the era.

Byzantine Museum of Mytilene
The Byzantine museum is housed opposite the magnificent church of Agios Therapon. Its founder was the Metropolite of Mytilene Iakovos Kleomvrotos. His aim was to preserve the heirlooms of supreme ecclesiastical worth. The museum hosts a collection of portable icons, pontificals, ecclesiastical items, manuscripts and old ecclesiastical books, elaborate temples of old churches. Among them, an icon of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, created by the popular artist Theophilus. Underneath the museum there are fabulous color mosaics of the roman times.
Museum Strati Eftheriadi – Teriade
Stratis Eleftheriadis – Teriade was born in Mytilini in May 1897 and died in Paris in October 1983. When he was eighteen years old, he left for Paris where he studied. His real passion, however, from his youth was painting and in his early years he painted a number of oils’ landscapes and still – life’s.
In paris, his interest in art gravitated to art theory and criticism rather than painting. This was the period in which modern art was first taking form and gradually Teriade entered the circle of the pioneering modern artists and their proponents.

The Municipality of Mytilene has a unique venue of culture and arts after the Municipal Gallery of Mytilene was organized and began to work. The Municipal Gallery is housed in an old three-storeyed mansion (Halim Bei), typical example of local architecture prevalent in the area of Epano Skala. Administratively, it is a part of the Municipal Corporation of Cultural-Tourist Development of the Municipality and has one of the most prominent collections of paintings donated to the Municipality by George Simos-Petris and his sister Helle Simou. George Simos-Petris was one of the most outstanding art critics in the country, a “thinker” of fine arts, personal friend to the greatest Greek artists. After his death he donated his personal collection comprising 110 paintings to the Municipal Gallery (August, 1998), while this collection was complemented with the recent donation of his sister, Helle Simou (September, 2001).

Today the Petris’ collection exhibited in the Municipal Gallery includes 138 paintings, rare engravings, books and gravures. Among others the Municipal Gallery exhibits works of Giannis Tsarouchis, G. Gounaropoulos, Ant. Protopatsi, Or. Kanelles, Picasso, Matis, Morales, Fassianos, Chr. Botsoglou, engravings of Vasso Katraki and a series of paintings of other distinguished Greek artists.

In addition to the extremely significant Petris’ collection, the Municipal Gallery has a very interesting collection of Lesvian artists such as Str. Axiotis, G. Gavalas, G. Perros, I. Moutzourelles, Str. Athenaios, K. Messinezi, M. Kallipolites, Dim. Karapiperis and others.

As part of the operations of the Municipal Gallery, on the ground floor of the building a studio for painting restoration has been organized. The Petris’ collection has already been restored and gradual restoration of the other paintings is expected.

Museum of Natural History of the Petrified Forest of Lesvos
The Museum of the Petrified Forest of Lesvos is a window opening up to history and evolution in the Aegean basin in the last 20,000.000 years. It was founded in 1994 in Sigri, Lesvos. The museum is run according to a modern exhibition-museum perspective that makes it attractive to a Greek as well as a foreign visitor and also a Specialist, student and learner. In its permanent exhibition halls, the abundance and uniqueness of the Petrified Forest, as well as its importance for life evolution, particularly of the flora of our planet, are striking to the eye. The museum also presents the Geo-historical evolution in the Aegean region, from the geological process that led to the creation of the Petrified Forest 20 million years ago to the present time. In the electronic multi-media room there is a presentation of the abundance of the Current Aegean ecosystems emphasizing the region of the Northeastern Aegean.

Folklore Museum in Portiano
On the border island of Lemnos and in the village of Portiano, which belongs to the Municipality of Nea Koutale, is located the single Folklore Museum on the island, founded on 18/08/1995 by the union of Portiano citizens of Lemnos in Athens – Piraeus and Districts. The Museum is housed in a traditional building that was proclaimed a monument and forms a special example of folkloric architecture of this particular settlement. It has eight rooms and an outdoor detached covered building.

In room No1 one can see folklore traditional costumes exhibited behind special windows that date in 1800.
In room No2 one can see the loom, spinning wheel, warp, textiles and various weaving tools and devices.
In room No3 the prevalent theme is troughs, pinakotes, spring balance and various urns.
In room No4 the visitor sees an especially modeled kitchen with its traditional fireplace, kitchenware and all those utensils necessary for the women of those older times.
On the second floor are a traditional living room and a wonderful woodcut trunk. The bed with hand-made wedding dresses and extraordinary laces adorning it is a magnificent spectacle.
Outside there is an exhibition of the farming tools used for digging, thrashing, winnowing and gathering of grains. In the same area, we can similarly see the traditional threshing ground.

Archaeological Museum of Myrina, Lemnos
The three-storeyed neoclassical building of the museum is a building of the early 20th century and during the Turkish occupation it served as the Turkish headquarters. In 1939 the community of Kastro sold it to the Pallemniako school fund on the condition it be donated to the municipality and house the Archaeological Museum.
Between 1920 and 1940 the building hosted the findings of Italian excavations on the island. Repairs were completed in 1959 and the first re-exhibition was held in 1961. In 1991, new repairs were performed to the building and the second re-exhibition of the collections, enriched with recent findings, was inaugurated in 1993.

The Museum includes the following collections

* Findings of Italian excavations in Poliochne (prehistoric)
* Findings of Italian excavations in Kaveirion (archaic – roman)
* Findings of Italian excavations in Hephaestia (geometric – Hellenistic)
* Findings of systematic excavation on Koufonissi (prehistoric)
* Findings of salvation excavations of K’ Directorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities on Lemnos


The castle of Mytilene
In the northern part of the town, amidst a verdurous pinewood and the sea rise the remains of the castle of Mytilene. It is preserved in a fairly good condition and is one of the largest castles in the Mediterranean. Its construction and reinforcement were performed in various periods. It is speculated that it was built in the Byzantine period in Justinian times. Considerable restoration, however, was performed to it by Francisco Gatelouzos during his hegemony on the island. In that time, it is believed that the castle was one of the most unconquerable and powerful castles. Inside it there was also the palace called “The Tower of the Queen”. In the castle a roman or Byzantine water tank, made of waterproof material, is still standing. On the gates and various other locations within the castle one can see the blazonry of the Paleologus and Gatelouzos families. Under the castle there are long arcades that served as an assembly area for women and children while the castle was under attack. Legend has it that those arcades had an exit that stretched a particularly long way away from the castle. Its walls are preserved in good condition and they are examples of excellent fortifying architecture.

The Ancient Theater of Mytilene
The last construction phase of the monument since , dating back to the Post-Roman period, is still standing. The shape of the orchestra area is circular, with a diameter of approximately 24.20 m. In the circumference of the orchestra lies the totally destroyed conge with a wall that bore the marble plates sheeting. The stage is divided by three corridors. It was found that in the middle corridor a sewer for water outflow had been built. To the west of the orchestra there are two rooms dug on the rock of the concave molding.

The first construction phase of the Theater of Mytilene dates back to the early Hellenistic period, as it is made evident by the stands and architectural parts found on the spot or were used again for the construction of the Castle of Mytilene. During the Post-Roman period the Theater was modified. The petal-like conge is estimated at this phase to sit approximately 10,000 spectators. Plutarch, in Pompeus’ life (Pompeus, 42) recorded the information that the Roman ruler wondered at the Theater of Mytilene and commanded that its design serve as the prototype on the basis of which he would have the Theater in Rome erected in 55BC.

Around 1968 the Antiquities curator V. Petrakos proceeded to a re-erection of the orchestra peripheral wall and restoration of the two rooms to the west of the orchestra. It was then announced an archaeological sight and was included in the announcement of the town of Mytilene as an archaeological sight. The Board of Curators had proposed the expropriation of private properties in the area where the Ancient Theater of Mytilene is located to the Central Services of the Ministry of Culture since 1994. Dimitrios Evaggelides conducted the first excavation research in 1928. He was also in charge of the research in 1958 mainly in the area of the orchestra and stage. V. Petrakos proceeded to the cleaning and impression of the area in 1967.

Geni Tzami of Mytilene
Geni Tzami (the New Mosque), an important for Mytilene historical monument of the third decade of the 19th century, is the largest and superb Muslim mosque of the town, and one of the most typical mosques of this period in the Greek region. With regard to architecture and aesthetics, it is one of the most intriguing buildings in Mytilene, exemplary of its era and of the interesting ottoman art that was developed in Greek territory and constructed by Greek laborers who left their mark on this construction. Geni Tzami, after restoration and renovation works, serves as an exhibition venue and will accommodate municipal events

The Mansion of Vareltzidaena
The Mansion is situated in the center of Petra settlement. It was built in the late 18th century. It is a typical mansion of this period that combines typical aspects of local architectural tradition with oriental and northern Greek influences. The dwelling has two floors with a stone-built compact ground floor that attributes the building a fortress-like aspect. The floor is constructed with a “bagdadi” (half timber construction) and is divided in six rooms in the perimeter of ondas (room), adorned with remarkable frescos characteristic of the era.

The Acropolis of Eressos (“Mastos”)
The Acropolis is located on a natural, fortified hillock to the Southwest coast and in ancient times it is mentioned as “Mastos”. Koldewey estimated that the length of the perimeter of the acropolis was 1 km and the area of the location covered approximately 4.5 hectares. Many parts of the ancient surrounding wall of the polis are still standing a little further from the foothill. They are built of trachyte in Lesvian masonry. The structure of the standing parts of the wall is diverse and dates in the archaic period. Koldewey noted gates and towers on the exterior. In the Hellenistic period the town was extended to the south of the original perimeter towards the port area. Another 1.5 hectares are added to the inhabited area and a new surrounding wall is built. The new wall is constructed with bricks of the same size.
Today, at the top of the hill lie the remains of the medieval castle that was built in the period of Gatelouzos. This was used until the Turkish occupation of Lesvos (1462).

The Sanctuary of Klopedi
The Sanctuary of Klopedi is one of the most important examples of archaic architecture of the island. It is built at the top of a plateau to the west of the hamlet of Agia Paraskevi. It is not known which deity this sanctuary was dedicated to. Excavations have produced the remains of two archaic temples. The posterior use of the temple remains unknown to us, as no extensive or systematic excavations have been performed. During the last war, and principally after it, this archaeological sight underwent considerable damage.

Roman Aqueduct of Moria
A part of the arch construction of the Roman Aqueduct of Mytilene in Moria. In this location remains a 170-meter long part of the arch construction with 17 arches. Each opening is divided in 3 successive arches based on columns. Each column has an impost with a wave-like protrusion and an abacus. The masonry is constructed with the use of “emplekton” system. The columns and imposts of the arches are made of local marble. The roman aqueduct of Mytilene is probably a work of late 2nd or early 3rd century AD.

Poliochne – Lemnos
One of the most important settlements of the Aegean region during the 3rd millennium BC. Poliochne of Lemnos constitutes part of the same civilization as Troy in the same era. This primarily insular civilization of the 3rd century BC was developed on the islands of the northeastern Aegean and its far eastern point is Troy in the coastline of Asia Minor. The construction phases of the prehistoric settlement of Poliochne incessantly run the entire 3rd millennium BC. The town of the yellow era is destroyed by physical causes, principally an earthquake at the end of the 3rd millennium BC. The town was abandoned for a long period of time and assumed its activities anew, yet sporadically, during the 2nd millennium BC. Today it is a complete, organized archaeological sight after the works that were performed in 1994.

The Castle of Myrina – Lemnos
The castle was built in 1186 AD by the Byzantine emperor Andronicus A’ Komnenos upon the remains of the ancient acropolis in order to protect Myrina by means of its embrasures. Its walls were repaired in the period 1207-1214 by the beauty lover Navigaioso, a Venetian lord, and Ioannis E’ Palaeologus. Posterior repairs were performed in 1477 and also in late 16th century.

The castle has two entrances and its northern side has a triple wall. Due to its naturally fortified quality, it was considered one of the most powerful fortresses in the Aegean. In 1770 the Turks who were besieged by the Russians of Orlof brothers took shelter in the castle and constructed a fortification structure at the top of the hill, the remains of which are still there today and are known as “dapia”. The same year when the Greek inhabitants of the island were liberated from the Russian occupation, they experienced the vindictive rage of the ottoman Turks. Hundreds were massacred, the dignitaries of the island, clergymen, the Metropolite of Lemnos Ioakeim B’ of Chios was hanged in front of the church Agia Triada. The great master and priest Kosmas was also martyred.

Thanks to ; Apdaigaiou official publications