Mithymna (Molyvos)

Welcome to Mithymna (Molyvos)

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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.

Mythimna or Molivos is a large traditional village of Lesvos in the north coast, 62 km northwest of Mytilene. In Mythimna, the visitor can discover the rhythms of traditional island life and taste the authentic hospitality from the residents. You can enjoy walking on traditional paths, the traditional market in the center of the village, with its “Salkimi” flowers across the trail it creates a unique sense, the beautiful and clean sea and wonderful sunsets, browsing the Venetian castle, the museum, the gallery, the art school, the beach of Eftalou and the harbor.

All traditional buildings are made by stone with wooden windows in narrow streets. At the edge of the town, there is the picturesque port which completes the magic figure. An important factor in the local economy is the cultivation of olive trees, livestock, sheep, fishing and especially tourism. There are over 23 hotels with 1815 beds in total and over 2500 rooms. There is also a municipal campsite 1 km away from the village and is located on the road leading to Eftalou.

Each year, a number of cultural events are being held either in the castle or at the Conference Center. Some of these are “Eftalioteia”, the International Symposium of the Aegean, and every summer there are festivals for the protection of the tradition and heritage of architecture, painting and folk art, lectures, musical theaters and folklore performances. Also the nautical week is organized in the first week of July. It is being held at the port of the village. Poems about the sea are being read, fish and wine are offered and there is a festival with traditional dances, music and fireworks. The School of Fine Arts department is there in this area during the summer. Just before we enter Mythimna we also find the picturesque village Vafeios, with stunning views and traditional tavernas.

 Demographic and historical data

The municipality has 2,433 inhabitants and 50,166 acres of land. Location of the municipality is Mythimna (Molyvos) and includes 4 Municipal districts: Mythimna, Argenno, Lepetymnos and Sykaminea. According to existing sources the date of establishment of this town goes around 1140 and 1053 BC. In the 8th century BC, Mytilene and Mythimna are already powerful cities of Lesvos. Mythimna is constantly expanding and established itself as the second city of the island in agricultural, commercial, maritime, military and cultural force. Today, few sections of the wall and the harbor, the ruins of the aqueduct and some buildings are saved. The excavations found tombs, fragments of pottery, etc. From the ruins of the ancient aqueduct pipelines it can be seen that Mythimna was watered with water that reached the city from the slopes of the Lepetymnos Mountain.

 Molyvos Castle

The castle of Molyvos is located in the north of the island in the place of the ancient town and is the second largest castle and importance of Lesvos. Built during the Byzantine era on the ruins of ancient, extensive walls to tackle raids of Franks and Turks, it was completed in 1373 by Francis Genovese, Gatelouzo and reinforced by the Turks in 1462. The castle has been mounted and maintened. Now it is regarded as one of the best preserved castles in the eastern Mediterranean, it is the most important monument for visitors and it is reserved for the municipality to organize cultural events.

Built in red and brown trachyte, the castle of Molyvos held a strategic position to enable the control of the northern passage to the Adramytte Gulf. The current form is largely due to the work of Gatelouzoi, later with many additions and repairs by the Ottoman sovereignty but with the modern repairs it is difficult to distinguish as they have used the same materials. The surviving parts of the core dating around 1373, followed the building system with regular stones, but much of the current version of ramparts, acropolis entries go back to the era of the Ottoman rule in several construction phases. The recent repairs of the castle are dated before the mid 18th century.

The castle of Mythimna in its present form is divided into two parts with an inner wall. It has 10 towers, 2 bastions, the “citadel” in the northeastern part, five buildings inside the castle (of which two are in ruins) and two outworks to strengthen vulnerable points.

You can access the castle through three successive gates. The external is open at the southern edge of the outer wall and is dated back to the Ottoman period. Within walking distance, the second entrance leads to an outdoor area protected by walls. The third largest portal, which is the main entrance of the castle, is dating back to the 14th century. Interesting is the wooden, with metal cladding door that closes the entrance (Ottoman period). Inside the castle the surviving buildings date back to the Ottoman period.

 Hot Springs of Eftalou

The hot springs of Eftalou are 4 kilometers northeast from Mythimna (Molyvos) located and you will enjoy a relaxing bath in the steam bathtub or if you prefer baths in individual facilities. Apart from the therapeutic properties of the sources, it is a unique experience in rejuvenation, a dive in the crystal waters of the Bay of Eftalou.

The temperature of the water-chloride radio spa is 43,6 – 46,5 C and advised against any kind of chronic diseases such as rheumatism, arthritis, sciatica, lumbago, neuralgia, gravel, gallstones, gynecological diseases, breast diseases, myositis, trauma outcomes, postoperative stage hemorrhoids, white discharge, skin diseases. Source

 Ancient Mythimna

Homeland of the lyric poet Arion, Mythimna occupies a small peninsula on the north coast of the island, which was founded at the end of the Bronze Age, probably after the arrival of the Aeolians. According to the excavation findings, the town of Mythimna experienced the greatest boom during the archaic period, when the larger area was occupied, which almost coincided with the modern traditional village.

From the 4th century BC, the city is limited to the citadel and the area called Dapia, where a large amount of parts of the defensive wall of the Hellenistic era were saved, including the current Medieval Castle. Also, there are ruins from the ancient harbor pier, visible in the modern port and parts of the aqueduct from the Roman era; those were carrying water from the Lepetimnos Mountain to Mythimna. The ancient cemetery and the cemetery of the Hellenistic and Roman period were discovered along the road leading from Mythimna to Petra in the area of Dapia.

Mythimna is now one of the most important preserved settlements in the Aegean.

Municipal Art Gallery

The Art Gallery of Mithimna is located in the center of the village. The sculpture of the poet and writer of Mithimna, Argyres Eftaliotis, is in the courtyard building. The Gallery has a large number of projects which have been donated by artists for a permanent exhibition. The entrance to the Gallery is free and the view of the village is truly panoramic.

The gallery is open for the public from mid May until the end of October. Every Year, during the period from 1.6 until 31.9, exhibitions of plastic arts (sculpture, painting, pottery, woodcarving, engraving,) are organized. There are also cultural nature exhibitions, such as exhibitions of old utensils, embroideries, costumes, old photographs and anything else that has the objective of acquaintance with the younger parts of the culture belonging to the past.

 Public Library

Since 149 years continuously and uninterrupting operation of the Library can be seen from the first pages of old books where multiple stamps – “Brotherhood of the Muses”, “Community Library”, “Public Library”, “Municipal Library” – witnesses the historical development. The library has about 12,000 volumes, around 1,000 are old.

The municipality of Mythimna has given the two privately owned buildings to host as the library and for computers (and Disabled) from the program “Information Society” in the center of the market near the 250-seat conference center. In the old part of the Library many important collections of old books and publications are contained. The library also has materials, archival records and documents of unions that recorded the action and the history of the town and society.

Currently an attempt is being made that the Public Library of Mythimna wins the “lost time” and reverts into the living cell of culture and learning. Participate in the program of the Ministry of Education to digitize the old collection in order to modernize and more effectively serve their citizens, researchers, students of Greek and international academic community, students and teachers in the region.

With enthusiasm and optimism for the future, tours are planned at the library, literary evenings, book reviews (there are many important local writers) and other events.

 School of Fine Arts

A traditional two storey building, that was built in 1812 is housed in the market of Mythimna and is linked with the School of Fine Arts of Athens. The walls and ceilings of the building are decorated with impressive murals, with themes from nature, everyday life and history. The murals depicted flowers, plants, ships and occupations of local residents, like for example picking of the olives and fishing.

The rulers of that time thought it would be necessary to have at home representations from Istanbul and from several European cities where they traveled. The marbled walls of the central facilities complement the stately image of the area. The frescoes of the mansion had been altered by the passage of that time, so it was maintained by art restorers of the School of Fine Arts, which lasted about 2.5 years.

From the building of the School we can get information about old mansions in Mythimna: A pebbled courtyard and a large wooden door lead to the ground floor of the house. There are three rooms on either side of the central corridor leading upstairs. On the left side in the kitchen, the oven fired with wood and old stone “dish” still survived.From a narrow staircase we reach the main room upstairs. It is the largest room and has paintings everywhere. There are four more rooms around it.

The mansion of Komninaki – Kralli was at a risk of being demolished. In the 50s, immigrants from Molyvos that left Australia bought it and donated it to the High School of Fine Arts. They believed that if it operated as School of Fine Arts here, many artists would come to paint the beautiful Molyvos and their works would have made Molyvos known worldwide. Indeed, since 1960, many famous artists from the Annex School have come to Mythimna. Also, the rooms of the School host each year students of the School of Fine Arts with their teachers to take lessons and to paint, inspired by the landscape and nature.

 St. Panteleimon

Saint Panteleimon is the cathedral of the town and is located in the center, followed by two other churches, the Archangel, high on the entrance of the castle and St Kiriaki on the east side facing the Lepetimnos and Eftalou. In 1844, as indicated on the entry by marble inscriptions made above the door, the temple was built by the foundation in the place of the old church, where the first building dates back to the Byzantine times.

The unique code that exists in Molyvos is preserved in St. Panteleimon, one of the oldest of Lesvos. It consists of 196 numbered pages, written in red pencil from Moschonisioti Efstratios J. Drako. The content of the code is a set of accounts and receipt inscriptions, dedications, etc. Even names appear, place names, subscription receipts, tax (hike), which gives us a picture of the Turkish. Chronologically, the code covers a period of about 2 centuries from 1653 until 1803 and beyond. The temple has also the image of St. Anna from Vori from Minor Asia.

 Temple of the Holy Archangels

The church of the Archangels is below the castle of Mythimna. In 1795, Warden Dionysius, abbot of the monastery of Leimonos rebuilded the church as indicated on the wall at the entrance of the church plate. It was built from an ancient building material. Columns wonderful from local stone and other ancient architectural elements were built in the vestibule.

The School of the Archangel was developed initially in 1805, having headmaster John Mytileneo and Jacob Palaeologus, the subsequent large metropolitan and reformer of the whole northern Lesvos. The school was held in the revolution.

The church continues to give this up until today for the needs of the parish.

 St. Nikolaos Church

The church is located in the port of Molyvos. The story from 1988 of an Italian diver, who was fishing in waters outside the harbor, is dedicated inside the temple. A vessel which was entering the harbor didn’t saw him and passed over him, seriously injuring him. The diver invoked the example of St. Nicholas and has not lost his life. In gratitude to the Saint, this statue was dedicated, which depicts his drama.

The annual celebration of the Epiphany is happening at this church. The highlight is the catching of the cross, which is thrown into the sea. Children are diving for it.

If you want to visit it, select the side door which is always open.

 Mythimna

The beach of Mythimna is located in the village. It is a pebbly beach but has sand inside the sea. It is an organized beach with sun beds and umbrellas. Around the beach there are several restaurants and entertainment stores.

 Eftalou

Eftalou is located 2 kilometers northeast of the town and is overlooking the coast of Turkey. It is an area with several modern hotels and restaurants. The rocky beaches are alongside the street especially featuring clean sea, but they are a little bit cold because of the “meltemia” winds during the summer. The hot springs of Eftalou are located at the end of Eftalou.