Antissa – Vatousa

Welcome to Antissa – Vatousa

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Below we present a description of the city and its history. For more detailed information on the sights, the beaches of the area and useful telephone numbers & services, please choose from the menu the same option you want.

Antissa is a beautiful town built around the slopes. It is located on the west side of the island, 76km away from the capital. This area has great historical importance for Lesvos, the ancient town flourished here and was one of the first wind settlements on the island. The art of music was highly developed in this area. According to mythology, waves washed the head and lyre of Orpheus, who was murdered by Maenads at the beach of Antissa. Also, local tradition says that at the bottom of the sea are the ruins of the ancient city which was destroyed by the Romans.

Today Antissa is a town that thrives on farming and tourism. It is renowned for its excellent climate and the hospitality of the people. It is the administrative center of the region, home of many public services and utilities (Police Department, Health Center, Veterinary clinic, Post office etc.). It has a Primary, Secondary and High School.

The Town Shop is in the square which has a large banquet room. Next to this is the large village church of St. John, the Theologian. This is a great aisled basilica, built in 1807 and repaired in 1927 and 1971. Interestingly, the Folklore Collection is exposed in the area of the Cultural Association. A church museum is operating in Antissa, which hosts images, vestments and sacred vessels and there is a private collection of traditional toys

The monastery of Perivoli (1600-1650) is in the area located in a wooded ravine of the river Voulgaris between Vatoussa and Antissa and this leads to a diversion of the road Kalloni-Antissa. This nunnery was dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin which was devastated in recent years.

At the northern coast of Lesvos is the Ancient Antissa, at the cape of Ovriokastro and the site “Good Harbor” or “Tsamour port”, which is a small tourist port with its long history as evidenced in the ruins of antiquity.

Famous products of the region are cheese and wine production which can be purchased from producers.

The municipal department of Vatoussa from the municipality of Eresos – Antissa is one of the six municipalities and the first thing seen when coming from the town of Mytilene, 66 Km away from it.

Vatoussa is built on the southwest side of Mount Kouratsona (altitude of the mountain 786m) on a hillside, which is a volcanic way to go and was formed by volcanic lava cooled before 17 million years. Important are the two major libraries of the town, donated to the male school, with major publications of Leipzig. The libraries principally were established in the male school and today they are transferred to the Cultural Center of the village, housed in the “Mansion Gogos”.The “Gogos Mansion” is also working as a folklore museum.

A few kilometers from Vatoussa is the village Chidira, where you should visit the Digital Museum “George Iacovidis”, which is the first all-digital Museum of Art in Greece. Formed according to a specific museum study based on new technology brings true life and work of renowned Greek artist through a variety of electronic digital display and interaction.

Important reference should be made to the production of high quality livestock products and individuality of the settlement (Ladotyri, feta cheese of excellent taste, mitzithra cheese, noodles, which is a type of pasta made by hand based on sheep and goat milk, etc.) at home today economy, although there was a long time operated livestock cooperative, which traditionally produced high quality livestock products in proprietary creamery and which as a quality product received the prize sheep butter at the Thessaloniki International Fair in 1968.

The port of Antissa is Gavathas, a dream beach and ideal for fishing. Near the beach taverns are serving all the traditional recipes. There are hotels and rental rooms in Antissa.Beaches of the area are Gavvathas, Ancient Antissa, Kalo limani and 6 km north of Antissa is Kampos beach.

 Demographic and historical data

The municipalities of Antissa and Vatousa belong to the municipality of Eresos – Antissa.
According to tradition, waves washed the head and lyre of Orpheus, who was murdered by Maenads of Thrace at the beach of Antissa. Then the head of the demigod was received by the residents and was placed in a cave of the area, which worked as a Sanctuary and Oracle of Orpheus. The head according to tradition began to speak and sing. Thousands of pilgrims came in to hear the song and the oracles that his head broadcasted until the fame of the sanctuary grew so much, that threatened to overshadow the reputation of the Oracle of Delphi. Then Apollo angered and asked him to keep quiet. The head fell silent, but he learned the nightingales to chirp sweeter than any other in the region. Also Terpandros, the melodist was born here, child of Antissa and creator of Varvito, who according to tradition, received the lyre of Orpheus and was the one who put his head in the temple that served in the cave of Antissa.

Historically the settlement of Vatousa was created during the Byzantine period. The Conqueror had established their tax services (moutakasi) in Vatousa which was responsible for collecting the tax from the surrounding area.

 Ancient Antissa

On the northern coast of Lesvos is Ancient Antissa, at the cape of Ovriokastro and the site “Kalo limani” or “Tsamour port”, which is a small tourist port with its long history as evidenced in the ruins of antiquity.

Ancient Antissa was the metropolis across the country, one of the six cities of Lesvos, built in the Cape Palaiokastro. Currently it preserves sections of ancient walls, which were around the town while the center was allegedly built as citadel.

Ancient Antissa was held together with the neighboring Eresos, the western island. The two cities together were almost always followed by maneuvers of powerful allies from Mytilene. The destruction of the ancient city of Antissa is dating back to 167 BC by the Romans, who avenged Antissa because they offered shelter to their enemy, King Perseus of Macedonia. In this region, which housed part of the ancient city, the great castle of Ovriokastro was built later. The castle was built during the Byzantine period and was reinforced during times of Gatelouzoi. This was probably the great castle of Saint Theodore, that so many travelers described it with admiration. In the fall of the island to the Turks, in 1462, residents of Saint Theodore left to northern Evia.
Today the castle ruins are standing with thick walls made of local stone. The large portal is located in the neck, near the road that passes now the party that would be the ditch that separates it from the mainland.

 Cave Spilios of Antissa

An imposing and impressive cave, known as “Spilios”, is located 2.5 km NE of the modern Antissa, in a ravine formed between the homonymous hill and the opposite hill named “Triptos”. Access to the cave is after about half an hour walking through a path with oak, rich flora and fauna, landscape that rewards the visitor during the ascent.

The entrance to the cave, “Chaos” as the locals call it, appears huge in the middle of the hill, offering a spectacular sight. Tectonic processes have created the cave, inside of which consists of a large oval chamber 700 square meters and a height of about 12 meters, divided in two by a wall of boulders. In the front room there are scattered fragments of prehistoric pottery, bone tools, millstones of the Early and Middle Bronze Age. In the second place there are two construction rubbles, covered in parts by stalagmite material. In front of these structures are shells votive vases of the archaic era mixed with prehistoric pottery. Significant findings within the cave, the layout of the site, which corresponds to the organization of ancient oracles and the descriptions of the oracle of Orpheus, contribute to the view that the cave was probably the oracle of Orpheus.

 Gavathas

Gavathas is the port of Antissa, located next to it. It is a dream beach and ideal for fishing as the village is protected by the Cape Red Rock and creates a small harbor where ships dock fishing vessels, yachts and sailboats. The beach is for swimming and water sports. Because of the shallow water and fine sand it is ideal for families with young children. Gavathas bay is ideal for surfers (wind surfing). Near the beach are taverns serving all traditional recipes.

 Kampos

You arrive at the Kampos beach, which lies about 6 km north of Antissa, with good a good asphalt road with a small section of dirt road which runs from the junction of the road that leads to Gavathas. It has crystal clear waters and is rich with fine sand which forms dunes. It is not very crowded. Guests can eat in the taverns situated in the close village of Kampos. This beach attracts all the time walkers, fishing enthusiasts and motorsport fans.

 Ancient Antissa

Ancient Antissa is located a few kilometers from Antissa, east of the beach Gavathas. Alternatively you can follow the road next to Skalochori. The beach is very quiet, with not many visitors. It is rocky and the sea is shallow. Restaurants are in the area.

 Kalo Limani

The Kalo Limani beach is located below Skalochori, east of Antissa. It is a deserted beach and there is a small church at one end of the rocky beach.