Capital of the island is Mytilini, which is built on the slopes of a hill and stretches along of the bay with its beautiful neoclassical houses. The top of the hill is crowned by the castle which is surrounded by a pine forest. In the old town, the houses are built together, with narrow picturesque streets.
The main attractions are:
- the castle, which was built by Emperor Justinian on ancient ruins, later, additional structures have been made by the Genoese and the Ottomans (at the castle concerts and theatre performances are held).
- The ruins of the late Roman palace (House of Menander).
- The remains of the polygonal wall of archaic Mytilene (5th cent. BC).
- Houses in traditional style
- Mansions and neoclassical buildings
- The church of Agios Therapon (18th century.), the Mitropolis Church (17th century.) And many other churches in and out of town.
- Archaeological Museum (Tel .: 22087). Besides many other significant artefacts from the excavations on the island, particularly remarkable are the mosaics from the so-called “Hau of Menander”.
- Byzantine Museum (Tel .: 28 916) in the area of the church Agios Theraponos
- Folklore Museum (Tel .: 41388)
- Theophilos Museum (Tel .: 41 644) in the birthplace of Mlers in Varia, 3.5 km outside the city, in which works of the artist can be seen.
- Museum of Modern Art (Tel .: 23 372), near the Theiophilos museum with works by important foreign and Greek artists.
When driving out of the city on the coastal road in a northwesterly direction, you’ll come through the following villages: Moria (6km north) with ruins of a Roman aqueduct. Thermi (11 km north), a traditional village with towers and cobbled streets, mineral springs which are known since ancient times and the Monastery of Agios Raphail on the Karyes Hill. 36km north of Mytilini is situated the traditional village of Mantamados in which on many folk festivals, the traditional customs are maintained and where potters and carvers have their workshops. In addition there are also old churches and monasteries, the ruins of a medieval castle, a Byzantine defensive tower and, just outside the village, rock tombs.
Sykaminia and Skala Sykaminias (46km northwest) are surrounded by a breathtaking scenery. On this route you’ll come to Mithymna, which is also called Molyvo (62 km northwest of the city), located on a rocky hill that is crowned by a Byzantine castle with traditional island houses. There also many patrician houses from the 18th century., lovely churches, the ruins of the ancient city, one of the most important of the island, and home to the lyre player Arion, a Roman aqueduct, baths, characterised fountain, an archaeological collection and a library.
Then you come to Petra with its beautiful sandy beach, rich vegetation and its church Panagia i Glykophilousa” which was build on a rock (greek. “petra”) from which the village takes its name. Antissa (76 km north-west of Mytilene) is located inland 300 m above sea level, county town. However, the ruins of the same named old town, whom where home of the poet Terpandros, are located on the coast.
In the city there are interesting churches, monasteries and an ethnological collection. 18 km to the east are Sigri, a lovely village on the coast and Antissa, with the monastery Ypsilo, which houses valuable church equipment and manuscripts. Further to the south inland lies Eresos (89 km north-west of Mytilene) and Skala Eresou, a beautiful coastal village embossed by a volcanic rock landscape. Eresos has retained its ancient name and is home to the poet Sappho.
Deep inside of the same named bay are Skala Kallonis, a large fishing village with sandy beaches and 4 km further to the north Kalloni (40 km from Mytilene). 8 km north-east inland lies Agia Paraskevi with its beautiful old houses and the same named chapel which is build in a cave. In the village the bull festival and carnival festivals are celebrated with traditional customs.
In the vicinity of the city are the only ruins in Greece of Aeolic style (in Klopedi), also ruins of a great temple of Aphrodite, walls of a Byzantine castle, remnants of ancient Pyrra, an early Christian basilica of St. George and the famous medieval bridge of Kremasti.
The folklore collection in the city includes well worth seeing pieces. On the entrance of the Bay to Kalloni, is situated 45km from Mytilini and 4 km from Skala, the small picturesque city of Polichnito with its impressive stone houses and where you can get plenty of fresh fish. Well worth seeing are the Church of St. Georg, the Damandriou Monastery from the 12th century, the ruins of the castle in Lisvori and the traditional village of Vasilika. In Polichnito many typical folk festivals are organized, also the Klidonas Celebration with bonfires. 5 km south of Polychnito, located inland, is the village Vrisa and on the coast, in the Agios Fokas peninsula, the village Vatera. In this area are interesting churches and an archaic tower. 25 km southwest of the city is situated in the inland the large village Pappados, surrounded with fertile plains and on the coast, in the entrance of the Gera Bay, is situated Perama.
A short distance away in the village Skopelis is located the church of Agia Magdalene with its early Christian catacombs. Plomari, 42 km north-west of Mytilene, is the largest county town of the island. They distinguished itself by its good urban planning and beautiful patrician houses and is surrounded by trees. The city is known for its ouzo, olive groves and beautiful beaches. The views from the Profitis Ilia-Chapel, at the highest point of the city is unique. In the city there is a remarkable ethnological collection, a church museum and beautiful churches. Not far from the city are caves that are a bit difficult to reach. 28 km west of Mytilene is situated the beautiful village of Agiasos, which is built like an Amphi theatre on the slopes of Olympos hill with picturesque cobbled streets, stone houses, plane trees, pottery and woodcarving workshops.
The Carnival and Carnival Monday are celebrated with special Customs, which have there roots in the cult of Dionysus. During the year other festivals and cultural performances are held. The place has an ethnological collection and a church museum. The “Panagia” church houses a precious icon which is to be the work of the evangelist John.
Weather in Lesbos
Geography and History
Lesbos is the third largest Greek island after Crete and Evia. It’s land area is 1,630 km2, the coastline 370 km long. The island lies between Lemnos and Chios, near the Anatolian Turkish coast. Lesbos is hilly, but with many levels also are many olive and fruit trees and vineyards. The hills are covered by dense forests.
Between the villages Eressos, Sigri and Antissa is located the so-called "Petrified Forest". The bays of Gera and Kalloni, have so narrow entrances that they appear as lagoons. They are especially rich in fish.From an Administrative point of view the island, together with Limnos and Agios Efstratios, form the province of Lesvos with its capital Mytilini.
Lesbos has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It developed into a major maritime power and experienced during the 7th and 6th century BC a significant cultural prosperity. The island is home to famous poets, musicians, philosophers and historians of the antiquity: Terpander, Sappho, Alkaios, Arion, Xenophanes, Ella Nikos, Pittacus and so on. During the Peloponnesian war the island was the "apple of discord" between Athens and Sparta, and was alternately ruled by both.
Lesbos allied with Alexander the Great, in the year 88 v. BC. They were overthrown by the Romans. During the Byzantine era the island lost its importance. After the capture of Constantinople by the Franks (1204) Lesbos was attributed to prince Baldouin the 1st. For some years it belonged then back to the Byzantium empire, but then was for 107 years under the rule of the Genoese. In 1562 the Ottomans conquered the island and it was not until the year 1912, that Lesbos was freed after many Battles.
How to get there
- By Plane
- Lesbos has flight connections to Athens, Thessaloniki, Chios and Lemnos. The airport is located 8 km outside the city.
- Olymplic Air Mytilini, Tel.: 0251 28 659
- By Ferry
- Regular connections from Piraeus. The distance is 188 nautical miles.
- Port authority Mytilini, Tel.: 28 888.
- Also from Rafina regular connections with Mytilini.
- Port authority Rafina Tel.: 0284 23 300
- Mytilini also has connections to Limnos, Samos, Chios, Kavala, the Dodecanese islands, Volos, Thessaloniki, Agios Efstratios and Skyros.
- Useful Telephone numbers
- Area code 0251
- Police Mytilini: 29 900
- VerkehrsPolice: 22 030
- Port authority: 28 888
- City Hall: 28 501
- Tourist Information: 42 511/3
- General Hospital: 43 777
- Police Agiasos: 0252 / 22.222
- Police Eresos: 0253 / 53.222
- Police Kalloni: 0253 / 22.220
- Ambulance Kalloni: 22.410, 22 222
- Police Mithymna: 0253 71 220
- Port authority Mithymna: 71 307
- Police Plomarios: 0252 / 32 222
- Port authority Plomarios: 32 296
- Ambulance Plomarios: 32 964