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Lesvos Sightseeing

Churches and Monasteries

Lesvos attracts a plethora of Christians annually, mainly due to the Monastery of Saint Raphael with its unique history (the Saint repeatedly appeared in the dreams of an Orthodox Christian, guiding him to find his Orthodox Image) and contemporary miracles, and the also miraculous Virgin Mary of Agiasos with the embossed image of Virgin Mary created by Saint Luke with mastic and oil.

Moreover, the Monastery of Taxiarchis in Mandamados is a very important monastery with an interesting story of a unique monk who was the only to survive from the Turks thanks to a miracle of Taxiarchis.

Although every area of the island hosts an important church, visitors should also seek picturesque chapels and churches in villages across Lesvos. The following churches and monasteries are not to be missed: The Monastery of Leimonas with its rich book collection, and the Monasteries of Panagia Myrsiniotissa, Perivoli, Damandri and Saint Ioannis Theologos, as well as the Churches of Saint Therapontas (the largest on the island), Panagia Glykofilousa in Petra built in a high rock 40 m. high in the 18th century, Saint Athanasios and the Metropolitan Church of Mytilene.


Museums and Galleries
The following museums are situated in Lesvos and they are certainly worth a visit:

The Archaeological Museum of Lesvos is hosted in two buildings: the exhibits of the old building include figurines, pottery and jewellery from the Prehistoric to the Roman Era, plus Aeolian columns from the ancient temple of Clopedi, coins, tombstones and statues in the yard.  In the new building visitors may admire the exhibition “Lesvos from the Hellenistic to the Roman Era”, which also includes mosaics and frescos from luxury Roman houses. The two buildings are situated in Mytilene within walking distance and the ticket costs from2 to 3 Euros.

In Lesvos, there are two folklore museums; the Folklore Museum of Mytilene and the Folklore Museum of Plomari. Both attempt to present to visitors the way of life on the island. Exhibits include traditional clothes, house objects, tools, coins, historic documents, ceramic pots, etc.

The Varvagianni Ouzo Museum in Plomari is a unique museum, where visitors can see how ouzo is created. Tel.: +30 22520 32741, +30 22520 32231.

The Soap Museum, again in Plomari, reveals to visitors the process of soap production. This is ideal for children and teenagers. Tel.: +30 22520 32600.

The Museum of Industrial Oil Production is located in Agia Paraskevi and offers to visitors a detailed exploration of all oil production stages. Tel.: +30 22530 32300.

The Theofilos Museum is situated in Voreia, about 4 km. from Mytilene, and was created by the renowned art critic Stratis Eleftheriadis-Teriade as a tribute to Theofilos. In the museum, there are 86 paintings all created in the last 6 years before Theofilos’ death. The ticket costs from 1 to 2 Euros. Tel.: +30 22510-41644.

The Teriade Contemporary Art Museum is situated again in Voreia, and hosts paintings of great Greek painters like Theofilos, Tsarouchis, Kanellis and Rorris. Visitors may explore the museum rare collection of books that include images of the works of the most important artists (e.g. Picaso, Matisse, Leger, etc.). The ticket costs 2 Euros. Tel.: +30 2251023372.

The Museum of Natural History/Petrified Forest in Sigri was established in 1994 and it is a UNESCO Natural Monument. Visitors can take a journey in time, exploring the events that took place in the Mediterranean Sea during the past 20 million years! Apart from the museum, the Museum Geopark with rare plant fossils and volcanic rocks, is certainly worth a visit, whereas the Petrified Forest itself is not to be missed! The ticket costs from 2 to 10 Euros. Tel.: +30 2251047033, 2253054434.

 The Museum of Paleontology and Geology-Vrisa Collection of Natural History in Polichnitos is the ideal museum for kids! Who could imagine that during a vacation, there would be the possibility to see fossils of vertebrate and invertebrate? Or touch a gigantic turtle shell of 2.5 meters long? The collection also hosts mineral specimens, rocks and ores of Lesvos, a Zoology Department and a Botany Department. Tel.: +30 2252061890.

The Georgios Iacovides Digital Museum is an innovative museum located in Hithira, which is the birthplace of the painter G Iacovides. The museum uses the most contemporary digital technologies in order to present the painter’s work and life. The building that hosts the museum is a beautiful token of neoclassic architecture in the Aegean Islands. Tel.: +30 2251051128.

The Byzantine Ecclesiastic Museum of Lesvos is situated in Mytilene and hosts religious objects, embroidered vestments, Orthodox Images and historic books.  Tel.: +30 2251028916.

Towns and Villages
Lesvos is a beautiful big island with many towns and villages. This is why visitors should devote more than a week in order to discover it!

Mytilene is the island’s capital and its main port. It is built on seven hills, has an imposing castle and about 25,000 of citizens. Mytilene offers several accommodation choices, as well as interesting cultural events, a wide variety of taverns and restaurants, and of course a vibrant nightlife.

Agiasos is a picturesque little town (with 3,000 citizens) on the slopes of mount Olympus. The village is dotted with neoclassic houses of traditional island architecture and narrow streets. Visitors should not neglect to buy ceramic pottery and carved wood!

Approximately to the west of Mytilene, there is Polichnitos a small village with stone houses and red roofs. Apart from its thermal springs, Polichnitos also attracts visitors due to the ruins of a castle and the gorgeous beach of Skala.

The second largest town of Lesvos is situated in the southern end of the island and is called Plomari. The ouzo of Plomari is the most famous ouzo in Greece, thus  exported. The town is gorgeous, built right by the sea, with charming narrow streets, beautiful churches and lovely cafeterias.

At about 40 km. to the northwest of Mytilene, the Kalloni area awaits visitors in order to reveal the beauties of its seven main villages (Argiana, Parakoila, Skala Kallonis, Papiana, Kerami, Dafia and Arisvi) and its four complementary villages (Agra, Anemotia, Skalochori, Filia) (mountainous in their majority). The area has a unique splendour, since it is built around the homonym gorgeous bay and features historic monuments, amazing monasteries and ruins of ancient temples.

Eresos is situated in southwestern Lesvos and has about 1600 citizens. This is where the renowned ancient Greek female poet, Sappho, was born. The city attracts many tourists thanks to the amazing sandy beach of Skala Eresou, at a distance of about 4 km, which hosts traditional coffee shops, lively beach bars and picturesque shops.

Molyvos
or Mythimna has to be the most romantic place of Lesvos. With narrow cobbled streets, traditional stone houses and a magnificent castle, Molyvos has a unique atmosphere of old time charm. Cameras are definitely indispensable here!

Castles
Lesvos has three wonderful castles: The Mytilene Castle, the Mythimna Castle and the Sigri Castle.

The Castle of Mytilene stands out on top of the hill close to the Mytilene port. This is one of the largest castles in the Mediterranean Sea whose construction was initiated in the Byzantine Era and was completed during the Gattelusi domination. A large earthquake in 1384 destroyed a large part of the castle and it was afterwards rebuilt. This castle is divided in three parts with the middle part including a jail complex, a seminary and an underground water tank. Visitors may also admire the Gattelusi Palace, the blazons of Gattelusi and Paleologi, and the castle’s amazing walls!

The Mythimna or Molyvos Castle is one of the very well maintained castles in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. The castle was built in the Byzantine years and some additions were made by the Ottomans. Its grandiose is amazing and it is even more impressive when it is nicely lit up at night.

The Sigri Castle was built during the Ottoman Era in the 18th century. It is not a very big castle, but it has an interesting perfect square shape, four towers on the corners and beautiful arches.

Ancient Sites

Apart from its three castles, Lesvos hosts many other archaeological sites:

The Ancient Theater of Mytilene is located in the area of Agia Paraskevi. This was a very spacious theatre that could host 15,000 people! Its exceptional acoustics were renowned in the Ancient Times and many compare it  to the legendary Epidaurus Theatre in terms of acoustics.

The Ancient Temple in the area of Clopedi in Central Lesvos, which was devoted to Apollo, is saved till today in a quite good condition. Visitors may see the Aeolian pillars and sculptures of the Classical Greek period (4th century B.C.)

The Roman Aqueduct of Moria is an amazing oeuvre of the 3rd century A.C. that used to connect Agiasos with Mytilene. It was made of the characteristic grey marble of Lesvos and its amazing architecture, with arches and boulders, made it look like an imposing temple. The Aqueduct is situated close to the village Lambou Myloi.

In the area of Apothika, Agra and Makara, there are significant archaeological findings known as Ancient Makara. In Apothika, there was an impressive 6 meters high wall that is now only up to 3 meters, and was built according to the island’ traditional structure.

At about 15km. from Mytileme there is the prehistoric settlement of Thermi built in the 3rd millennium B.C. There are ruins of houses and walls, and the first prehistoric neighbourhood organized in blocks.

The Ancient Andissa was one of the two most powerful cities in western Lesvos in Ancient Time. Today, there are only some ruins of its walls because the city was attacked and destroyed by the Romans in 167 B.C.

The Acropolis of Eressos is today called “Vigla”. On the ancient ruins of the acropolis, the Byzantines built a castle, part of which is still visible today. There is also a water tank built either in the Roman or Byzantine Era.

Although the research for the discovery and analysis of the findings of the Ancient Port of Pyrra has not yet been concluded, researchers believe that in this position was a lively port and a dockyard. It is widely believed that the city of Pyrra was destroyed due to an earthquake in 231 B.C., but the area was reconstructed and inhabited in the Byzantine Era. Findings also include women’s clothing and Byzantine coins.

Last but not least, the Ancient Temple of Messa in Kalloni is one of the most important archaeological monuments on the island. That was the worship centre of the Aeolians. Part of the temple foundations and some columns have survived and have been placed in their right positions in order for visitors to be able to visualize the ancient temple.



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