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Museums in Lesvos

There are a number of museums on the island of Lesvos, in fact almost every village has some kind of museum or historical collection. These are a few of the better known ones.

Theophilos Museum: This is located in the delightfully cool region of Akrotiri in the suburb of Varea, four Km from the town of Mytilini just off the road to the airport. It was built at the instigation and expense of the Parisian art critic Stratis Eleftheriades aka Teriade who was from Lesvos. The museum is divided into five halls and houses 86 works by the folk painter Theophilos Chatzimicheal who was recognized as a great folk artist after his death following a life where he lived in poverty and had to paint the walls of cafeneons for food. There are some of his works visible in old buildings around the island and in the area called Karini near Agiassos you can see the hollowed out tree where he actually lived and painted. The Theophilos Museum, the Teriade museumnext door, and the Iakovidis Digital Museum should not be missed by anyone with an interest in art.

For more on Theophilos click here.

The Teriade Library and Museum of Modern Art: In the same region of Vareia, which has been characterized as a landscape of exceptional beauty, Teriade erected at his own expense, a building which houses his publications. It is in a marvelous olive grove where his family home also stands. The contents of the museum consist of twenty-nine rare books by the art critic with hundreds of pictures done by the great artists of our time, Picasso, Matisse, Giacometti, Chagall, Le Corbusier, Miro and others. The books are in special cases and pages are framed on the walls so that one can see and enjoy the inspiration and the modern designs of the great painters who made history in Paris. In the museum-library are also the forty paintings by Theophilos that Teriade presented at the Louvre which made the folk artist known world-wide. The Museum building has an area of around 1,000 square meters and it's architectural morphology is distinguished by its simplicity. This was Teriade's wish so that the building would harmoniously bond to its surroundings. The Teriade museum-library is unique in the world for it constitutes both a large school of art and a research center for artists and those involved with the arts while still being of interest to ordinary visitors.The museum holds exhibitions of many famous painters.

Georgios Iakovidis Digital Art Museum.
Giorgios Iakovidis museum lesvos greeceLocated in the tiny village of Xidera on the road between Kaloni and Eressos near the village of Vatousa is Greece's first digital art museum and one of the few in Europe. With backlit digital photos the viewer is able to see the art as it must have looked when painted over a century ago. Iakovidis is probably Greece's greatist painter. Had he been born French or Dutch his name would be a household word. This is one museum you should not miss.

For more information see Iakovidis Digital Museum of Lesvos

The Archeological Museum of Mytilini: A traditional mansion near the harbor in Mytilini is the Archeological museum. In its two halls are display cases with typical examples of prehistoric ceramics and clay figurines from the Early Helladic settlement of Thermi. Geometric and Archaic pottery from classical and hellenistic times come from various regions of the island. In the courtyard are Aeolian columns, votive alters, a headless femal statue from the Roman period, the marble throne of Potamonas, a reconstructed fountain from the Turkish occupation and other artifacts. The Old Museum is on Agryri Eftalioti street. The New Archaeological Museum is on 8th of November street between the harbor and the castle.

The Ecclesesiastical-Byzantine Museum: Facing the church of Saint Therapon in the ground floor of the Philanthropic Foundation of Mytilini, this museum contains many sacred and valuable icons and other holy relics. It's on Agios Therapontos street right behind the catherdral in the market.

The Folk Art Museum: This is housed in the lovely, refurbished Old Harbor office on the waterfront. There are abundant examples of which express the culture of the island including clay plates from Agiassos with scenes from daily life, bowls. pitchers, wooden mortars, cheese-molds, chests with highly artistic carvings, pistols, scimitars, swords, muskets, lamps, earrings, fabulous hand-towels, local male and female costumes, paintings by Theophilos and more. It's on Kontouriotou street near the square in the main part of the port.

The Old Lesvos House: This museum was formed at the initiative of the progressive and diligent Marika Vlachou Molinou, President of the Woman's Association of Lesvos and is in the ground floor of her mansion near the cathedral. It is a revival in complete detail of the island house of 1800-1900 which also gives a complete picture of local folk art, folk artistic feeling and housekeeping.

The Museum of Costume and Embroidery of Lesvos: This is another acheivement of the Women's Association of Lesvos. Its rooms, in a building on Komninaki Street, display the whole spectrum of attire from the past century, male and female.

The Gogo Museum of Vatoussa (photo) exhibits different aspects of Village life, with historical photos, clothing, utensils and a gallery of local artists. Located in the village of Vaoussa near the upper platia this museum will give you a good idea of what village life is like. The old mansion it is housed in is quite beautiful too. Of particular interest are the paintings of British artist Anne Welsh whose works are often on display here.

You can also visit the
Archeological Museums of Erressos and Mithymna which exhibit the ancient past of these city states. Many of the towns and villages have museums including Plomari which has the Barbayannis Ouzo Museum. In the town of Vrissa near Vatera is the Museum of Natural History which holds a recent and extraordinary discovery of Palaeolithic fossis, unique not only to Greece but to all of Europe. Vrissa is the closest town to Vatera which is one of Europe's richest areas in fossils and one of the most interesting areas for geologic phenomena including hot springs and colorful rivers and streams of mineral deposits. The Leimonos Monastery exhibits many ecclesiastic treasures and notable specimens of folk art.

One of the most facinating museums in Lesvos, and one of the newest is the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest in Sigri, located at the top of the village where you can see some splendid examples of petrified wood and see the geologic history of the island through the museum's many exhibits. For information on the museum and the Petrified forest see petrified forest and the official information from the Natural History Museum This museum is well worth the trip to Sigri where you can also have a nice meal and swim at one nearby beaches, among the best on the island, some of which you can find pieces of pretrified wood among the stones washed up by the sea.

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