Mytilini

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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 & services, please choose from the tab menu the option you want.

Mytilini

Spreading over seven hills, with its castle to stand out from afar, it is located in the southeastern tip of the island and amphitheater around the port and on the ruins of the ancient city, Mytilene enchants visitors from the beginning. It is one of the oldest cities in Greece and according to historical evidence founded back in the early 10th century BC. This is a beautiful city that perfectly combines traditional elements with modern amenities. The traditional architecture of the old town, the imposing neo-classical mansions and historic sites, specify the city and gives an aristocratic delicacy unique in the Aegean.

In the Ermou Street, downtown, are the most shops. The road is always throbbing with life, it attracts all kinds of shops (grocery stores, fish shops, clothing stores, cosmetics, etc.), and it is an attraction for tourists. The same applies to the Promenade, with its beautiful neoclassical buildings and many shops of entertainment and restaurants.

Just before the Ermou Street there is the Historic Secondary School of Mytilene. the historic library of the school is in the same building, featuring rare manuscripts. Particularly interesting are also the museums of the city. In the old building of the Archaeological Museum there are important findings (pottery, coins, mosaics, etc.) and in the new building there is an exhibition of the daily habits of the inhabitants presented, from the 7th century to the Roman years. The Byzantine Museum presents significantly exhibits (images, sacred vessels, etc.) dating from the 13th century.

Famous is the Theophilos Museum, created by the famous Mytilinian art critic Stratis Eleftheriadis and it includes 86 paintings of Theophilos. In the Museum of Modern Art – library Eleftheriades – Teriade the so called Holy Books are exhibited (Original artwork hand numbered and signed by the artist), but also works from Matisse, Miro, Picasso, John Tsarouchis and other famous artists. It is worth visiting the Museum of Folk Art, the Museum of Lesbian Costume and embroidery and the municipal gallery with large collections of paintings. Among those sights is the ancient theater at the pine hill of Agia Kyriaki, whose construction dates back to the Late Roman years. It is an interesting building in the city, representing its era (19th century). It is called Yeni Mosque, which now functions as an exhibition hall and event space of the municipality.

There are several churches to visit In Mytilene. The Church of Saint Therapon, the Cathedral of St. Athanasius, the Church of Saints Theodoron and a few kilometers away from the city in the village Kagiani (Taxiarches) the Church of the Holy Archangels (Taxiarchon).

Just 5 km from Mytilene is Moria with the Roman aqueduct and in the opposite direction at the Gulf of Gera the Hot springs that deserve your attention.

Standing out by the EOT from all the beaches in Mytilene is the beach in Tsamakia. A lot of tourists gather around in the summer at the beaches along the road towards the airport (Vigla, Neapoli, Kratigos). After the airport there is the beach Charamida and shortly after that you will find the enchanting bay with the beach of Saint Ermogenis. At the opposite exit of the city is the village Panagiouda with the Palm Beach who took its name from the many palm trees that exists on the coast.

 Demographic and historical data

The Municipality of Mytilene has 36,196 residents and 107,460 acres of land. Location of the municipality is Mytilene and it includes 9 municipal districts: Mytilene, Agia Marina, Alifanda, Afalonas, Loutra, Moria, Pamphila, Panagiouda and Taxiarches.

 Castle of Mytilene

Built on top of a pine-clad hill near the port, the castle of Mytilene covers an area of 60 acres and is one of the largest castles in the Mediterranean.
The current form is a result from the building of Gatelouzoi that dominated the island during the period 1355-1462 and the Ottomans who conquered the island of Lesbos from 1462 to 1912. From the Byzantine stage only three parts survived: a Byzantine gate on the north side walls, the east wall of the main fortification wall and the tank in the middle of the castle.

The layout of the Castle of Mytilene follows the topography of the peninsula. Divided into three sections: the Upper Castle, which is the main citadel of the castle, the Middle Castle, most of which was constructed by Gatelouzoi and the Lower Castle, which was built by the Turks.

Area of continuous residence in the castle, accepted numerous repairs and gradually many new facilities. The excavations conducted in 1984 showed the residential area in antiquity. The construction of the castle began in the Byzantine era (483-565 AD), with the use of ancient building materials, while the present form was completed during the years of the leadership of Genoese Gatelouzoi (1355-1462). In 1384 the earthquake teared down the castle and after that it was rebuild. Then reinforced with defensive structures (new battlements, embankments, cannons) until it was conquered by the Turks in 1462.

Even now preserves the palace of Gatelouzoi, a square stone tower with a wall plate which forms a distinct relief of Gatelouzoi and scenes of arms of Roman duels. The lower northern part of the fortification is due to interventions and additions by the Turks. They used several pieces as building materials mainly from the Ancient Theater of Mytilene, which was then in a period of decline. During the period of the Ottomans, Turkish people also constructed a seminary building, which survived until today. After the liberation from the Turks in 1912, the castle lost its defensive character and was used as barracks. Inside the castle an underground gallery survived which played the role as refuge for the women and children of the city in times during wars, and there is also a water reservoir with a capacity of 4.000k.m. Since the 70s the castle became a memorial museum, it was repaired and maintained. Currently it is used as a preserved area of cultural events during the summer months.

 Archaeological Museum of Mytilene Old building

Old building – The old building of the Archaeological Museum of Mytilene unfolds the story of Lesvos from the Final Neolithic time to the late Roman. Built in 1912 by the family Vournazou it consists of two floors and a ground floor.

On the first floor of the mansion house there are exhibits of the Final Neolithic period (pottery, tools and jewelry from the cave St. Bartholomew) and the Bronze Age (tools and samples of pottery, terracotta, metal from the prehistoric Lesbos and especially from the prehistoric settlement of Thermi). At the second floor it houses in chronological order, objects of the 10th century BC until the 4th century. AD (samples of lesbian terracotta, ceramics, metalwork, glassware, burial blocks, repositories of sacred offerings, collecting oil lamps and figurines, jewelry and gold coins).

In both rooms the existence exposed architectural temples (such as the unique wind capitals of temples of Klopedi), sacred laws, statues and votive inscriptions dating from the Archaic to the Roman period. Finally, in the court there are heavy sculptures and architectural significant pieces of the buildings of the Hellenistic and Roman period of Mytilene placed (inscribed and sculptured columns, sculptures, pillars, altars and architectures).

 Archaeological Museum of Mytilene New building

New building – a short distance from the old building of the Archaeological Museum in the area of Kioski is the new building of the Archaeological Museum of Mytilene. The construction of the new building was completed in 1995 while in March 1999, a permanent exhibition entitled “Lesvos from the Hellenistic to the Roman period was inaugurated.

This focuses on one of the most important periods of development of ancient Lesbos, from the 4th century BC to the 3rd century AD. The rationale of the exhibition is to reach the visitor the daily political, economic, social and religious life of the island at that time. The exhibition grounds, which are housed on two floors, six rooms are in the permanent exhibition and two rooms for temporary exhibitions. The way the rooms are structured led to the design of the permanent exhibition in three parts.

In the three rooms – areas of the first ground floor, ground mosaics are exhibited, frescoes and other findings from Roman villas, that the archaeologists have uncovered at the hill of Agia Kyriaki in Mytilene and in three adjacent areas of the second ground floor sculptures (reliefs, and portraits of the round) are placed. In the halls of the temporary exhibitions, the hosted exhibits referred to Roman feasts.

Exhibits by themes:

1) Roman villas:

  • a) Mosaic floors from the “house of Menander (Area I),
  • b) mosaic floors, frescoes and other finds from the” home of Telephus” (Area II),
  • c) Mosaic floors and mobile Findings from the “home of Evripos” (Area VI).

2) Sculptures: a) Grave (Thrace rider) and votive reliefs (Dioscuri, Cybele) (Area III), b) Statuettes gods and portraits (Area IV), c) Statues of gods and prominent citizens (Area V).

3) Exhibits to benchmark of the Roman symposium (Halls of temporary exhibitions).

 Theophilos Museum

The Theophilos Museum was erected in 1964 in a suburb of Mytilene, the Varia. In 1965 Teriade donated it to the municipality of Mytilene, with 86 paintings of Theophilos, from his private collection and since then it serves as the Municipal Museum.

The building is built out of stone from Mytilene in pink color, perfectly matching the vast olive grove that surrounds it. It consists of four adjacent rooms in which there are 86 paintings of Theophilos from the last six years of his life. The subjects of the paintings are inspired by history, mythology and folklore. Also they portray scenes from everyday life, costumes, sceneries, etc. The exhibition is created by John Tsarouchis.

The painter Theophilos (1867-1934) was born and spent his childhood in Varia of Lesvos, popular self-taught painter Theophilos Hadjimichael demonstrated at an early age a remarkable interest in painting, on the acquired basic knowledge alongside his grandfather. Very young he escaped from Mytilene to Izmir which is the economic center of Asia Minor. He worked in the Greek consulate while painting. Later he settled down in Volos and painted houses and shops in the area while searching for occasional work and entertained the people once dressed with the earlier traditional male costumes and sometimes Alexander the Great. Most years in his life he lived in Pelion. In 1927 he returned to his hometown Mytilene where he completed the circle of his painting. Dominant component of his project is the illustration of Greek tradition and history. Recognizing the value of the work of Theophilos and the international visibility, however, indicated that after his death due to the eminent art critics and renowned art publisher in Paris Stratis Eleftheriades (Teriade) to erect at his own expense in 1964 the Museum of Theophilos at Varia in Lesvos.

 Museum-Library Teriade

The Museum-Library Stratis Eleftheriades-Teriade, based in Varia in Mytilene was founded in 1979 and was donated by Stratis Eleftheriades to the Ministry of Culture. The permanent exhibition is housed in a two-storey building consisting of 10 rooms on each floor.

Both the contents of the museum and the building is the result of the desired donor, decided and carried out in accordance with the original concept and supervision in order to present a single editorial work and create kind of an original museum, which combines reason with the image. Also, the plans of the building were made by the distinguished architect George Giannoulelli.
Unique, mainly because of the uniqueness of the exhibits, contains copies of the unique, both in quality and in presentation, magazine «VERVE». Also, the “Big Books”, which are original works of art, both in publishing terms, and for containing lithographs, all numbered and in limited edition, signed by the artists themselves, Beaudin, Bonnard, Chagall, Giacometti , Gris, Gromaire, Laurens, Le Corbusier, Leger, Matisse, Miro, Picasso, Rouault, Vilon, the leading European exponents of modern art in the 20th century. It also presents the lithographs contained in the “Big Books”, and the collection of Stratis Eleftheriades-Teriade of paintings of Greek artists such as Theophilos, Tsarouchis, Kanellis, Rorris and others. This collection makes the museum unique in the world, and even in the largest museums in the world they have only small sections of the appropriate line of this editorial project.

Besides the permanent exhibition, the Museum carries out retrospective exhibitions of plastic arts, publishing and other related to the nature of cultural events. Along with the events organized under its policy for better viewing of the exhibits, he has worked with lending projects with counterparts in Greece and Cyprus, as the National Gallery, the Telogleio Foundation, the Prefecture of Piraeus, the Arts Center of Nicosia, the Kikkou Monastery in Cyprus, the Japanese Embassy and other authoritative institutions and organizations.

 Byzantine Museum

The exhibits are priceless icons, sacred vessels, vestments, holy, wood, sanctuary doors and missals. The collection of images are stretching the time from the 13th to the 19th century. It is worth to visit these priceless treasures.
Founded in 1978, by the late Bishop James Kleomvrotou of Mytilene, the appropriate for this purpose was designed on the ground floor of Charity at St. Therapon square.

 Museum of Popular Art

It is housed in an elegant building of the old Port Authority, at the waterfront of Mytilene. The folkloric nature exhibits, shows visitors the recent Lesbian past. Similar interest is the private collection of Mr. M. Vlachou with traditional animation of a Lesbian House.

 Museum of Lesbian costume & embroidery

In the halls on the road Komninaki, there is a wide range of wealthy dresses, embroidery, weaving and embroidery, typical from the last century. It is a deal of the Association of Women of Lesbos.

 Municipal Art Gallery

The Municipal Art Gallery is housed in an old three-storey mansion (Xalim Bey), a typical example of local architecture, which dominates the region of Epano Scala and has one of the greatest collection of paintings.

The municipality of Mytilene has a unique space and visual culture, after its organization and operation of the Municipal Gallery of Mytilene. It belongs to the Municipal Cultural Hotelier – Tourist Development of the City and has one of the greatest collections of paintings, which was donated to the Municipality by George Simos – Stone and his sister Ellie Simos. Giorgos Simos – Petris was one of the leading critics of the country, a “thinker” of visual art, a personal friend of the Greeks major artists. After his death, he donated his personal collection, consisting of 110 paintings to the Municipal Gallery (August 1998) and his sister Ellie Simos, supplemented the collection with a new donation later (September 2001).

Today the Collection of Petris is exposed in the Municipal Art Gallery and consists of 138 paintings, rare prints, books and prints. Among others at the Municipal Art Gallery displayed works of John Tsarouchis, G. Gounaropoulos of Ant. Protopatsis, Or. Kanellis, Picasso, Matis, Moralis, Fasianos, Chr. Mpotsoglou, Vasso Katraki’s prints and a series of paintings of many other important painters of the Greeks.

Besides the very important collection of Petris, the Municipal Gallery has a remarkable collection of works by artists such as the Lesbian Str. Axiotis, G. Gavalas, G. Perros, I. Moutzourellis, Str. Athinaios, K. Messinezi, M. Kallipolitou, Dim Karapiperis and others.

 Cathedral St. Athanasius

It is located in the old town of Mytilene. The church is metropolitan at least since the early 18th century and is distinct from a distance because of the monumental Gothic spire. Built in 1882 the impressive bell tower has a height of thirty-three meters and has strong gothic elements.

The church’s interior is equally impressive with the exterior. The temple is one of the finest examples of post-Byzantine art woodcarving in Lesvos. In this style is the altar and the pontifical throne. In front of the icons the masterful image of Christ is standing. It is an image of the 16th century, in which Christ attended bust, blessing with his right hand and holding the Gospel with his left hand. This heirloom is from Asia Minor and was assigned to the temple a few decades ago to replace an older.

 Church of St. Therapon

Impressive exterior and magnificent interior, the church of St. Therapon is one of the most recognizable monuments of the island, although the story, in its present form at least one and a half century and the opening was held in 1935.

Until 1850, the same place was a small temple, also dedicated to St Therapon, who served the needs of patients and hospital staff, the famous “hotel” of Mytilene, which was precisely opposite of the present church.

In the mid 19th century the extension of Mytilene was a problem with capacity in the church, which was now covering not only the needs of the hospital, but for the entire surrounding area. Then the vision to build a new larger church was arrested. The difficult construction project which was undertaken by the Lesbian Adalis Argyris architect, who after his studies at the Metsoveio University, assistanted the two major architects of the era: Theophilos Xansen and Ernestos Ciller. The holy temple, albeit incomplete, was launched in 1900.

 Holy Temple of St. Theodoron

A minimum distance from the Cathedral, you can find the church of Saints Theodoron, built in 1795 to replace an older church, which was completely destroyed by fire. According to tradition, the oldest church was the cathedral of Mytilene, at least for some period after the fall of Lesvos by the Ottomans.

 Church of the Holy Archangels in Kagiani

It is located 6km south of Mytilene, in the suburb or Kagiani or Taxiarches. It was built in 1903 in Byzantine style, cruciform, with a Gothic dome. The church is full of sacred icons, frescoes and utensils and is a major pilgrimage on the island.

 Yeni Mosque

The Yeni mosque (the New Temenos) is an important historical monument in Mytilene from the third decade of the 19th century and is the largest and most splendid mosque of the city, and one of the most characteristic of this period in Greece.

From architectural and aesthetic point of view, it is one of the most interesting buildings in Mytilene, a representative of its era and interesting Ottoman art that was developed in Greek territory and built by Greek hands, left their marks visible in this creation. The Yeni Mosque, serves as an exhibition space and hosts events of the City after its renovation and restoration.

 Ancient Theater of Mytilene

It is located on a hill, in a pine forest, not far west from the steep road that runs through the Sinikismos area and reaches the church of Agia Kyriaki. The Theater of Mytilene was the biggest in Greece, similar with the Epidaurus Theater and seated about 15,000 spectators.

Demetrius Evangelidis made the first excavation in 1928. He said then that the Theater of Mytilene was the biggest in Greece, similar with the Epidaurus Theater and seated about 15,000 spectators. He himself, in 1958, repeated the investigation, mainly in the orchestra area and the stage.

The first building phase of the Theater of Mytilene is dating to the early Hellenistic period, as demonstrated by the statues and architectural elements, found on the ground or used in a second use for the building of the Castle of Mytilene. From the Ancient Theater of Mytilene the last construction phase of the monument was saved, which dates until post-roman years. The shape of the conductor is circular with a diameter of about 24.20 m. The scene is divided by three aisles. In the middle there was a constructed culvert found for water runoffs. To the west of the orchestra there are two rooms carved in the rock hollow. During the excavations uncovered remains of an altar were found, dedicated to Potamilli priestess, whose broken and headless marble statue was found in it. Also a hand in colossal statue and clay sewer pipes were found. All figurines that were found had been detached from its original location and many were moved and used for the construction of various buildings and particularly for the renovation of the fortress from the Gatelouzi.

During the late Roman period, when Lesvos was in intellectual flowering, they reconstructed the theater. The horseshoe-shaped auditorium estimates that at this stage it would have a capacity of about 10,000 spectators. Plutarchos in the” life of Pompey” (Pompey, 42) rescued the information that Pomaios the General during his visit to Mytilene in 62BC; he was excited by the Theater of Mytilene and instructed to build a similar theater in Rome. So, the Theater of Mytilene was used as a model to build the famous Pompeian theater in the capital of the Romans, built in Rome in 55 BC. During 1968 the former curator of Antiquities B. Petrakos has made restoration of the regional wall of the orchestra and restored two rooms west of the orchestra. The sound was and is wonderful.

 Roman Aqueduct of Moria

Department of arches length 170 meters, with 17 arches of the Roman aqueduct of Mytilene in Moria, is a work probably of the late 2nd or early 3rd AD century. It is estimated that the amount of water supplied to the city was 127,000 cubic meters per day.

Preserved arcade length is 170 meters, with 17 arches. Each exposure is divided into 3 successive arches supported by piers. The walls used the “emplekton” system. The pillars of arches are from local marble.

The Roman aqueduct in Mytilene, is probably the work of late 2nd or early 3rd AD century. It has highly classicist elements, so it was Hadrian. It was built to carry water from the abundant sources of the Mount Olympus to the ancient city of Mytilene on a route of about 26 km.

 Hot Springs Gulf of Gera

8.5 kilometers from Mytilene on the northern end of the bay of Gera are the “Thermas”. The location of the spa is one of the most privileged on whole Lesbos.

The graphic picture of the surrounding hills filled with olive trees and green fields, combined with endless views over the bay of Gera, is unique. The highway, just a few meters above the “Therma” makes it even more accessible to everybody.

The baths, built since the Turkish occupation of oriental architecture, maintain the interior space, features and atmosphere of old times. The water flowing into the source of two gang, vaulted bathtubs, for men and women, while at the side there are vaulted spaces appropriate for steam and inhalation therapy. The two separate compartments are accompanied by showers and locker rooms. According to chemical analysis of the spa water source, it identified the following properties: temperature 39.7 degrees Celsius – Clarity: perfect – Smell: none – Taste: Salty.

The source is advised against all kinds of diseases for the genital organs of women, rheumatism, arthritis, bronchitis, intestinal diseases, diabetes and neurasthenia. The chemical composition of the source is about the same as that of Loutraki. The spa has a restaurant, cafeteria and sports facilities, tennis, and mini soccer.

 Beach Tsamakia

The beach Tsamakia is an organized beach, below the castle of Mytilene. It offers all the amenities and opportunities for water sports and games (bicycle, canoeing, banana-tube fun and many others.).

 Vigla – Neapoli – Kratigos

Along the road to the airport lay the beaches of Vigla, Neapoli and Kratigos. All are equipped beaches, popular for its clear waters and beautiful natural environment around.

 Haramida

The Gulf of Charamida is located 10 kilometers outside from Mytilene, on the road after the airport. It is a beach with sand and pebbles. Along the beautiful coast there are many hotels, cafes, restaurants and facilities, which offer the visitors all modern amenities.

 St. Hermogenes

The beach of St. Ermogenis stands for the see-through turquoise waters and lush green landscape, with pine trees reaching down to the coast. In this idyllic landscape, visitors can enjoy swimming and find all the desired amenities in the small tourist facilities of the region. At the edge of the gulf and over a steep cliff, is the homonymous chapel of St. Ermogenis with its characteristic dome.

 Panagiouda – Palm Tree Beach

With its picturesque port Panagiouda, 6 kilometers outside of Mytilene, it is the predominantly coastal suburb of the city. In the coastal area just north of Panagiouda, is the palm tree beach. Next to the beautiful beach, there are palm trees, which gave the area the name ‘Palm tree’. It is a beach with sand and pebbles.