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The Petrified Forest of Lesvos

Petrified forest of Lesvos

The Petrified Forest was formed 20 million years ago when a volcano exploded in this part of northern Lesvos covering the entire area with ash and lava. Some of the trunks are 20 meters in length and 3 meters in diameter and you can even see the root systems. The forest goes all the way to the sea and you can find pieces of petrified wood among the pebbles on the beaches of Sigri. The caldera of the volcano is the area which contains the villages of Vatousa, Xidira, Antissa and Zithra. If you stand in many spots in and around these villages you can see the walls of the caldera as well as mounds of ash. This is what makes the soil in this part of Lesvos so good for growing grapes, like Santorini.

So... After a beautiful fish lunch with ouzo in Sigri, what better way to spend an afternoon than to explore the Petrified Forest of Lesvos? I mean when your head is spinning from the ouzo and conversation why not walk around in the hot sun and take pictures of ancient trees? Most people would rather go back to their air-conditioned rooms to take a little nap and prepare for the evening, especially when the late July temperatures are a little higher than they have been in the last 100 years. But not me. Having become embarrassed because after many years on the island I had yet to visit the forest (I did go to the museum in Sigri, though), which is like living in Athens and never going to the Acropolis, I realized this might be my last opportunity before next summer. And even though it was hot as hell I must admit I kind of enjoyed it. Now imagine how great it would be if I had gone early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun was not blazing down on me, or even another season when  the mountain which used to be covered in giant trees, is cooled by the sea breezes which were taking the day off during my visit.

This was the first thing we saw when we came through the entrance and this is where I wanted to stay. It was shady and cool and I could see the trees just fine and maybe appreciate them more with something cold to drink in my hand. But I felt duty-bound and made my way down the trail.

What can you say about a petrified forest that has not already been said?


 It is a bunch of trees that are now rocks. 


But it is when you look closely enough to see the variations in color and texture that you really feel a sense of amazement. 

And the different types of trees petrify  in different designs and colors

Some of the exhibits are just small chunks which remain from what were once giant trees.

Some are big

Some are impressively big

This would make an excellent stool but it is way to heavy to move and anyway it is illegal to do so. 

The Petrified Forest of Lesvos is bigger than the more famous one in Arizona. To get there take the road to
Sigri and follow the signs. 

Bring the kids!



Here are some better photos....

As you can see it is pretty impressive. I recommend you stop here on the way to Sigri and visit the museum as well which is right in Sigri. In fact no matter where you are staying in Lesvos you should come for a visit. Did I mention that this is the largest petrified forest in the world? It is also on the list of proposed UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Since they started building the new road to Sigri they have unearthed many more pieces of petrified wood. Greece Travel Banner

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