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Castles, & Archeological Sites of Lesvos

Here's a list of historical sites that you should not miss while you are in Lesvos.

Molyvos : The castle (above photo) that crowns the heights of the town is from Byzantine times and was later repaired by Francesco Gattelusi. In terms of majesty and size it is the second most impressive on the island. During the summer months it is used for concerts and cultural events. See The Castle of Mithymna

Mytilini : The castle located on the north side of Mytilini and overlooks the city is one of the largest in the eastern Mediteranean. It's foundations were laid during the time of Justinian on the ruins of an even older fortification which can still be seen in sections of the walls. It has been used and rebuilt by the Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and the Turks and is now used in the summer for cultural events for example a concert by the Scorpians, or local opera singer Joanna Karvelas. There is a Roman or Byzantine reservoir with a 4,000 cubic meter capacity. There are also underground tunnels which cover a large area beneath the castle and the hill.

The Roman Aquaduct at Moria: Approximately 600 meters to the west of the village of Moria rise up the impressive arches of the great aquaduct built by the Romans. It is the remains of a fantastic technical achievement of the first 3 centuries AD, which began in the region of Agiassos and passed through the villages of Lambou Mylou and Larsos, supplying Mytilini with water.

Christian Temple of Chalinados: On the agricultural region of Chalinados, about 1 hour from Agia Paraskevis, are imposing ruins of an early Christian basilica of Agios Georgios which was restored by professor A. Orlandos in 1937. It was originally a three-aisled basilica with a timber roof.

The Bridge at Kremasti near Agia Paraskevis was built at the time of the Gattilusi families rule over the island between 1355 and 1462. Made entirely of stone, the bridge is a wonder of traditional architecture and is still used today. Many of Lesvos ancient sites are in the vicinity of Agia Paraskevis

The Ancient Theatre in Mytilini: High up in the north side of town in the pine grove is the ancient theatre. It was one of the largest in Greece with room for 15,000 spectators, considered on a par with the theatre at Epidavros. It was built in Hellenistic times though by whom is not known. It was repaired by the Romans. When Pompei visited the island he was so excited about the theatre that he ordered a similar one built in Rome.

The Yeni Mosque: This mosque in upper Skala is an example of Turkish architecture with distinct Greek features. It is in the north part of Mytilini town where first the Romans and then the Turks lived. It was built between 1823 and 1828 and today has been refurbished and used as an exhibition hall.

Ancient Antissa: Located on peninsula between two bays near Skalahori, this site can most easily be reached by going towards Gavatha and following the signs. There are the remains of medieval walls and a fortress. There are also columns and pieces of marble scattered around the valley near a small church that overlooks the beach. I assume that most of ancient Antissa lies unexcavated beneath the soil.

Sigri :This castle was built in 1757 by the Turks during their occupation of the island. It sits on a small peninsula above the harbor with a view of the beach and the town. There is no entrance fee and visitors are free to wander around and explore. There are great tavernas and an excellent beach nearby so you can make a day of it. Also nearby is the Petrified forest.

Klopedi: Accessable on a trail from the village of Agia Paraskevis there are traces of an Aeolian Temple dedicated to the god Apollo.

Sanctuary of Messa : An Aeolian center of worship with some remains of an Ionic temple pavilion. Situated near the salt plains of Kaloni. if you are driving the main road from Mytilini to Kaloni it's on the right a few minutes after you reach the valley. Follow the dirt road until you come to a small settlement and can't go any further.

In Eressos there are the ruins of the
Church of Saint Andrew which dates back to the first half of the 5th century AD. Next to it is the archeological museum with relics of life from the archaic era up to Byzantine times. Nearby on the hill of Vigla is the Hellenic polygonal wall, ruins of a medieval castle, a Roman cistern and two turrets, one Genovese and the other Turkish.

Ancient Pyrra: One of the 5 ancient cities of Lesvos. Located near Achladeri, remains can be seen of the town which was destroyed by an earthquake. Bring a snorkel though. You will need it. Eat at Nondas Taverna nearby for some of the best fresh fish in Lesvos.

Petrified Forest: This is Lesvos' oldest antiquity. Situated between Sigri and Eressos and on the shores of the small island of Nissiopi. This forest is actually much larger then the more famous petrified rorest in Arizona but does not have the promotion or public relations staff. Regardless, it is still one of the wonders of the world and should not be missed. Pieces of petrified wood and trees still standing cover a large area and the age of the forest has been estimated as twenty million years old. Apparently the trees had been preserved when they were covered by volcanic ash from nearby Mount Ordymnos.

Besides these listed there are many others including giant polygonal stone walls that are being excavated in the towns and can be seen in the fields and hills around the island. There are ruins of ancient churches and temples scattered all over Lesvos and if you look carefully in all the towns and villages you will find evidence of the island's ancient past now incorporated in steps, stone walls and paving stones.

Castle of Sigri

Ruins in Eressos

Minaret in Skalahori

Mosque in Parakila

Ruins in Mesa

New site in Yera

Bridge at Kremasti

Christian Temple at Chalinados

Mytilini Castle

Ancient Baths at Thermi

Petrified Forest

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