Between West and East, Lesvos, the brightest of the “diamonds” of the Aegean Sea, has rightly been described as the “Island of Beauty and Harmony.” The unique, the unprecedented, the interesting, all are revealed when one lives in Lesbos and “gets lost” in the present…
It is difficult for someone to begin describing Lesbos using just a few words. That’s because the island does not have only one attractive denominator as many other tourist islands. It is a mosaic of attractions, with many unique natural beauties, rare geological monuments, tremendous changes in its landscapes, amazing archaeological treasures, settlements of excellent architectural beauty, wetlands, hiking trails, museums of considerable traditional value, unique local cuisine, live pagan events, pilgrimages known across the country and of course has all kinds of accommodations, hotels (not too large) and rooms for a comfortable and pleasant stay.
All these and many more, make all those who come to the island to fall in love with it, and speak very highly of its beauty. You can read here what many famous and important people have said about our island. Against the general leveling of mass tourism and the intolerable uniformity found on other islands, Lesvos insists in maintaining a distinct “personality” and “aura”.
The eruption of a volcano 20 million years ago, separated the island of Lesvos in two different “worlds”, the scenery alternation leaves the visitor ecstatic. The east side of the island is covered with pine and olive trees, which descend all the way to the sea. In the western part though the scenery changes reminding more of the island group of Cyclades and … the “Wild West”. It is here where the visitor can find a unique world heritage monument , the Petrified Forest in Sigri and The Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest.
The island of Lesvos, which many know by the name of Mytilene, because of the homonymous capital city, has become since 1/1/2010 the unified municipality of Lesvos, resulting from the combination of all pre-existing municipalities of the island (Mytilene, Mantamados, Agiasos, Aghia Paraskevi, Eressos-Antissa, Polichnitos, Plomari, Petra, Mithimna, Loutropoli Thermis, Kalloni, Evergetoula and Gera). It is the largest municipality of the country, with an area measuring 1633.83 square km and a population, according to Census 2011, of 85,450 inhabitants. The island is mountainous – although it has several plains – and belongs to the North Aegean islands, while it is located a short distance from the coast of Turkey. The island’s capital Mytilene is the headquarters of the North Aegean Region and the Aegean University. The island is shaped as a maple leaf with two large shallow bays, Kalloni and Gera. The most important mountains are Lepetimnos, Olympus and Ordymnos.
Unlike many other islands where the urbanization “devastated” their villages, Lesvos was fortunate enough to retain “robust” – despite the demographic bleeding – most of the large villages.
Another happy coincidence for the island was that, because of its underdevelopment and population drain of the first postwar decades it managed to escape the onslaught of concrete. So most of the settlements have kept the “color” and their architectural character and come through like a painting, through the silvery olive groves with traditional tile roofs and cobblestone streets. The most characteristic case of preservation of the architectural heritage of settlements, is the picturesque Molyvos.
Another striking feature is the island’s many hot springs – almost a fourth of the countries hot springs are found here – the wetlands with the thousands of native and migratory birds and amphibians, the unique monument of the Petrified Forest, the well-known throughout the country monasteries (such as St. Raphael and Taxiarchi in Mandamados ) and pilgrimage sites, the religious events (where the Christian faith coexist with paganism), and of course the living spiritual tradition is constantly present in whatever manner of events even in the smallest villages.
Great intellectual statures of the greater Aeolis region throughout the centuries was the “Tenth Muse” Sappho, Pittacus (one of the seven wise men of Greece), Alcaeus, Terpander, Arion, the “father of botany” Theophrastus, Eftaliotis, Myrivilis, Venezis, Kontoglou, Panselinos, Kountouras, Iacovidis,Theophilus, Elytis.