The island of Hephaestus
- Introduction -Geography of Lemnos
- The land and the natural environment
- Local products and wines of Lemnos
- Poliochni Prehistorical City
- Myrina Prehistorical City
- The prehistoric Koukonisi
- Hephaestus and Kabeiri
- Thoantas, Hipsipyle and the Argonauts
- The Pelasgians, the Athenians & the Hellenistic and Roman years
- The Byzantine era and the medieval years
- The Ottoman period and the Liberation
- Trip and Arrival
- Myrina and the castle
- The Archeological Museum of Lemnos
- The prehistoric and ancient Myrina
- Riha Nera and Kaspakas
- The beaches south of Myrina
- Kontias and Diapori
- Nea Koutali and the Museum of Naval Tradition
- Mineral Springs and Spa in Therma
- Katalakos, Gomati beach and the Dunes
- The isthmus of Lemnos and the sea of Kotsinas
- Moudros history, sights and beaches
- From Kaminia to Poliochni
- The ancient Hephaestia and the Kaveirio
- Beaches in the northeast and three lakes
The island of Hephaestus and Kaveiron.
Prehistoric settlements. Ancient cities and sanctuaries. Medieval castles and historic sites.
Hills and plains. Wheat, thyme and honey. Vineyards and wines.
Wetlands and dunes. Bays, coves and endless beaches.
Modern life and traditional colors.
Walks in Lemnos. Walks in Nature, History and Culture.
The geography of Lemnos
When you see Lemnos on the map you say ”it can’t be this, this is a butterfly”. Even a little irregular, since its birth. And you say the same thing from above, while reaching it by plane. A butterfly with its wings outstretched in the waters of the North Aegean. The left wing is quadrangle, the right rounded and elongated. An amazing place, weird, mined from volcanic activity over twenty million years, or maybe from the laboratory which was in her bowels by the god of fire Hephaestus.
Lemnos is located in the center of the North Aegean. South is Agios Efstratios, at the southeast Lesvos, east of the coast of Asia Minor, northeast of Imbros , below Samothrace and at the northwest the peninsula of Mount Athos. It is one of the biggest islands of Greece, the eighth in size, 476 square kilometers.
Her two wings, the almost quadrangle western section and the narrow eastern part are joined by an isthmus only 4km wide, and forms two large and beautiful bays. In the north, Golf Pournon and in the south Mundros Bay, one of the safest anchorages not only in the Aegean Sea but also in the Mediterranean.
The western section is , from north to south 22km long and to the east 25km. In the middle the island has a width of 26km. The length of its coastline reaches 258km. The coast to the mountainous northwestern part is rocky and steep. Almost everywhere else many capes, peninsulas, small and large bays with beautiful and great beaches, are formed. Near the coast and within its gulfs are many islands and islets.
The island’s airport is located at its central part. It is one of the largest in the Aegean Sea and it has the largest runaway from all the Greek airports. The main road network is in very good condition and serves throughout the width of the island. Junctions connect the villages and passable dirt roads are leading to less accessible beaches, although in some cases a jeep is necessary. Some beaches are the favorite places for campers who can freely set up their tent or caravan.
Since 2011, with the last administrative reform in Greece, Lemnos is a municipality with 32 villages. The capital and port is Myrina on the west coast.
Of a particular interest is the evolution of the population. In 1940 ,Lemnos had 23,842 inhabitants, in 1951 24,016, in 1971 17,367, and in 1991 it had 17,931. Since then, the population remains around 18,000 inhabitants. The population decline after WWII because of the emigration, leading many Greeks, especially from the islands and the northern Greece abroad, in search of a better fortune. It is the third time that Lemnos sees its people to emigrate.
The first time, during the Russo-Turkish war in 1768-1774. The conflict in 1770 between the Russians under Alexis Orlov and the Turks in Myrina lead many people to emigrate in Alexandria Egypt where they prosper and grow rich. The second time they follow the emigration flow from 1890 to 1910 in America. And the third time during the difficult postwar years, its Australia’s turn. Wherever they are, those who left, they never forget their homeland and help it at every opportunity.
Lemnos is a volcanic island. Geologic formations and fossils of trees in various parts, resemble the distant past of the birth of the Aegean Sea and its islands.
Most of the island is flat and treeless. The plains alternate with low hills from which only few of them are more than 300 meters height. Only the northwestern part is mountainous but there aren’t any high peaks on it. The highest point is Scopia or Vigla at a height of 470 meters
There aren’t any forests because of the logging in the old days, but also due to the strong winds of the North Aegean that blow often in the island. But there are other ecosystems that make up an exceptional natural environment, attractive to visitors but also valuable for the protection of fauna and flora. The dunes have a special interest particularly in the northwest coast, which are spread over a large area, while the wetlands of the islands form unique sheltersύ.
Thirteen wetlands covering 2,62% of the land offer protection to many species of birds that come here to spend the winter or to park on their migratory journeys. The major wetlands are located on the east side. There are three lakes, Aliki, Chortarolimni and Asprolimni. During the winter they are filled with water and during the summer they dry.
The system of the three lakes is included in the NATURA 2000 network of protection and offers shelter to thousand of birds.4.000 species been recorded, including some rare and endangered.
The wetlands of Lemnos are favorite sites of friends of the birds and attracts many who love to observe them (bird watching).
Extra interest is the flora of the island, enriched by many endemic species. There are prickly burnet, a kind of shrub with thorns, thyme, other herbs and above all the famous sea lilies, which we can admire, but not allowed to cut.
The soil of Lemnos gives from the old times a “material” with a great reputation as a medicine from the ancient times until the early 20th century. It is the famous “Lemnia Gi” clay that at the medieval times was called Terra sigilata.
”Lemnia Gi” once extracted and cleaned with special treatment becomes a drug that protects against poisoning. It is understood that this capacity made it an important gift to the aristocrats of the Western Europe where many conflicts were solved with dangerous ways. “Lemnos Earth” was turned even to sealed tablets.
Agriculture, farming and fisheries activities are always essential in Lemnos. The inhabitants of course as islanders have a great tradition in seafaring occupations and trade, while the modern evolution has led many in tourism and services.
The plains of Lemnos are dominated by cereals and vines, a traditional culture from the ancient years. There are other crops such as legumes, vegetables, sesame and others that contribute to the wonderful dishes of the local cuisine.
Cereals are always at the forefront. In ancient times when Lemnos was under the dominion of the Athenians , the island was the main grain feeder of Athens. Later, in the Byzantine years, Lemnos is the main source of the court of Byzantium. There are still mills to grind wheat and produce fine flour, from which except bread, pies, frumenty, flomaria and other delicacies are made.
The products of the local bakery are also famous. An important role in the pastry also plays the exceptional honey that the island has. The thyme grows almost everywhere and the beekeeping has its long tradition. We can find honey in many villages directly from the producers.
Another key product for the economy but also a staple food is cheese. In the pastures of the island is free diets goats is cheese which give not only tasty meats but also high-quality dairy products. The most famous cheese of Lemnos is the "white basket". So called because the milk coagulates in baskets made of rushes and "melichloro" made from sheep's milk, which after draining and formatting remains in shady dry areas, resulting its dehydration. Other cheeses also produced, fresh or hard, used accordingly in pies or pasta.
A great part of the local cuisine is based on fishery production. Lemnos has around and in the bays, many fishing grounds so fish and seafood are the basis for various dishes on the island's fish taverns , if someone is not content with fresh fish grilled.
The wines of Lemnos
Since the myth merges with the history and god Dionysus gives the knowledge of viticulture from island to island of the Aegean , Lemnos is famous for its wine. Viticulture comes in Lemnos with the first king Thoas, son of Dionysus and Ariadne. At the time the Achaeans besieged Troy, the king of Lemnos Evnios supply them with wine of the island and in exchange they give him copper from the centers of Asia Minor, as recounted by Homer. Hephaestia the great ancient city of Lemnos captures in currencies Dionysus or a brunch of grapes. The “Lemnia Vine” is so famous that it is mentioned by Aristophanes in his comedy "Irini" (Peace).
By the early 20th century in Lemnos varieties of black grapes are cultivated. The oldest variety of the island is “kalampaki” which gradually spreads elsewhere. In Halkidiki acquires the designation “Limnio”. In 1910, arrives at Lemnos the variety “Muscat of Alexandria” which gradually dominates the production, giving wines that are gaining reputation, especially the sweets and semi -sweet .The grapes get high alcoholic degrees thanks to the soil and the climatic conditions. The wines of Lemnos today, make up a large range. Produced excellent white wines Origin of Superior Quality (OPAP) and Appellation of Contralled Origin (AOC) -dry, semi- sweet and of course sweet and natural sweet, more and more coming from organic farming.
A distinct reputation nowadays have the dry wines,”Scent of Lemnos”, ”Lemnia Gi”, ”Lemnia Vines” and others. From the sweets, the famous “Muscat de Lemnos” and “Hephaestus Gnosi" (knowledge).
Also produced red and rose dry, as during the last years the old red varieties of Lemnos are used and also producing very good retsina.
There is a long tradition of producing ouzo and raki. The ouzo of Lemnos has years of great reputation and raki (tsipouro) is constantly gaining new friends. Besides from the traditional home production offered now standard on the market. The Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Lemnos features the wines in Myrina and the most famous wineries located in the settlements Karpasi, Pedino, Kaspakas, Atsiki, Kaminia and Agios Dimitrios.
In the islands of the North and Northeast Aegean great civilizations were developed, since the prehistoric times but usually our look turns to the south of Greece. Cyclades, Crete and later to the Mycenaean world. The art of metallurgy comes in the Greek area from Asia Minor and the Black Sea, passing through the North Aegean.
In Lemnos there is one of the oldest settlements in the Aegean Sea and the Greek peninsula. It’s the Poliochni, built on the east coast near the present village of Kaminia.
The prehistoric Poliochni is discovered in 1930 by the Italian Archaeological School of Athens. The excavations from 1931 to 1956 have revealed a settlement that was created the 4th millennium BC and flourished in the Early Bronze Age.
The findings indicate that it passes through successive residential and cultural phases throughout the 3rd millennium BC and after 2000 BC it declines. Archaeologists have identified seven architectural periods giving each the name of a color -Black, Blue, Green, Red, Yellow, Grey and Violet.
Poliochni is on the opposite side of Troy, which has been built one thousand years later. It seems that the two neighboring cultures create special relations and they follow parallel trends.
The settlement is surrounded by a wall. Houses have been revealed and squares, streets, pipes for rainwater and wells with built-in investment over 9 meters depth. These projects require joint effort which requires some organization and decisions of the society. Apparently so, in Poliochni have been constructed the famous"Voylefterion" (Chamber of deputies).
The parliament is an area with stone benches along with a step at its center destined for the speakers according to archaeologistis. It is considered the first ever site that shows the democratic organization of society.
Professor Santo Tine, director of the excavations in Poliochni has written that “the area was immediately called parliament taking as an example the buildings of the classical era that also had levels, which in contrast to the theatres and auditoriums were able to get a limited number of people: representatives of the community of citizens.
In Poliochni has also been discovered a treasure of gold jewelery, demonstrating its wealth. Today we can admire them in the National Archeological Museum in Athens. It has great similarities with the treasure of Priam that was discovered at Troy by Schliemann and probably came from the same laboratory.
In 2100BC, at the end of the Yellow period the settlement was destroyed by natural causes probably by an earthquake. The findings regarding the last two periods are very few and show that the installation was reduced significantly.
The second important prehistoric settlement has came to light in Lemnos is located on the west coast almost on the same line with Poliochni which is located on the east coast. Is prehistoric Myrina.
According to the findings, the first inhabitants settled at the end of the 4th millennium BC on a small peninsula. The settlement gradually spreads north to an area that is now called Richa Nera (Shallow Waters) where its center is located.
The archaeological excavations have revealed only a part of the settlement but even what we see today, impress us from the first moment and it’s even extend into the boundaries of the modern capital of the island. It is estimated that during its prime the settlement spreads over an area of 80 acres from the coast up to the district of Androni.
The houses, one after another have two or three rooms and roofs made of seaweed, mud and wood. Some older buildings have paved courtyard with a well, storage spaces with stone benches and an independent kitchen. Excavations have revealed eight buildings and a pottery workshop.
The findings show that people engaged in agriculture, farming, fishing and hunting. As the Bronze Age passes, specialization and appearance of craftsmen utilizing metals, clay, wood and stone, show up. At the same time the commercial exchanges develop.
Inside the houses were found jars for storing fruits and crapes, tripod cooking pots, stone mortars and grinders for grinding and bone, stone and bronze tools. They also found vases, figurines, cylinder seals, molds for making copper tools, clay toys like spinning tops, and a few silver and bronze coins.
All these are part of what is hidden beneath the modern city of Myrina, which is built in the same place. Where the prehistoric Myrina and afterwards the ancient Myrina, have left their traces in time.
Another prehistoric settlement of Lemnos is situated near the inlet of the Gulf of Mudros on a tiny islet, Koukonisi.
Koukonisi, the little island as the locals named it, is just above the village of Mudros. It has an area of 400 acres and altitude 10 meters. It is separated from the opposite eastern shore of the bay with shallow water, close to 400 meters wide, which often dries up and becomes muddy. The island is used for agricultural work and that's why has long been associated with the coast with an elevated paved road.
Two small bridges allow the seawater to pass from one side to the other. The low peak of the island is called Koukonos. A local legend says that in Koukonisi lived the Koukones, huge and fierce who didn't have relationships with the other inhabitants of Lemnos. At some point they were barricaded in their homes and never come out again, so they disappeared. Perhaps the source of the legend is to be, a tribe in Thrace, Cicones. According to Homer, Cicones were allies of Troy and according to Herodotus they were the first winegrowers in Thrace. It is known that tribes of Thrace were installed in the old days on Lemnos.
Often the farmers in Koukonisi while tilling the earth found stones from structures. There were also fragments of archaeological interest. In 1986-1987 a group of students from the school of Mudros collect many of those shells and take them to the Archaeological Museum of Lemnos. In October 1992, Christos Bouliotis, an archaeologist from Lemnos, begin to excavate. His efforts rewarded , as it comes to light an important prehistoric settlement.
The findings are mainly in Koukonisi in a highest ground. On both sides of a narrow road rectangular houses were built. Successive residential periods were detected. Some indications of the fortification wall and a drainage system would suggest that there was social organization.
The people were involved in agriculture, farmery and pottery, copper processing and other activities. They also had contacts with other regions as it is suggest by the findings of obsidian from Milos and vases from Minoan Crete and mainland Greece. Pottery from Thessaly shows that there are contacts with Minyans, which appear to have strong presence later in Lemnos.
Koukonisi was inhabited for the total duration of the Bronze Age and flourished in the Middle Age when Poliochni declines. Some findings, such as clay figurines testify the Mycenaeans precense. It is known that at the peak of the Mycenaean civilization after 1600BC, the Greeks establish trading posts on the Aegean islands consolidating their sea domination. Lemnos choose Poliochni and Hephaestia but seem to prefer Koukonisi for safer installation. Buildings of the Late Bronze Age have Mycenaean features. It is the season that brings the end of the settlement. An earthquake brings disaster.
Apart from Poliochni, Myrina and Koukonisi, prehistoric settlements have also been identified in other parts of Lemnos. Remains of settlements and other findings from the Bronze Age were found in Vryokastro and Trochalia near the village Kontias. Agkariones, Alexopyrgo near Kallithea village, Progomylo between the villages Atsiki and Dafni, in the small village of Kasteli on the north coast. In Kathares opposite of Koukonisi, in Komi near Chortarolimni and in Axia on the northeastern tip of Lemnos. Also in the great ancient city of Hephaestia.
Extremely important is the discovery of the Archaeology Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in the location Louri in the southeast tip of Lemnos. In 2009 traces of inhabitation have been detected dating from 12000BC.
Several findings demonstrate the presence of Lemnos in Minoan Crete and the Mycenae from the Middle Bronze Age and afterwards. The powerful of South Greece were seeking the old paths of copper in Black Sea and the legendary Colchis and Lemnos, as before with Poliochni, becomes an important station on those long trips.
As usual in those days, first of all is mythology that is required to explain past events or justify various acts. This is what happens when the Mycenaeans come to settle in Lemnos. Many different myths were created and like all myths, have their charm.
Lemnos is the island of Hephaestus. According to the myth he is the cause for the development of metalworking in the island. Hephaestus, the god of fire and metallurgy, is the son of Zeus and Hera although Hesiod considers that he was born only from Hera without conception. Born so ugly and deformed, that his own mother throws him out of Olympus. He falls into the sea and two goddesses Thetis and Eurynome save him and brought him up for nine years. For these two goddesses, he makes his first jewelry when he creates his first workshop in the depths of the Aegean. Hera becomes jealous seeing the jewels of Thetis. When Thetis tells her that it was her son that made them, retakes him to Olympus. She prepares for him a workshop with twenty bellows and gives him Venus for his wife. But as usual there is another version. Hephaestus sends his mother a splendid throne for a gift but when Hera sits on it she is trapped by invisible shackles and she’s forced to ask for his help. One way or another Hephaestus returns to Olympus, but at some point Zeus gets angry and throws him out again. This time he falls on Lemnos where Sintis, the first inhabitants, found him with his legs broken. They treat and host him and Lemnos becomes his favorite place. Handicapped now he makes his permanent lab in the volcano Moschylos and rewards the inhabitants by teaching them the art of metalworking. Normally the god of fire gave his name to the volcanos, while the Mycenaeans to honor him call Hephaestia, the city founded on the island.
Hephaestus has three sons with the nymph Kaveiro, the Kabeiri to whom he delegates the knowledge of his art. Kabeiri are deities of fire but also of the sea, the earth and fertility. They are also called Great Gods. In some cases they are associated with Zeus, Athena and Demetra. Some say they are three, others four and called Axiokersos, Axieros, Axiokersa and Kadmilos or Kasmilos. According to another version Hephaestus has a son with Kaveiro named Kadmilo which he had three sons, Kabeiri.
Their worship is considered to originate from pre-Hellenic or Pelasgian religion and is mystical and requires initiation probably because it started from a closed guild of metalworkers. It is typical that Kabeiri are represented with a hammer and a blacksmith’s clip. Their form , sometimes earthy, sometimes exotic depicted in different artworks. In Kaveiria mysteries Kabeiri aren’t called by their names but as great and powerful gods.
Lemnos is where their sanctuary is established. Kaveiria are located opposite to the Hephaestia, on the north coast of the northeastern part of the island. The Kaveiria mysteries are committed every year ,a celebration that lasts nine days and considered relevant to the rebirth of nature and fertility of earth. Besides from Lemnos, main focus of worship Kaveirion is Samothrace. Kaveiria mysteries also committed to Imbros, Thasos and the Thracian and Macedonian coasts. Initiates are most heroes of the Trojan War. Later on Kaveiria sanctuaries are located in mainland Greece, as in Boeotia and privy to the Kaveiria mysteries are members of the royal family of Macedonia. One of the most known mystics is Olympia, mother of Alexander the Great
As the introduction of metallurgy in Lemnos is connected to the mythology, so is the introduction of viticulture. Metallurgy is associated with the god of fire Hephaestus and viticulture with the god of wine Dionysus. Even indirectly in his case. The legend says that king Minos sends the ruler of Knossos Radamanthy to conquer the islands. After Cyclades the Cretans reach the North Aegean and Radamanthy offers Lemnos as a gift to his general, Thoas. Thoantas is the son of Dionysus and Ariadne. He teaches to the inhabitants of Lemnos the cultivation of the vine.
Myths however have several variations and another version says that Thoantas is the son of Theseus and Ariadne. It is also said that he has been born in Lemnos. In each case he becomes king and marries Myrina, daughter of the king of Iolkos, Kritheas. She gives her name to the town on the west coast of the island. Thoantas and Myrina have a daughter, Hipsipyle.
During the reign of Thoantas the women of Lemnos neglect to worship the goddess of love Aphrodite, so she imposes them the punishment of smelling bad. As a result the men replace them with women from Thrace. The women of Lemnos however take their revenge. One night they kill all the men according to the tradition, to cape Pentassos, north of Myrina. Only Thoantas escapes the slaughter. His daughter Hipsipyle saves him. He is disguised and she hides him in the temple of Dionysus. The next day takes him up to the sea. This time he is disguised as Dionysus on the ceremonial chariot of the god, pretending that he wants to clean his wooden statue from the bloodshed of the previous night. Thoantas leaves with a boat and reaches Sikinos, or as another version, Chios or Tavris.
Ipsipili becomes queen of Lemnos but the lack of men remains until the Argonauts appear. They stopped in Lemnos on their way to Colchis. They are allowed to land on the island provided that they will satisfy all the deprived women, regardless of age and appearance.
Argonauts leave many offspring, creating this way a new generation of residents. Hipsipyle and Jason have two sons, Evnio and Thoantas. Evnios will be king of Lemnos at the time of the Trojan War and supply with wine the Achaeans during the siege of Troy.
With the persistence of Hercules, the Argonauts continue their journey and again they stop at Lemnos on their way back. However eventually it is revealed that Hipsipyle has saved her father. She’s driven off the throne and sold to the pirates who in their turn sell her to king Lycurgus of Nemea. There, Hipsipyle becomes the nurse of his son and is later saved by the seven generals of Argos. Her fabulous adventure will inspire Euripides to write the title drama from which only a part will be discovered on papyrus.
The first inhabitants of Lemnos according to Homer are the Sinties, originating from Thrace. Then come the Carians,then the Minoan of Crete and then the Mycenaeans. After 1300BC the Minyans from Thessaly dominate.
The Pelasgians came to Northern Aegean from Attica, where they lived until then. They are the first who settled there in 6000 BC. The Athenians oblige them to leave and they settle in Lemnos, Samothrace and Imbros. Herodotus calls them Tyrinous believing that they have common ancestry with the Etruscans from Lydia in Asia Minor. Anyway, they are influenced in a great degree from the Greeks especially in religion and art.
Capital of the Pelasgians in Lemnos is Hephaestia. In Myrina they built a wall from which a part of it is distinguished today in the town’s castle. They are very good metalworkers but also sailors and merchants. They write with Greek characters in the Aioliki form, as shown by the famous “Column of Kaminia” found in the village Kaminia near Poliochni but also from fragments of inscriptions that have been found in Hephaestia and are the only written monuments of the Pelasgians. According to some researchers, in the inscriptions are words with Greek roots but the prevailing view is that the language has great affinity with the Etruscan.
Hephaestia is built on a peninsula on the north coast on the east side of Gulf Pournos and at both sides two bays are forming which make it an important port.
The city has come to light in the excavation of the Italian Archaeological School of Athens from 1926 to 1983. They discovered, among other things, a sanctuary dedicated to the Great Goddess Lemnos, and a theatre of the Hellenistic years. The area has been continuously inhabited from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine Era.
Herodotus tells that the Pelasgians wanting to get revenge on the Athenians, they raid on Vravrona when a festival goes on for the goddess Artemis, grab the Athenian maidens and bring them in Lemnos. But the children they have with them, the Athenian women grow up with Athenian traditions. Pelasgians get scared so they kill the children and their mothers.
This heinous act, from which it came the famous expression “Lemnia evil”, brings great suffering. Women can no longer have children, animals don’t give birth anymore and the earth is no longer fertile. The Pelasgians resort to Delphi wher they receive an oracle that they should do whatever the Athenians tell them to do. And of course the Athenias claim the island.
The Pelasgians tell to the Athenians that they will give it, if they sail in the same day from Athenian territory to Lemnos, traveling with north wind. It will happen, but it’ll take some years.
The Era of the Athenians
In 511 BC the Persians appear in Lemnos. They defeat the Pelasgians, plunder the island and impose Lycare to as a tyrant. But in 499 BC it comes time to verify the oracle of Delphi.
The Athenian Miltiades starts from the Athenian colony Elikounta in Thrace,sails with north wind which for him is tail-wind.And he reaches the same day in Lemnos.Miltiades requires the surrender of the island according to the oracle.In Hephaestus,tyrant Herms rules and he delivers the city but Myrina succumbing after a siege.
Archaeological discoveries at Myrina confirm that the Athenians wee here at the end of the Archaic Period. Generally during the Archaic period not only Myrina and Hephaestia are inhabited. Traces of small settlements in Koukonisi have been found near Moudros and Small Kastelli on the north coast near Gomati. They’ve also found small plant farms throughout the island.
In 494 BC the Persians revert. Conquer the island, making port installations in Hephaestia, Kaveiria, Small Kastelli in the northeast and install Greek adjacent friendly to them. During the Persian Wars, men of Lemnos are forced to follow the Persian fleet. But at the battle of Artemision, Antidoros from Lemnos integrates his ship to the Greek fleet and then takes part in the naval battle of Salamis.
The Persians staedy in Lemnos until their final defeat by the Greeks at Plataea and Mycale in 479 BC. The Athenians expel the Persian guard and install the first settler. Some of them, mainly from Myrina leave but Hephaestia accepts the Athenian domination in 477 BC. Lemnos becomes a member of the Delian League and participates in the expenses of the allied fleetυ.
The alliance doesn’t take long to become the First Alliance and an enforcement of the Athenian hegemony in the Greek area. From 450 BC there is Athenian guard in Lemnos and after 439 BC Athenian colonists from the poorer classes take farmland and live permanently in Lemnos.
They are chosen by lot and maintain Athenian citizenship. They set up two municipalities in Myrina and in Hephaestia. That is why Lemnos is often called Dipolis. Myrina and Hephaestia have administrative autonomy from the metropolis which however they remain closely linked. With their money it is created the statue of Athena Limnias in the Athenian Acropolis.
The Peloponnesian War in 431 BC, set Athens and Sprata as opponents and the two cities of Lemnos fought with the Athenians. In 405 BC after the Athenian defeat in Aegos Potamoi, the Spartans drove out the Athenians and dominate the island. But Athenians return in 396 BC because of the Antalkidean peace.
The older residents have slowly merged with the settlers and the two cities have been moving forward with institutions just like in Athens. From the 4th century the Assembly of the Municipality is working, while envoys of Athens engaged in the public offices of curator, null and general. The curator monitors the commercial transactions. Null is responsible for defense and order and the generals protects the Athenian hegemony.
This period emerge important intellectuals and artists, as the sophist Antilochos who quarrels with Socrates, Glaucus the manufacturer of statues. He is considered the inventor of the adhesion of iron. And of course the sculptor Alkamenes, studentl of Phidias with masterpieces such as the western pediment of the temple of Zeus at Olympia, statues of Mars, Dionysus and Hecate in Athens and many others.
The two cities thrive and cut their own currencies which use from the early 4th century BC and will continue to use until the 1st century AD. For some seasons they have a common currency.
In the Classical Era Hephaestia and Myrina are the centers of life. Findings indicate that there are few facilities of farmers in Gomati on the north coast, in Progomylo in the valley of the western part of the island and mainly in the eastern part, in Komi, Kaliopi and Panagia northeast and Kaminia and Paracheiri southeast.
The Hellenistic and Roman years
The Classical Era ends as the Macedonians come to the forefront. In 353 BC they occupy Lemnos but they return it back to the Athenians. In the 4th and 3rd century BC the island have been repeatedly raid and knows various rulers. This is the time where is great turmoil following the death of Alexander the Great and the wars of his successors. Meanwhile in the west a new power is emerging, Rome.
The Macedonians return with Cassander in 318 BC and Antigonos the 1st in 315 BC. Demetrios the Falireus tries to retake Lemnos on behalf of the Athenians but fails and plunder. The Athenians return in 301 and the Macedonians in 294. In 285 Lemnos was conquered by the king Lysimachus of Thrace, who governs tyrannically. In 281 the king of Syria Nikator the 1st arrives. He is been accepted with relief as well as his successor Antiochus. People even built temples in their honor.
The Macedonians dominate again in 266 by Antigonos and remain until the defeat of Philip V by Flaminius and his Roman legions in 197 in Kynos Kefales. For a period of time around 230 the Ptolemies of Egypt have appeared who spread at this time in the Aegean. And in 290 a Roman fleet and Attalus of Pergamum plunder the island.
After his victory, Flaminius proclaims in 196 at the Isthmus of Corinth, the freedom of the Greek cities. So Lemnos becomes autonomous with Roman Guard. The Romans granted it to the Macedonians in 188. However the 3rd Macedonian War bursts in 171-168 and brings the defeat of Perseas and the end of the kingdom of Andigonides. The Romans granted the administration of Lemnos to Athens in 166.
During the Hellenistic period, Hephaestia and Myrina remains the centers of life maintaining their acme. Lemnos is inhabited almost exclusively by farmers. In the western part, traces of facilities have been found . At the eastern part at in Kotsinosn, Moschylo, Repanidi, Moudros, Panagia, Paracheiri and Velanidia. The findings of the Roman era are fewer. In the spotlight remain Hephaestia, the sanctuary in Kaveirio and Myrina.
The new Athenian period lasts until the end of the 2nd century AD, when Lemnos becomes self-administered by the Roman Emperor, Severus Septimius. The Roman era is a period of peace and cultural growth. In 167,the physician Galinos visits Myrina. He even extols the healing properties of "Limnia earth".
This period three sophists emerge, orators and teachers of the same family.
The first Byzantine era
In 330AD history changing course. The Emperor Constantine inaugurates Constantinople, the new capitol of the Roman Empire and Christianity becomes the official religion. In 395 the Empire is divided into east and west. The islands of the Aegean are a mere province of the Eastern Roman Empire.
In Lemnos the center of life is still Hephaestia. Houses and churches testify to this day the importance of the city the first centuries of the Byzantine era.
Later the empire is divided administratively into regions called Themes. In the early 8th century, Lemnos belongs administrative to the Theme of Kivyraioton, which takes its name from the city Kivyra of Asia Minor. In the same Theme are the coastal region of Hellespont and Propodis, the other islands of the northern Aegean and the Cyclades.
It is the time that the pirate raids intensifying at the Aegean, particularly by the Arabs Saracens who conquered Crete in 821. In 900 arrives at Lemnos the notorious pirate Leon Tripolitis, the so-called El Zourafa, and plunder. But in 924 the Byzantine admiral Ioannis Radinos destroys the pirates and the islands from their threat.
During the reign of Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (913-959) there is a new administrative reform and is created the Theme of Aegean. In this part belong only Lemnos, Lesvos, Chios, the Cyclades and the Spopades island complexes.
Hephaestia has the first role in the life of the island and is the main port, because it is closer to the coast of Thrace and Constantinople. It begins, however to decline as a port as the port facilities are destroyed by the silting. In 1200 is deserted, while a little further west in the gulf Pournos, Kotsinas is being developed.
The port of Kotsinas is mentioned for the first time in 1136 with the Latin name Cocini. Perhaps, because the activity begins when the bishop of Lemnos Michael, provides to the Venetian priest of St.Markus of Constantinople the small church St.Vlasios near Kotsina, so that the Venetian merchants and sailors who live in the area can perform their religious duties.
Moreover in the early 12th century is built in Myrina a castle in the fortified peninsula with bays on both sides. In 1185 Emperor Andronicus A Komnenus strengthens the fortifications by using what is remained of the ancient acropolis of the city.
The medieval years
In 1203 the crusaders of the 4th crusade and the Venetians who were transported by them with their ships, instead of going to the Holy Lands, they came up in Constantinople. In 1204 they conquered the capital, founded an empire called it Romania and divide it between them. The Byzantines are limited in Asia Minor creating the empire of Nice, while in northwestern Greece the dominion of Epirus is established. In the rest of Greece begins the era of the Frank occupation while the Venetians spread to the islands and coasts of the Aegean.
In 1207 the Venetians arrive in Lemnos. First duke is Filokalo Navigajoso who arranges immediately to make fortifications throughout the island and begins to give to the castle of Myrina the form it has today. In 1214 he was succeeded by his son Leonardo. He inherits the castle sharing the island in two part with his brothers.
From this time on Myrina becames more important. Leonardo complet the constructions in the castle which is now referred as Palaiokastro to distinguish it from the new castle that is being built in Kotsinas, seat of the manor Foskari Navigajozo. The population in Kotsinas increases and Hephaestia is abandoned. The only thing to remind it is the name Palepolis.
In 1261 the Byzantines drove away the Franks of Constantinople and the empire retakes its road, although weak. The Frankish principalities remain in mainland Greece and the Dukats of Venice on the coast and islands.
In 1275 Emperor Michael VII Palaiologos starts the battle to retake the islands. His fleet reoccupies Sporades, a lot of the islands in Cyclades and in 1277 Lemnos.
The new Byzantine era begin their lives many of the present villages of Lemnos as dependencies of monasteries of Mount Athos. The monasteries obtain land usually as donations by Byzantine officials. They confirm their property with the Emperor’s golden bulls and find farmers. These form the original settlements.
Today villages that have Byzantine origins are Moudros, Platy, Kontopouli, Kontias, Katalakkos, Kaspakas and Repanidi.
For the next thirty years Lemnos is constantly changing dominant. In 1456 the Othomans arrive. And in 1463 takes ownership the landowner George Palaiologos. In 1464 he sells Lemnos to the Venetians who came led by Lorentano and find three strong castles in Kotsinas, Palaiokastro and Moudros.
In 1470 Mahmoud Pasha attacked with 300 ships and 70.000 men. He is been repelled but Lemnos suffers a major disaster. Another attack follows in 1478 by Suleiman Pasha who besieges Kotsinas. It is then, that the legend of Maroula was born. When her father killed, Maroula grabs his sword and rushes against the enemies animating the besieged who fight back and resolve the siege. The legend will later arrive in Western Europe and inspire many writers till the more recent years. Nowadays a bronze statue of the heroine in Kotsinas reminds us of her.
After all that, the Venetians although in 1477 repair the fortifications around the island, they deliver Lemnos in January 1479 to the Ottomans.
The Ottoman period
The Venetians fleet in 1479 along with many Latin people leave. As a result Myrina and Kotsinas look like desolate cities. The Ottoman settle a guard in the castle of Myrina with the families of the soldiers and transport the residents of Moore Hisar, the castle located at Cape Plaka in the northeastern tip of the island. After a few years the Orthodox bishop settles in Myrina, who since that time was in a monastery near Livadochori village.
Over the next two centuries, Myrina lies in the valley below the castle. Alongside Kotsinas is been developed around its castle. The trade have been in a constant move. In the port live together Greeks, Ottomans, Venetians and Jews. But there are also a lot of travelers. It is the era that many people of the Western Europe travel in Greece, visiting the islands and publish their impressions. Many descriptions, information and maps are due to these adventurous travelers.
In 1656 the Venetians return. Temporarily until 1657 but long enough to meet another adventure. In July 1656 occupy the “Emporion” of Myrina and the hill with the windmills across the castle where they set cannons. The Ottomans are closed in the fort along with many Greeks but after a few days they surrender.
The Ottomans return the next year and conquer the castle after a siege of 63 days. Many Greeks who have defended the castle were also killed. The Turks kill as an example some Christians who took the part of the Venetians and send 500 men rowing in the galleys. By 1695 in Myrina live 1500 women and only 400 men.
Adverse are the consequences for Kotsinas too. When leaving , the Venetians destroy the fortifications and among them the castle of Kotsinas. The residents no longer feel safe and begin to leave the village while gradually the facilities of the port are destroyed.
On the contrary, Myrina rediscovers its rhythm. It develops residential and the population increases. Greeks, Turks and traders from other nationalities live there. The castle and the city merged and in 1739 is the first time the town is mentioned with the name Kastro (Castle). It will continue to be called this way until 1955.Then it will be named officially Myrina. But today a lot of people still call it Kastro.
In those years the population is 800 families, half Greeks, half Turkish. The Greeks engaged in shipping and trade. Some kind of trade association also exists and a school is been founded.
In the inventories of the 19th century the families of the Christians are 400-450. They have already been developed the neighborhoods of the two communities. The Turkish district is located in the bay south of the castle, the Turkikos Yialos. And the Greek district in the bay north of the castle, the Romeikos Yialos.
In 1768 a war between Russia and Turkey has started. In early 1770 a Russian fleet under the Orloff brothers arrives in South Peloponnese giving the signal to the Greeks to revolt. The revolution known as the “Orlofika” quickly fails and Alexios Orloff sails out in the Aegean Sea. In early July he defeats the Turkish fleet at the narrow of Chios-Cesme and dominates at sea until the war ends in 1774.
In 1770 he reaches Lemnos where he besieges the castle for three months. The time to surrender is approaching when Hasan Pasha Tzetzaerli arrives with 3000 soldiers and chases the Russians. Retaliations are hard. The wrath of the Turks turns to the Greek district. The Cathedral of Holy Trinity is destroyed. The bishop, the school teacher and 300 elders and priests were hanged.
But life regains its rhythm. The school operates again and the cathedral is been rebuilt. There are two shipyards and the port develops. In 1801, the residents work together to built the dock. In 1858 a stone breakwater is manufactured. And in 1904 there is a waterfront and a second pier.
From the mid 19th century, Kastro is the administrative, economic and educational center of Lemnos and gradually others schools operate. In 1856-1866 is being built the present cathedral. The stone tower will be built in 1910.
In 1874 the Christians in Myrina are 4000 and the Turks 800. 75 of them are the guardians of the castle. By the late 19th century the city gets a cosmopolitan appearance as wealthy owners and expatriates from Alexandria build in Romeikos Yialos, wonderful noble houses with neoclassical characteristics. In Myrina operate consulates of Greece, England and Holland.
In October 1912 the First Balkan War bursts. Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Montenegro join forces against the Ottoman Empire. On shore the Greek army advanced towards Salonica, the Greek maritime fleet under admiral Kountouriotis with flagship the legendary battleship "Averof" begins the battle for supremacy in the Aegean. Their first objective is the bay of Mundros, the best anchorage in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.
In 6-8 October the Greek fleet disembarked. Near Diapori in the coast Vourlidia in the middle of the west coast of the bay of Mundros, the residents from the nearby villages Kontias and Tsimandria welcome the Greek soldiers and guide them towards the interior of the island. On November 8 Lemnos is free and the gulf of Mundros is the base of the Greek fleet from where liberates the other islands one by one.
On January 5,1913 the Greek and the Turkish fleet facing each other near the southeastern tip of the island. The Naval battle of Lemnos is the second and the last one of the war. The Greek fleet prevails and dominates in the Aegean Sea contributing decisively to the final victory.
Shortly afterwards on January 24, two bold Greek officers, Moutousis and Moraitinis enter the seaplane "Nautilus" and take off from the waters of Mudros. They fly in the Nagara naval station where they scout and bombard the Turkish fleet. It is the first military action from air and sea in the world history. The bay of Mundros comes to the fore in the First World War during the Entente's campaign in 1915 to gain control of the Straits of Dardanelles. Dozens of English and French warships ambush in the gulf and dash out against Gallipoli. The allies abandon their objective on January 9, 1916 by counting many dead mostly Australians and New Zealanders who are buried in the British cemetery of Mundros.
The bay of Mudros is recorded once again in the world history on October 30,1818. In the English battleship "Agamemnon» is signed by the English admiral Calthorpe, attorney of the allies and the representatives of the Sultan, the Treaty of Mundros-or Truce of Mundros- which marks the capitulation of the Ottoman Empire.
After the Greek-Turkish war of 1919-1922 and the Greek defeat in Asia Minor, waves of refugees arrive in Greece. Of the 4000 and more refugees arriving in Lemnos, 1350 of them installed in Myrina in the houses of the Turkish district and new homes are built south of the Turkikos Yialos. The district is called New Madytos but in everyday language everyone calls it Maitiana. Refugees also settled in New Koutali and Agios Dimitrios.
Life goes on and in 1955 the Castle, the capital city is called Myrinaion Municipality. Many however still call it Castle. Lemnos and throughout Greece is affected by immigration in the 1960's. But Lemnos gradually increases again its population, maintain its style, highlights the qualities that have been given to the island by nature and history. And just like with the old travelers offers this nice trip to the new ones of the 21st century.
By boat or plane?
Apart from personal preferences, this dilemma for the most has a theoretical and a practical side.
If you travel by plane, you can reach from the top and admire what we see on the map. A "butterfly" spreading out its wings outstretched in the waters of the North Aegean. The almost square west "wing" and the elongated curved eastern "wing" - the west and east of the island - joined at the waist with an isthmus four kilometers long. We admire also the two large bays, the Gulf Pournos north of the Isthmus and Gulf of Mudros south, and the other bays with great beaches that adorn the coast of Lemnos.
There is no doubt that the sight compensates, as supplemented by the scattered settlements between hills and plains of grain and vineyards.
The practical side is obvious. We arrive very quickly, but we don’t have with us a car to drive or some other means to discover the island. However, we can rent.
Anyway, there are two daily routes of Olympic Airlines from Athens and six services a week from Thessaloniki. Also, five voyages a week, linked Lemnos with Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Rhodes.
The airport is located in the heart of Lemnos, on the west side of the isthmus that connects the two parts, near the end of the bay of Mudros. It has the largest runway in Greece.
If you prefer the ship, the theoretical side has to do with the sea. If you go from Lavrion port in the southeastern tip of Attica, you leave behind Evia and sail the open sea knowing a different Aegean. In Central and Southern Aegean islands are one after the other. In North Aegean sea and open horizon. The first single island before Lemnos is.
The practical side? We can take our car, the bike or our caravan us. And the "load" depending on the type of holiday we have decided.
From Lavrion are three sailings per week. The trip takes almost ten hours. Every Monday and Wednesday, the ship departs at 8:00 p.m. and arrives at Myrina about six o'clock in the morning. Every Friday leaves one o'clock and ends at around 11:00 pm. The ship route is Agios Efstratios, Lemnos then Kavala, from which it returns by the reverse route ending at Lavrion port.
Lemnos has also coastal connection with Thessaloniki and Kavala. But all this are always under the possibility of changes or adding new routes and it is good to be informed promptly.
The day dawns. Before us the coast of the southwestern part of Lemnos. The sun has just been painted red the open horizon, union of sky and sea and climbs brightening more and more. Intense land that swims in the waters of the North Aegean.
We departed from Lavrion port Monday night at eight and a half hours and we left behind Agios Efstratios, the closest companion of Lemnos in the sea. The ship passes Cape Tigani, the southwestern edge, and continues north to the right having the west coast. The sea plunging deep into the land. It's the Platy Bay. At the edge of a small peninsula, which closes the north, two islands, then two successively smaller bays. And thent the castle.
The first thing you see from that distance. Built in the fortified peninsula that goes as wide elevated platform at sea. The height reaches 120 meters. If you arrive at night, again it’s the castle, with its lights. Stands as host reminding visitors that they are in an area with a great history.
The peninsula separates the castle district of the capital in two bays. The first bay south of the castle is smaller and more closed. Here is the port. During the Ottoman era was named Turkikos Yialos. Now simply called the Port. The other bay north of the castle is greater with wider opening. Is Romeikos Yialos. The cosmopolitan part of town.
The ship ties up and the port comes alive. As each island’s port, the arrival of a ship, especially in summer, it is real. It is the continuation of life, but also something new. Young travelers, young visitors and old friends come back, as we do. Myrina is ready to welcome us and show us the way to discover the island.
Walking in Myrina
The port is located on the north side of the bay, or, to put it otherwise, in the south of the peninsula plefraakti the castle. On the other hand, the port for small vessels. Picturesque and quiet. All around taverns.
Behind the peninsula of the castle at the heart of Myrina, the market. We walk slowly and enjoy the traditional atmosphere. The main shopping street, a clean and renovated pedestrian street. Besides the possibility a buying and offers a nice walk around. Stores left and right, here and there. Places for coffee, or, depending on the time and mood of the moment, raki or ouzo.
We conitune by entering the quaint cobbled streets on the other side of the peninsula of the castle. We are in the neighborhood of Romeikos Yialos. It has been proclaimed preservable. Here dominate the mansions that have been built in the late 19th century by wealthy owners and wealthy expatriates from Alexandria. Big neoclassical villas which give a cosmopolitan character. Other mansions are now guest houses with rooms. Other continue to be maintained and their owners welcome the summer season. Others are closed awaiting new owners.
We go to the beach. Magical images. Romeikos Yialos from the peninsula of the castle to the north edge of Richa Nera bay. In front of us the beach. And the sea calm as if she knows we will come.
All around restaurants, cafe, pastry shops. The first thought that comes is that there is a lot of space. We can enjoy our food, our coffee or drink comfortably and quietly. We are lucky for one more reason. As the horizon is clear, our glance travels from the opening of the bay to the sea to the peninsula of Athos northwest.
A quick rest and on our way. We have a lot to see. Just take a look at the history of Lemnos and Myrina. And before everything else, here on our left, on the southern edge of Romeikos Yialos, the Castle.
The castle of Myrina
The castle is the first we see arriving in Myrina and what we see it frequently wherever we are around. The peninsula which has been built overlooking the area from a height of 120 meters, a natural fortress in itself. The fortifications of the slopes toward the top reminiscent of the protection offered by the city for centuries.
The castle is developed in an area of 144 acres. The main gate is located on the east side. South of the preserved remains are parts of wall built by the ancient Pelasgians. A smaller entrance is on the north side, near the coast. We can visit it freely, but we must know the story, because there is no possibility for a tour.
We go up and each step takes us to medieval times. But we are not alone. The castle is inhabited today. By deer. Yes, deer. Move freely, poping here and there, calm, cute, cool notes under the Aegean sun that illuminates and warms the old ruins. The first deer have been brought from Rhodes in the 70's. Over the years the population have reached one hundred.
The castle has a triple wall with a height of eight meters, one and a half meter thick and fourteen towers. During its glorious era, on the east side to the inner city was protected by a deep moat.
We walk among the ruins careful walking the streets because they slip a little. Most buildings are from the Ottoman era. Management buildings, barracks for the guards and water tanks. Passing under the arcades, walking around the fortifications, overlooking the open sea, we remember its story.
This is considered to have built the first citadel in 1200 - 1300 BC, a period which the ancient Myrina was established. The medieval castle begins to be built in the late Byzantine era in the early 12th century. In 1186 Emperor Andronicos Komnenos strengthens fortifications using as material remains of the ancient citadel. From this original castle survived very little residue.
The castle takes its present form by the Venetians, who dominated the Aegean from 1207. The first Duke of Lemnos Filokalo Navigagiozo the repairs it and his son Leonardo completes the work. More repairs and improvements. In 1361 the emperor Ioannis V Palaeologos, in 1477 by the Venetian Francesco Paskaligo and late 16th century by the Ottomans. In 1780 after extensiver repairs the castle has 150 cannons.
We walk among the ruins and fortifications and hear the sounds of siege. Byzantines and Venetians, Turks and Venetians, Turks and Alexis Orloff’s Russians. From the top, the sea stretches as far as it reaches the eye. Below Myrina our smiles us, traditional and beautiful. From on side the Port, on the other Romeikos Yialos.
A walk in the neighborhood of Romeikos Yialos beyond recreation offers us the possibility for cultural pursuits.
First stop at the Archaeological Museum of Lemnos, a stop to island's history. Ahead of us a wonderful renovated building, surrounded by greenery. Is the building that housed the headquarters during the Turkish Ottoman era.
The building and the archaeological treasures have been through many adventures, especially during the Second World War. The finds from excavations in Hephaestia and Kaveirio the period 1926 - 1936, found in homes in Kontopouli and Kaminia, carried by the archaeologists of the Italian Archaeological School of Athens. During the German occupation many of them left in the yard. During the war the archaeological discoveries of the island transported for storage at the Museum of Mytilene and the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.
The building, which has suffered many disasters, repaired from 1956 to 1959 and the archaeological findings return to Lemnos in 1961, when everything is ready. In the museum there are finds from the excavations of the Italian Archaeological School in Poliochni, Hephaestia and Kaveirio, the finds from the excavations of 20th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in Myrina and exhibits throughout the island of Lemnos, donations from private collections and findings in Imbros, which had been sent by Bishop Ioakim to Athens just before Asia Minor catastrophe.
We pass the external door and we are in a garden with palm trees, rosemary and roses. A beautiful reception. It becomes even more beautiful when in the surrounding area we see architectural inscriptions and large jars from prehistoric Poliochni.
By entering the museum, we immediately understand the effort, knowledge and inspiration that are necessary to present archaeological exhibits in a building constructed for another season not a museum. From room to room we can follow the history of Lemnos from the Final Neolithic and Bronze Age to the Hellenistic and Roman times. Our assistant are explanatory text panels accompanying exhibits, maps, drawings, illuminated slides and photographs of the excavations.
The ground floor hosts prehistoric Lemnos. In three rooms findings from Poliochni, Myrina, objects across Lemnos and Mycenaean pottery from Koukonisi islet..
The ground floor hosts heavier objects. In one room we see sculptures, inscriptions and reliefs from Lemnos and in another room tombstones of the Hellenistic and Roman periods from Lemnos and Imbros.
We climb to the first floor. A wooden floor. Here are five distinct rooms. The first has findings from the 8th to the 6th century BC Findings from Kaveirio and Hephaestia. At another room, findings from Myrina and the Temple of Artemis north of Myrina.
The next room is about the classical era. Attic pottery and other findings from the Athenian era of the island. Then the Hellenistic period. Findings from Kaveirio and pottery workshops of Hephaestia and Myrina. Wheels, dies relief vases and figurines, various vessels. There are also inscriptions of the Roman era.
The fifth room has a special environment conditions. The findings demonstrated separately for security and maintenance reasons. Here we see bone and metal objects, tools, jewelry and coins.
We continue our walk to Romeikos Yialos. And here's the surprise. A city within a city. Or more accurately, a city beneath the city, since Myrina is built in the same position with the prehistoric and ancient Myrina.
Before us lies the prehistoric Myrina. More precisely still, a part of it. Since only a portion of the prehistoric settlement has come to light. The settlement covers the northern part of the city from the hill of the Army Officers Club ending at a low hill near the beach Riha Nera.
At the entrance is formed a welcoming reception area for relaxation and coolness. We enter and the archaeologist who is here welcomes us and smiling. There are no other guests. He leads us to a room with a large topology model in the middle. It’s represented throughout the prehistoric settlement in accordance with the findings that have been discovered so far. The first people settled in the area at the end of the fourth millennium BC. The settlement developed in the Early Bronze Age. In its peak stretches over an area of 80 acres.
Having an idea of the extent of prehistoric Myrina we proceed to the site. The impress us. Admiration for what we see and for the job done by the archaeologists. Ahead of us an area with dense structure. The foundations of build one after another to make you think that something will move in the streets.
We remain the only guests and the hospitable archaeologist keep explaining what we see. How the houses and larger buildings were built, where are the gardens and wells, which are the storehouses. One of the older buildings is the pottery workshop. All our findings are reminiscent of the settlement that we have seen in the Archaeological Museum.
Around the site life goes on and the thought comes spontaneously. What else really lies beneath the modern city? Not only from the prehistoric settlement but also from ancient Myrina.
Recent investigations have revealed findings about life in Myrina after the 8th century BC Apart from the objects we have admire in the museum, archaeologists have uncovered pottery workshops of the 7th and 6th BC century.
The archaeologists estimate that Myrina of the archaic period covers a wide area from the hill of Tsas to the peninsula of the castle, where lie the remains of the Pelasgian walls, and from there up the hill of the Army Officers Club. The few remnants of the classical period that have been found till now, show that classical Myrina lies approximately in the same area today. The main city lies at the foot of the peninsula of the castle overlooking the harbor.
Other findings suggest that Myrina remains at the edge during the Hellenistic and Roman times. In Hill Tsas they discovered pottery of the Hellenistic period. To the east of the town have discovered cemetery of Roman and in a private land near the harbor, a wall with a drainage system with clay pipes, a large part of a technical project of the era.
The most important discovery, however, of the ancient Myrina is located outside the city, north, the region of Avlona. It’s our next destination.
From Riha Nera to the Temple of Artemis
In Myrina we can enjoy the sea and swim to the beaches of Romeikos and Riha Nera that stretches to the north side of the bay. Wonderful beaches, clean water and recreation. The beach is considered the most secular of the island. Bars give the tone and there are opportunities for water sports.
Over Riha Nera a penisula closes from the north bay ending at Cape Petasos. Here, according to tradition, during the kingdom of King Thoantas, the women of Lemnos killed their men, when, after the punishment of Venus (the women smell bad), they replace them with women from Thrace.
On the south side of the beach is a hotel complex. We are moving in the open space to the interior of the coast and stay amazed. An archaeological site lies before us. The temple of Artemis, the sacred site of ancient Myrina.
The sanctuary has come to light during the construction of the hotel. The excavation was done at the expense of the owner of the land and reveals a complex with arched buildings, built in successive stages. For the construction were used beach pebbles and pieces of rocks.
The principal place of worship in the altar is in the center of the outdoors and this is explained by the fact that Artemis in Lemnos is worshiped as the moon, as a celestial deity.
On the sides of the central paved area there are rooms for worship and surrounding blocks for the accommodation of visitors and auxiliary rooms. The sanctuary is surrounded by a double wall. On the northwest side is an oblong room with benches, as in Kaveiria. It belongs to the Hellenistic Age and is likely a gathering area for the initiation of the faithful.
They have been a sacrificed young bull, bull figurines, vases, coins and other artifacts from the 7th century BC by the end of the Hellenistic period. All these we have seen in the Archaeological Museum.
The sanctuary is directly connected with the cult of Artemis at Vravrona of Attica, from where the Pelasgians took the virgin women and took them in Lemnos to get revenge on the Athenians who have exiled them.
From Myrina we take the road to the village of Kaspakas, up north. We cross the peninsula and in front of us the view of Kaspakas bay. The first cove immediately after the peninsula is the beach of Avlona. Another nice beach to swim and drink a coffe or refreshment.
Kaspakas and the beach of Ai Giannis
Towards the village of Kaspakas, north of Myrina. After the beach of Avlona, the road follows the western foot of the hill of Saint Athanasius with a top of the 333 meters. Several turns and then right at the northern foot of the hill. Suddenly appear in front of us houses, hidden if the slope.
Kaspakas, one of the most picturesque villages of Lemnos, famous for its sweets. Located at an altitude of 100 meters in front of him lies a beautiful valley full of almond and fig trees. Reaches the west coast where inviting beaches are formed.
Kaspakas has a Byzantine origin. Its name is said to come from the Byzantine admiral Kaspaka, who in the reign of Emperor Alexios Komnenos, was victorious against the fleet of Seljuk Turks.
Kaspakas initially created in a nearby palce call Pyrgos, where there is a medieval castle, but with no water. That's why people move to Paliomylos hill at the foot of St. Athanasius, with its many waters.
In Kaspakas there is great tradition in producing sweets. Wonderful honey, almonds and figs. Pasta ia also another famous prodcut of Kaspakas.
Time to get down to the sea in the bay os Kaspakas. First we encounter the beach of Kaspakas and after a beach north, Agios Ioannis beach.
It is one of the most beautiful areas. Strange rock formations, called "Kaspakas's Meteora" a pebble and sandy beach, with sun umbrellas, deck chairs. A beach were the water is exceptionally transparent. The chapel of Agios Ioannis on a rock. Beneath the rock a coffee bar, landscaped with green. Next is a tavern. On the south side, a harbor for small boats.
North, after a small peninsula, a small cove with a nice beach and a coffee bar higher. Above, on a peninsula that closes the bay of Kaspakas, the Prophet Elias small church. On the other hand, the beach Karvounolakos. For those who love secluded corners. Rooms offer facilities for accommodation and taverns provide good food.
South of Myrina to the southwest tip of Lemnos and across the south coast of the western section, the coastline extends to successive small and large bays. In most inviting beaches await us.
The area, more and more developed, offers all possibilities for accommodation and recreation. Near the coasts are nice villages with history and tradition, distinguished by the stone houses, local museums, churches and remnants of another era.
Our first stop Platy village. At 3.5 km from Myrina, situated on the homonymous cove on the south side of the west coast. The bay is closed north from Cape Diavatis and south of a peninsula that ends at Cape Tigani, the southwestern tip of Lemnos.
Platy is built at an altitude of 60 meters and has wonderful view of the peninsula of Athos. Originally was located closer to the sea and had fewer houses. But shortly transferred to the hill for safety. The origin is Byzantine.
Postwar Platy, like other villages, affected by immigration. The population is declining, but tourism development has given new impetus.
The walk takes us to the church of St. George, which was built in 1857 as a basilica. We admire the wooden temple with frescoes. Completing the ride, we arrive at a beautiful square with bars and cafe for ouzo.
We head to the beach. The road through the village is close enough so it's usually best to get the new route, if we're already in the village, and from there head to the bay.
From one to the other side, lies a wonderful sandy beach, organized, with opportunities for water sports. It is one of the most beautiful and most famous beaches and is always moving and lively. Not only because Myrina is very close, but because the entire surrounding area is developed for tourism, hotels and other tourist points. Near the coast operates a big hotel, Lemnos Village. Renowned are the fish taverns near the beach.
On the south side is the harbor of the bay. The bay is a safe port and the port is considered to maps of 16th and 17th century one of the four main ports of the island. The Ottoman era called Pasha - Port. In 1770 landed here Hasan Pasha with his men and goes in Myrina to confront the Russians to Alexis Orloff, who besiege the city.
On the left is the entrance to the hotel, the asphalt ends and dirt road goes right. If we choose this path will lead us to one of the most beautiful beaches of the southwest of Lemnos, Plagisios Molos.
Southeast of Plati, the road brings us to Thanos, built at an altitude of 50 meters at the foot of the hill Kofinas. Farther north, the hill Kakkavos, there is the old church of Panagia Kakkaviotissas. For lovers of walking three kilometers away from the road.
South of the village at the head of a small bay lies the beach, very nice and welcoming. This is also the favorite beaches and is the centerpiece of a tourist organized area. There are rooms, restaurants, cafes and bars.
The road continues east from Thanos passing near the coast in the Bay of St. Paul. Here is another wonderful beach with fine sand, Nevgatis. Another preferable stop for tourists. Spans two kilometers and around taverns, bars and rooms for rent.
The traditional village of Kontias
After Nevgatis beach the road turns north and then northeast. Leads to Kontias, for many the most beautiful village of Lemnos. The South Bay is near, oblong, tucked deep in the land.
At the entrance of the village we been welcomed from two stone windmills. Preamble to the traditional atmosphere of the village. A strong feeling passing for the first time in front of stone houses, most renovated. Many old mansions belong to wealthy ship owners.
Kontias is one of the villages of Lemnos with Byzantine origin. Starts as property of the monastery of Great Lavra on Mount Athos. Inventory of single document for the period 1316 - 1329 states the "Palaiokastellon Condé." In 1346 the monks promise to rebuild a ruined castle and to provide establishment for the residents in exchange for farm land. The glebe is land and vineyards and coast Ekvatis, now called Evgatis or Nevgatis. The settlement starts around the castle located on a hill near St. Athanasius, as shown by the fortifications and tank residues.
Travelers report that in mid-16th century the bay hosted many boats waiting for favorable conditions to cross the Straits of Dardanelles. The port mentioned later, probably because it remains important. Anchor in the bay in 1770 a part of the Russian fleet, which comes under Alexios Orloff.
The first mention of the settlement in its current position is in 1785. Since then Kontias is one of the largest villages.
After WWI Kontias develops economically and its population is increasing and enhancing the expatriates from outside their homeland. Then a new wave of immigration, but the village retains the physiognomy and cultural tradition. A walk is enough to understand it.Two stone fountains were built in 1910. The small church of St. John the Baptist of the 16th century resembles a fortress. For a few decades operated as a museum. Another beautiful church is Agios Dimitrios, built in 1867
In Kontias a surprise awaits. Since August 2007, in a beautiful restored stone building, the Gallery of Contemporary Balkan Art is hosted. The initiative belongs to the inhabitants who live in Athens. The Association was organized in 1999 and was followed by the purchase of the building and the restoration. The Association is also the initiative for the renovation of the two stone windmills at the entrance of the village.
North from Konitas a small artificial lake created. Another wetland of the island, where many birds find shelter.
In Trohalia on the northeast side of the settlement remains of a prehistoric settlement of the Bronze Age have been discovered. Traces of prehistoric settlement have also been found in Vriokastro in the east of the port of Saint John. Nearby there are ruins of a medieval castle.
In recent years Kontias attracts more and more tourists. And this because the village retains its traditional character. On the other hand because of the wonderful beaches in the bay. You can find rooms to rent and near the village a distillery producing the old and famous ouzo "Kontias".
Diapori and Fakos
A southeast road brings us to the east side of the bay. We arrive at a narrow isthmus. A strip of land joining the southern coast of Fakos peninsula, which resembles a large island, hanging on the south side of Lemnos - and maybe once was an island.
We are in Diapori. The name explains what this narrow piece of land is. The word comes from ancient Greek language and is complex. It consists of the words 'dia' and 'poros', meaning passage.
The passage has a width of 400 to 800 meters. The soil is sandy. Is formed in part by water streams and because that its level is low, leading to the hypothesis that once was more narrow, so the peninsula was an island. A report of the second century AD says it was an island and had fortifications. As the island is noted on maps of 1418 and 1588. Nearby, there is a chapel dedicated to St. Anthony.
A bay named Vourlidia, opens in the Bay of Mudros. The area is magical. The narrow isthmus, the sea from one of the other side and the small village deep in the bay. In the port boats, mostly small. The tavern at the corner of the road lines its tables. Plenty of free space and good food, fish and seafood. All in abundance.
In port a sign informs us that a nearby wetland and a map showing us how to get there. It is a shallow lagoon, which almost dries up in summer. Refuge for birds wintering or breeding. Depending on the season you can see flamingos, glossy ibis, herons, ducks and other species. Not missing the water turtles.
Diapori is an historical site. In Vourlidia coast, disembarked on October 8, 1912 the Greek army. From Kontias and Tsimandria residents welcome the Greek soldiers and direct them towards Myrina. In disembarked in 1944 the Greek soldiers, part of the Ieros Lochos (Sacred Band), ending the German occupation.
South Diapori, the peninsula of Fakos. There are crops, pastures and pens all characteristics of the local folk architecture of the island, but also many natural beauties. Especially for those who love hiking. In some places we can go only on foot. Two paths lead to colorful volcanic formations and fossils of trees.
Fakos peninsula shelter many birds - Shag, Falcon, Lesser Kestrels, partridges and others. The shores are steep. In the west, beaches. The most beautiful beach is Kokkina in the middle of the west coast. Solitary, has taken its name from the red rocks that decorate it. From Diapori, it’s four kilometers of dirt road.
At both ends appear two great small peninsulas. The southwestern edge of a narrow isthmus leading to a rectangular piece of land on the island or Prasonisi. South of Cape St. Efthymia or Stavros (Cross) takes its name from two churches. In the southeastern edge of Fakos an oblong piece of land sticking out from the shore. At the edge a lighthouse and cape Koumpi faces the island of Castri signaling from the west the entrance to the Gulf of Mundros.
We are heading northeast. On our right lies the beautiful Bay of Mundros. Our destination is New Koutali in the northwest coast. But in between we have to make some stops.
A close junction to the right brings us to Tsimandria the village. The road, one kilometer and something is like a lobby. Tall trees in a blanket from the opposite side. The village is known for his contribution to the preservation of tradition. The cultural association "The Kechagiades' keep alive the traditional music, dances, songs and the local costumes of the island.
Nearby, a village. We return to the main road and just at the left we found Portianou. There is a folklore museum in a two-storey house. At the resort you can see a traditional house of Lemnos, how it is and what includes. Traditional costumes, looms, agricultural tools and much more reminiscent of the daily life long ago.
After this quick stop, we head back to the main road, going north. On our left we find Agkariones village. Fro here the view of Mundors bay is magnificent. Here are traces of a prehistoric settlement and an establishment of the Hellenistic period.
We arrive in New Koutali, a village on the west side of the gulf of Mundros. It was built in 1926 for refugees who were exciled form Koutali of Marmara, near Istanbul.
Koutali of Marmara is a small island two miles long, half a mile wide and an area of just three square miles - one of the four inhabited islands of the Propontis called Marmara islands. In ancient times called Kytalis from the 7th century BC Colony of the famous city of Miletus in Asia Minor.
In Koutali, now called Ecinlik live until 1923, only Greeks, with their schools and churches. They were 1,850 in total, most sailors. From the mid-19th century they have their own shipyards and gradually becoming more engaged in fishing and sponge diving. The fishermen of the island are the main feeders of Constantinople and the sponge bring them wealth. The Koutali highlights important people in the 19th and early 20th century. Here was born in 1847 Panagis Koutalianos, the weightlifter and wrestler who is famous for his strength and surprised the world during his tours.
In 1915, during the First World War, the inhabitants forced to leave the island in six hours, because of a imminent bombardment. In 1923 after the Asia Minor catastrophe, were forced to abandon everything. They move to Lemnos. Load their belongings on their boats, they arrived to their new home, causing the general admiration.
Living for sometime in refugee settlements, in 1926 they settled in New Koutali. They resume once more their lives keeping their church relics and images from the ladle and maintaining their traditions. And, for one more time, they get back to the work they know well. The sea.
Apart from a few farmers, they are mostly sailors, fishermen and sponge divers. At first, they use the sponge boats that have brought in Lemnos, the 'boots' as we say, then larger boats, trehantiria or "achtarmades" made in Hydra, Kalymnos, Symi and Piraeus. Boats especially built for sponge diving.
In 1938, they were almost 50 sponge divers. New Koutali exports 1.400 Kgr of sponges each year with a value of 4 million drachmas. There are also four commercial diesel boats and three sailing vessels, and passenger boats come and go daily to Mundros across the bay.
After the war, sponge fishing continues and New Koutali is one of the few villages of Lemnos not affected by immigration. In early 1970 there were thirty boats. But the 1980's they have faced economical problems and stopped. To remind us this period, a wonderful museum has been created in New Koutali.
We visit the church of Agia Marina. And of course the museum of Naval Tradition which operates from July 2006. Apart from what its name describes, there is also an archaeological interest.
The museum is open daily from ten in the morning until two o'clock. On Sundays and holidays from half past ten a.m. until two and a half. In July and August also works in the evening from seven until nine. Every Monday is closed.
Photos and artifacts keep the past alive. We face models and replicas of boats, diving equipment, tools and machines for processing of sponges and more.
In a special place wait us a nice surprise. On display cases are ancient urns. It is a part of the archaeological collection that has been created with the objects they have collected the sponge fishermen of New Koutali from the depths of the sea.
The collection consists of 106 objects, primarily commercial jars of different kinds of parts of the Aegean and Mediterranean - Thassos, Lesvos, Chios, Rhodes, Corinth and the Egyptian coast, the Adriatic Sea and Spain. There are also other ceramics, accessories from anchors and various small objects from ancient shipwrecks. The finds date from the Archaic Period in the 7th century BC by the end of the Byzantine Era to the 15th century.
If the starting point of our trip is Myrina and it is time to return, instead of getting from New Koutali again the road on the south coast, we can get back to the main road that crosses the island. There are other interesting sites to see on our way back.
From New Koutali we pass very shortly from Kallithea, a settlement near the coast with beautiful view over the bay of Mundros. In Alexopyrgos location they have discovered traces of prehistoric settlement.
The road turns left. It is different. Before us lies the airport of Lemnos. In a mile you reach the intersection with the highway. Here is Livadochori. Right, and the road leads to the airport and to the central and eastern part of the island. We turn left towards Myrina and soon we arrive at Agios Dimitrios, a refugee settlement like New Koutali.
The Agios Dimitrios village is renowned for its vineyards and grapes, the wine and ouzo. In autumn, when they begin to heat up the boilers, it is likely to find a party and we will be welcome with food and treats.
A few kilometers and we reach a junction. On our right, a pass. The road leads west to Kaspakas. The other road, to the north, leads very close to Kornos, a traditional village with beautiful houses, known for its sweets.
The main road heads south and less than one kilometer us a sign pointing left to Therma. One of the nicest areas of Lemnos, to relax or have a massage.
Therma are the hot springs of Lemnos. They are only 5 km from Myrina. Located at an altitude of 100 feet, between three hills, through trees. The thermal water comes from two sources at a depth of 1200 meters.
In a study of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki "the waters of the thermal spring Therma are in middle temperature, 39 to 43 degrees Celsius, with few metals". Recommended for spa therapy to those suffering from rheumatism, arthritis, Osteoporosis and other similar conditions. It is also recommended for drinking from those who have kidney problems.
Therma are also known from the ancient years, from Homeric times. Not missing the mythology. When Zeus cast Hephaestus from Olympus, and he falls in Lemnos, the first inhabitants brought him to Therma to heal his wounds. Tanks and remnants of buildings show that the springs used during the Roman and Byzantine periods.
According to the travelers of the 16th century baths operated at least since 1548. From that period we can still see a little room for changing purposes and a vaulted chamber with a stone bath. In 1588 a map of the road leads from Myrina in baths and continues to the nearby hill of Prophet Elias. Older say that this path was used until the early postwar years.
In 1780 Hasan Pasha Tzezaerli manufactures the main building and public baths. An inscription states that "the Therma of Lemnos with their water gave treatment and health in our century." Another legend says that the bathrooms renovated in 1839. Used by men and women but on different days.
We decide to relax and we do not regret it. Today at Therma tradition is combined with modernity. Different kind of therapies in appropriate facilities and different types of massages and beauty care. The regeneration is supplemented with proper diet. In the cafeteria beneath the towering trees, coffee refreshments and dishes are served. Beautiful moments of tranquility in idyllic surroundings. On our walk we meet old fountains. They have been constructed in 1908 and till now , they are still operating. Many come in every opportunity to drink water or take a few bottles with them.
In the middle of the northwestern part of the island is one of the most beautiful and most bizarre areas not only in Lemnos, but in all Greece. The famous Pachies Ammoudies, an area with dunes that have been named as the "Sahara of Europe".
The area has other attractions. To get here, you have to go through the village or Katalakkos where the paved road ends. If we travel from Myrina, we take the road north, pass the villages Kornos, Sardes and Daphne and arrive at Katalakkos. We can also reach to Daphne from the east using the highway and turning left to Atsiki.
After Kornos village, at an altitude of 160 meters, the road climbs north with many turns. In Sardes, at an altitude of 210 meters, we can find, as many say, the best honey. The area around is full of thyme. Daphne is built at an altitude of 150 meters with hills full of thyme. We do a walk through the narrow village streets, visit the beautiful church of St. Anargyroi and continue to Katalakkos.
Katalakkos village, is northwest of Daphne, at an altitude of 140 meters in a deep ravine. That is why they named the village Katalakkos, because it gives the impression that it is built in a pit.
We see the village when we reach the edge of the slope that rises above it. Picturesque, with narrow streets and nice homes with yards, has seen its population reduced by immigration during the 60's.
The origin is Byzantine. It is very likely considered that the first settlement was Katapotamon that refers to inventory documents of the monastery of Great Lavra in 1284 and 1355. The inhabitants came here because of the pirates. In the early 14th century the monastery owns other properties because of donations. In 1928 the estates of, 4,000 acres of land, expropriated and handed out to residents of Katalakkos and Sardes.
West of Katalakkos, at an altitude of of 200 meters, there is a castle that was built probably after the Byzantine period to control the valley of the north coast. It seems that those years the castle beacon-signals to communicate with towers and castles built near the coast, to warn people for pirate raids.
We continue our trip to see not the works of men, but of Nature.
From Katalakkos get a passable dirt road to the north. At an intersection, signs guide us and give us information. A big sign in Greek and English that informs us right at 1,000 meters is the Gomati (Gomati) beach and 3,000 meters left are the Dunes. In the area you can also find ecological routes.
Where are all these? To the road left, leading to the Dunes.
Pachies Ammoudies (Thick Beaches) are named. The dirt road continues nearly to the cape Agrilia. The spectacle, amazing. At a point we find the first stop from were we walk to the Dunes, or we can continue with the car for another 400 meters.
We decided to walk. From where this sand came from? From the sea, of course. The dunes along the coastline are literaly moving. The dunes in the interior, with herbaceous vegetation, are constants. On the side of the hill we observe some dark signs. They are small stones, placed one on top of the other. Anyone who comes here, place a small stone. We go up and we place our own.
The dunes are habitats and protected by the EU directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.This is confirmed by another sign that gives information on the fauna and flora. Fauna: Partridge, hoopoe, turtles dove, quails, peregrine falcons, wild seagulls, hawks and blackbirds. We see the birds in photos with syntax highlighted for the category they belong to, what it is, if it is protected, how rare and endangered. Flora: the sand-friendly vegetation, wild pear trees, thyme, Agrilia, wicker, oleander and sea lilies, as they all say it, or lily of the Virgin.
It’s time to go back. Time to enjoy the sea. At the junction we take another road to Gomati. After few minutes before us lies a beautiful bay. The entire west side is an inviting beach
Walks in the isthmus of Lemnos
The isthmus that connects the west and east parts of Lemnos is not simply the passage from one to the other side of the island. It is a fertile area with beautiful villages and the sea north and south gives her special charm. North of Pournos golf lies the historical Kotsinas with its beautiful beach which come alive in summer. South west of the airport lies the central plain of the island with Atsiki village in the center.
Atsiki is the largest settlement in the region. One of the oldest and richest villages of Lemnos. The church of Saint John has the largest bell on the island. In the evenings the traffic is intense in the bars and nightclubs in the area.
Those who have exploratory mood go to the small village of Propouli and from there north. To beaches and coves of the Northwest part of the island. The dirt roads are difficult and require the appropriate vehicle.
Beautiful coastline, churches everywhere. To beach Trygi and the church of Virgin Mary feast on August 15. The most beautiful area is undoubtedly Faraklo. Strange geological formations sculpted by Nature with amazing colors born of volcanic activity. And the sea that leaves salt on the rocks.
At the east end, before the Cape Trigiew or simply The Cape, a small cove is good anchorage for small boats. There are other small beaches overlooking the west bay of Pournos. The adventure depends on the time we have at our disposal.
We turn to Atsiki. West, the road to Daphne in place Progomylos have been detected traces of prehistoric settlements. East, towards the isthmus, on the way to Karpasi, we can visit a winery, known for its award-winning wines, which is open for visits and information.
We take the road East-Northeast, to visit Varos, a picturesque village on a small hill with stone houses, typical examples of the folk architecture of the island. Many stone buildings highlighted by a large luxury hotel, offering opportunities for alternative tourism integrated into the residential character of the village. The church of the Virgin Mary in the 19th century has been declared a protected monument. It is a typical example of architecture of the Aegean islands.
In the region, and further east in the isthmus, is mined from the ancient years the «Lemnia Gi». This is reminiscent of a hill above Varos named Despotis. It takes its name from the officer commanding the island in the late Byzantine era and was called Bishop of Lemnos. The lord controlled from the hill the mining area with precious, for those times, clay.
Nearby there are traces of volcanic crater. Many believe that this volcano Moschylos of ancient years. Others say it is a little further east. Then Repanidi, another village with Byzantine origin. During the Ottoman era, the area has many oak trees, so many that were exported to Western Europe’s tanneries.
The sea and history of Kotsinas
Two and half kilometers northeast of Varos and two kilometers northwest of Repanidi, is Kotsinas - or Kotsinos. A small fishing village, almost without inhabitants, with the rich history from the time of Venetian rule until the Ottoman era. Deserted in the winter, vivid in the summer.
The large bay of Pournos is a triangle. The bottom corner goes deep into the mainland, forming an enclosed bay, where is Kotsinas. The bay opening at its entrance is 6 nautical miles from Cape Falakro west to east cape Sotiras. The distance from the entrance to the cove is 4 miles. In the middle of the east coast, bay Tigani is formed. On its south side ancient Hephaestia and on its north the sanctuary Kaveirio.
Lying on loungers on the beach of Kotsinas, under the shade of an umbrella, we enjoy the tranquility of the countryside. We have forgotten, but an opportunity to say so. On the beaches of Limnos the loungers are for free.
Endless sand beach and the sea in a light blue crystal shallow waters. Three taverns for good food. And in the harbor small boats, sailboats and fishing boats.
Right from the harbor on a small peninsula, stands the church of the Zoodochos Pigi. In the sea a few remnants of a castle. Here lies the history of Kotsinas, one of the important chapters in the history of Lemnos.
Kotsinas was first mentioned in 1136 thanks to its port and the security provided at the bottom of the bay. At the same time begins to decline the neighboring Hephaestia and the harbor is destroyed by silting. Kotsinas increasingly populated and the port brings trade to the north coast of Lemnos.
The Venetians built a castle on the coast. Because there are no hills, an artificial hill with a height of 20 meters is created and above fortifications were made with 6 meters height. The castle extends over four acres. The northern foundations are in the water and around it there is a trench which communicates with the sea.
A church was built above an underground water spring. If we descent the stairs, we reach almost the sea level. It seems that during the construction of the artificial hill an underground passage was made, in order to have water during a siege of the castle. Today there are 64 stairs. The landscaping of the surrounding area completed in 1918. The present church was built in 1954 with grants of expatriates from America and Australia. From the old church of the Byzantine era survives an architrave. Arriving in the courtyard of the church we see a bronze statue. A young woman with sword in hand. It is the statue of the legendary Maroula.
The legend was born the 15th century, when Kotsinas was violently attacked by the Turks. In 1478 Suleiman Pasha besieges the castle and Maroula when she sees her father George Makris fall dead, grabs his sword, and rushes giving courage to the defenders. The castle survives. Much later, the legend spread to Western Europe with a poem wrote by a Jesuit monk in 1669. The courage of Jeanne d'Arc of Lemnos is an inspiration to many Greek and Italian writers.
During the Ottoman period, Kotsinas is a large settlement and the port has significant commercial traffic. But in 1656 the Venetians come back for the third time in the island and leave a year after destroying the fortifications. Among them and the castle of Kotsinas. Without defenses Kotsinas is now unsafe and the people begin to abandon him. The area begins to regains life in the middle of 19th century.
To the historic Moudros
South of the isthmus that connects the west and east of Lemnos lies one of the most beautiful Greek bays prominently in Greek and world history.
The bay of Moudros.
A broad river water that enters from the south shore in a northwesterly direction and is bent in the middle east making up the cove of a large natural harbor. One of the largest and safest anchorages in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.
The entrance of the bay is 3 nautical miles. The distance from the entrance to the cove is 8 miles.
Inside the bay there is the islet Alogonisi several rocky islands and at its shores many capes are formed, delineating large and small coves. On the west coast are Diapori and New Koutali villages, and on the east coast Moudros, a historical town and port. South great beaches are spreading, some difficult to approach, but hospitable to modern Robinson.
Coming from Myrina, we follow the main road that will lead us to Moudros. Before Moudros we see the small island of Koukonisi with the traces of a prehistoric settlement. Moudros welcomes us calm and bright on the north side of the bay, which stretches south to the peninsula Aspros Kavos, where the paved road ends.
As always in such cases the walk starts from the port. We walk to the pier, look at the sea and then the bay. The story comes out of the sea. Moudros is another village of Lemnos with Byzantine origin. The major historical events have happened here in the harbor and the bay that lies ahead.
The name Moudros probably comes from the word "mydros" which means rock of solidified lava.
In 1304 the monastery of Great Lavra owns a farmers' village. The researchers of the events of that time concluded that the area belongs to a landlord then called Neras. Today Water or Thousand Waters called a ravine with springs northeast of the hill Paliokastro, where are the ruins of the castle of Moudros. The area is considered as the initial settlement.
In 1362 Georgios Astras, "Duke and Head of Lemnos' donates to Vatopedi monastery a tower in Moudros and 1800 acres of land to establish dependency. The donation shall be authenticated by bull of the emperor Ioannis V Palaeologos. The dependency is established, the monastery brings farmers from other shareholders and does not take long to create a village.
In the early 15th century Christoforo Bouondelmondi, priest from Florence and one of the first tourists in Greece, in his "Book of the Aegean Islands' notes a village in the map with a tower called Le Mudro. Other travelers in 1484 also reported the castle of Mudros.
The castle is built on a hilltop between Paliokastro Moudros and village Roussopouli. The Venetians call this castle one of the three most important castles of the island along with Kotsinas and Myrina. The castle retains its significance and during the Ottoman era. But in 1656 the Venetians occupied the island for a few months and then leave in 1657. Before, they destroyed the fortifications.
The next year the bay becomes more and more known. In 1770, Alexis Orloff leads here the Russian fleet to occupy Lemnos, but soon is forced to leave. But the reputation of the bay as a safe anchorage increasing. At the port there are only few warehouses. The village is located far from the sea.
In 1889 Moudros has 1,200 inhabitants. It is the second biggest village of Limnos, after Myrina. In 1912 Moudros comes back to the forefront of history. In October, the first Balkan War begins. Admiral Koundouriotis disembark soldiers who liberate Lemnos. He makes Moudros base of the Greek fleet
Moudros is world famous in World War I. In 1915 is the base of the Allies on the Gallipoli campaign aimed at controlling the Straits of Dardanelles. In the Bay there are dozens of warships, and at the heights, north and south of Koukonisi, a camp with thousands of soldiers is created. The southern beach becomes a site for seaplanes. Called the "Airport" and it is the same name as of today.
The Gallipoli campaign fails. On January 8, 1916 the allies abandon the island. Hundreds of dead soldiers, mostly Australians and New Zealanders are buried in the British cemetery in the southeast of the settlement. But Moudros remains on track. On October 30, 1918, in the waters of the Gulf, in the English battleship "Agamemnon" the Armistice of Mudros is signed, marking the end of the Ottoman empire.
During the interwar Moudros has significant growth. In the port passenger ships, warships refuel and yachts of rich people who want to know the place because of its fame during the Great War. From here 85% of the products of the island go to other markets. There are many factories. The "Airport" since 1926 hosts seaplanes from the Italian company Aeroespresso.
In 1918 Moudros administratively downgraded to community and this is the complaint of residents for decades. After 1922, 462 refugees settle here and create a new settlement. The population increased from 1,800 residents in 1928 to 2,500 in 1938. After WWII becomes exile location for leftist citizens. Affected by immigration, the population is gradually decreasing. From 1981 until now has 1,000 inhabitants.
Sights in Moudros, the great beaches south
In recent years Moudros and the surrounding area get more and more visits form tourists. There are hotels, rooms and places for entertainment and many opportunities for water recreation. In port, the walk is always fun and food at the taverns is marvelous.
The walk to the village leads to the beautiful stone building of Moudros primary school and to the churches of the Archangels and Evangelistrias. The Archangels church was built in 1835 and has a magnificent wooden temple. The church of Evangelistria was built in 1903 in basilica rhythm and its architecture has a monumental character. Typical part of the church is the tower. The epitaph is a gift of Admiral Kountouriotis.
The building of the old town hall we can see the findings from the petrified forest that has been identified in sections not only in the region but elsewhere. The Allied cemetery of the First World War reminds us the Gallipoli campaign. Before we visit the beaches, we turn east, to history.
On the road from Moudros to Roussopouli there is a castle. We ask which is the correct dirt road and we reach a location named Menalpi. Here is Paliokastro hill. Height 130 meters. We talk the path going up. The top is flat with ruins of the castle. Walls and fortifications. Looking around the view. Hills east and south, a valley west. A magnificent spot to overview the bay. They knew when they decided to built the castle here.
Time to go south to map out the inviting sandy beaches with the crystal clear waters. Then, if we like a little adventure, we can choose each day a different beach to visit. In some beaches we will probably be just us. Us and the sea.
First stretches the south beach in the bay of Moundros. We continue a trip from the new road that follows the coast and reach the peninsula Aspros Kavos. In the chapel of St. Peter, the road bends slightly towards the middle and a short stop on the west coast of the peninsula.
The beach in front of us, at the end of the street is the Megalo Fanaraki. There is also the Small Fanaraki on the other side. We're going there afterwards.
Megalo Fanaraki beach is sandy and stretches in a semicircle shape. There are umbrellas for shade and the water is shallow. A restaurant and a bar ensure what we need. On the north side of Cape Sagrada is the lighthouse. At the southern tip of the peninsla is cape Asprokavos.
Great location. Small dunes with characteristic vegetation of bushes and prickly burnet. South of the peninsula the coastline turns east to form successively larger beaches. From now on we move on dirt roads.
The first beach is the busiest. Begins near Fanaraki and vast stretches in an open bay. It is famous Chavouli beach. Golden sand and plenty of area for everyone. A bar offers his services.
On the south side a small cove is formed, where the dirt road concludes. After another small cove with sand in the corner and then a large semicircular bay. At the end, the prettiest, for many, beach of Lemnos. Parthenomytos.
We can come here from different directions and it needs a little care to find the exit to the beach. From Chavouli the road is difficult. From the Agia Sophia northeast - will go there later - is clearly better.
We get confused for a while, but with persistence and patience we manage to get to the beach. The reward is worth all our effort. We are the «owners» of a vast sandy beach. The sea is calm, blue water, the scenery breathtaking.
The beach goes down after a slight protrusion of land. This piece is called Skidi. Trees offer shade. The friends of camping have every reason to be happy here.
Going east from Skidi we find again the paved road that descends near the east coast and ends at the southernmost settlement in the region, Skandali. From North we return to Moundros passing an area with many attractions.
We start from Moundros to visit the other side of the south. We take the road heading east. Vey soon we reach the picturesque Roussopouli village. The village welcomes us from a short distance from the main road.
From here we pass between two hills, and soon we reach Kaminia, one of the oldest villages of Lemnos. It seems to have taken its name from the old kilns. The area is famous for its red wine from the old variety of the island "Kalampaki" and the production of anise used in the preparation of ouzo.
Around us there are several churches. Nearby tombs carved in the rocks have been discovered, from the time of the Pelasgians. And the ruins of the church of St. Alexander one of the most important archaeological finds. The famous "Stele of Kaminia," a plate with Pelasgian inscription parts of which are still a puzzle.
We continue south and after one km a sign informs us that we are close to Poliochni. We go left on the crossroad taking a to prehistoric times.
The east coast of Lemnos has amazing harmony. From south to north five large bays with the same morphology, as brothers, with a peninsula separating each other. The two bays especially east of Kaminia are like twins. Between them lies the peninsula Voroskopos. North of a long beach in a semicircle south itself. On the north side of beach, called Makrigialos, on a hill, stands the prehistoric Poliochni. In a key position. At the entrance of the Straits of Dardanelles, just opposite of Troy.
Poliochni has come to light in 1930 by the Italian Archaeological School of Athens. Surveys from 1931 to 1956 reveal a large part of a settlement of the Early Bronze Age. The settlement has been created between the fourth to third millennium BC and throughout the third millennium passes various phases of residential and cultural development. The archaeologists that made the excavations have named each architecture phase with a different color.
The entrance to the site is free, as in every archaeological site of Lemnos. The area is large and there is again a stone house with landscaped green space and wooden seats for shade and relaxation.
The guests are not many. The feeling is amazing. Walking in 3000 BC? Of course is good to do your homework before visiting the place. If you have previously visited the Archaeological Museum of Myrina, you already know enough of the pottery and the other findings coming from this area.
The first period of the settlement called Black and lasts from 3500 until 3200 BC The village has a small area, perhaps five acres. The residues are mainly from large oval huts.
The second period is the Blue from 3200 until 2800 BC The village grows and becomes a small town. We see it when entering the site. Almost all the ruins on the west side of town, to the right of the road belonging to this period.
Almost immediately after the main entrance to our right is the most important building of Poliochni. The famous "Chamber of deputies." An elongated area with benches on the one side. The archaeologists who made the excavations have named it so considering that it is a meeting space for residents, the first site that shows the organization of a democratic society. Another area that shows that in Poliochni the community took joint decisions, is located across, the Vouleytirio or the "Chamber of deputies'. It is also elongated and is considered the granary of the settlement.
During this period walls from really big dry rocks were built. The houses are square or rectangular with one or two rooms, stone walls without mortar and a wooden roof covered with seaweed and straw.
The Blue period identified for the first time from a building that the archaeologists call the "palace" considering it is as the key element of the architecture of the settlement. It is a rectangular room with a hallway and covered patio in front of the central entrance.
The settlement through the wall has an area of ten acres and 800 residents during the third period, the Green 2800 BC, followed by Red, which lasts until 2400 BC. Poliochni developed west, beyond the "barn" where new fortifications erected, covering an area of 15 acres. At that time has 1,400 inhabitants. The metal now dominate the manufacture of weapons, tools and other objects.
We are walking on the second main street of the village and reach the eastern side, the yellow period, which lasts until 2100 BC This time Poliochni begins to cover less area and the houses are located around two squares. The most important building of this period is "Building 605" in North Square, a main building with rooms, lobby and a large patio. And the most importantly findings are gold objects that have been discovered in 'Room 643' below the floor and located in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.
These findings indicate that, beside Troy and other civilizations of the east, Poliochni has contacts with the Cyclades islands. All this, however, lasting until 2100 BC when the city was destroyed, probably by an earthquake. Poliochni still exists the second millennium BC, but the findings of the last two periods, the Grey and Violet, are minimal.
From Kontopouli to ancient Hephaestia
Lets know the northeast of Lemnos. Many attractions waiting us. Two important archaeological sites, picturesque villages, towns and beaches plus three lakes.
The road coming from east of the isthmus and the road coming northeast from Moudros meet shortly before Kontopouli village. The first passes from Repanidi. The second from Romanou and Komi villages.
Kontopouli welcomes us with its stone houses and its history. It also has Byzantine origins. It takes its name from the landowner Kontopoulos, who the late Byzantine years, gift a portion of his land to the monastery of Megistis Lavras on Mount Athos. Since then gradually around Kontopouli small settlements of farmers and pastoralists were created.
During the civil war in Greece, the great poet Yannis Ritsos has been living in exile. In 1948 he wrote the "Smoked Pot" and two "Calendars Exile." The years after the war were difficult and Kontopouli is affected by immigration.
Kontopouli is the third most populous settlement on the island of Lemnos. It has movement and vitality, and is located in a region with many interests. The youth club takes care to show new vitality by organizing, among others, summer events in the central square in the village school.
In the square we are debating whether to go for coffee or ouzo at the tavern. There are shops for our markets and taverns for good food. Here is the church of St. Anastasia. We have come to visit the church of Saint Dimitrios. Was built in 1872 and the fountain in 1927. Both are considered characteristic types of stone sculpture of the island.
We walk the streets and the ride brings us to the pottery workshop of Konstantina Despoteri. A "tsoukaladiko" as they say in Lemnos. Pottery is the traditional art of the island, especially from Kotsina and east. We enter and Konstantina welcomes us warmly and leads us, patiently explaining how they continue the tradition.
From Kontopouli we take the road north heading to Hephaestia. In this great ancient city we can go by other roads from the east and west, but the road from Kontopouli is shorter and better.
We are approaching the eastern coast of the Gulf Pournos where the bay is formed as a round pan with the opening on the northwest. In the cove of the beach stretches Saravari. On the south side the water passes through a narrow orifice and enters the land, forming an enclosed bay like a lake. Is Achivadoli. Anchorage for small boats.
Achivadoli is closed from north by a peninsula like a nose named Tigani. The northern edge facing towards the other end of the bay and behind is the Sanctuary of Kaviria. On this peninsula over the Achivadoli is Hephaestia, the city that for centuries was the center of Lemnos in the northern side.
We approach the site by car. Like other archaeological sites of Lemnos, admission is free. We can visit the site from eight and a half in the morning until three in the afternoon except Mondays.
Hephaestia has come to light during the excavations of the Italian Archaeological School at Athens from 1926 until 1983. Houses have been revealed, baths and wells, cemetery of the 8th century BC, a large temple dedicated to the Great Goddess of Lemnos and the Hellenistic theater. Pottery, clay figurines and other finds from excavations are at the Archaeological Museum of Myrina.
Everything confirms that the area was inhabited from the early era of copper till the Byzantine period. Important discovery is the sanctuary. Located on the west side, high up, but within the city limits.
The main building is built on two levels. In the lower there are seven rooms and three higher. An opening leads to a courtyard. In the central of the three spaces desks are arranged. Here and there, in those desks pieces of the statue of the goddess have been found. The name of the goddess does not appear in the inscriptions, but archaeologists believe is the Great Goddess of Lemnos.
The goddess is depicted in figurinesthat have been found in a dump - the place where the offerings were placed. There have been many offerings. A lot of them from Athens, Corinth, Rhodes and Chios, which shows that Hephaestia had long developed commercial relations.
The sanctuary been used from 750 BC and destroyed by fire or 511 BC when the Persians occupied the island, or in 499 BC when Lemnos passed to the sovereignty of Athens. In the cemetery near the town, Attic vases were found in tombs of the first decades of the fifth century BC.
In the temple, remains of the Hellenistic period. Near the shrine are two kilns of the Hellenistic pottery workshop were discovered. The findings confirm that the laboratory manufactures molds vases, figurines and pottery for everyday use. We can also see them in the museum in Myrina along with the potter's wheel and the means he uses to unite and fastens the pots in the oven.
The theater of Hephaestia belongs to the Hellenistic Age. During the Roman Age, it changes and becomes a hollow chamber. We stand in the area. Feels strange but familiar. The emptiness looks inviting and at any moment you think that you will hear the word of ancient dramatists. Words that really sound after centuries. The theater has been restored and the summer of 2010 the first performance of the new season with tragedy "Oedipus Tyrannos" took place.
In the area of the Hellenistic period of Hephaestia there are remnants of the last Roman period and Byzantine era. Near the port we see the ruins of houses and a Christian church. All of this until 1100 AD.. Without its center of life, Hephaestia falls into decline and abandonment was not long.
In Kaveirio and the Cave of Philoctetes
From Kontopouli the main road goes north. On our right lies the Alyki Lake. Where the road ends there is a branch guiding left. Leads us to Kaveirio. In the sanctuary of Kaveiri, one of the most important archaeological sites in the North Aegea.
The road, as good as the main road, passing through the village St Alexander and a half kilometers brings us to our destination. Behind the northern cape Tigani, overlooking the sea.
The sanctuary is located on a hillside. At the top of the enclosure the shrine is built. Looks like a wall that offers security from land. When you get down to the sea side you see that there are large raised embankments - "walls" of dry stone.
We pass the entrance and we go down from the paved path for the visitors. Kaveirio, as the inhabitants of Lemnos say, in the plural, has come to light in 1937 - 1939 by the Italian Archaeological School of Athens, which continues its investigation until 1991.
In the sanctuary Kabeiri were worshiped, sons of Hephaestus with the nymph Kaveiro, gods of fire and sea, earth and fertility. Their worship is performed with mysteries, to which can take place only the initiated. The main building of the sanctuary is Telesterion, place of worship and for the initiation in Kaveiria.
The Telesterion are actually three. The Archaic, the Hellenistic and Roman. But the older, Archaic, has disclosed last, since it is located beneath the Roman. They are two plateaus, based on the steep hillside to the sea embankment.
The first Telesterion that we reach from the archaeological site is Telesterion of the Hellenistic period in the northern plateau. It measures 33m. at 46.10 m. covering the entire plateau. Is twice the sanctuary of the Kaveirion of Samothraki island. We imagine a rectangular building with twelve Doric columns in front. The large central area is divided into three parts with two rows of four Ionic columns. A corridor separates Telesterion from the depths, a series of rooms closing the north area.
A depositor has been discovered with many offerings. Among them, lamps for night ceremonies, beetles, bowls, pots and compasses for ceremonies. Also discovered, pieces of sculptures, terracotta and bronze statuettes and votive inscriptions.
The Hellenistic Telesterion dating to 200 BC and operates up to the later Roman period. But between the second and third century AD looted and burned and the building materials used to build other buildings such as the new sanctuary.
The Telestirion of the late Roman period is in the southern plateau. Is smaller than the Hellenistic, has been built in the 3rd century AD and is called "royal". The entrance is on the south side, where there is a vestibule with seven columns rested on a solid way toward the sea.
The Telesterion is a room 17 feet long, divided into three sections by two rows of five columns. The central part is smaller. Both have larger desks. The sanctuaries are in the background separated by a central hall with a corridor. Archaeologists say they have been trying to give a similar form as the Hellenistic one.
The Roman Telesterion is founded on the first Telesterion of the Archaic period, which has been identified at the start of excavations in 1937, but has been revealed last.
Estimated to have been built in the early 7th century BC and has been destroyed the same century, probably by an earthquake. Its dimensions are 6.40 m at 13.50 m. Has desks made of half-baked bricks, desks which were intended for the mystics. There is also a kind of altar. The form of the building and inscribed pots have been found confirming the archaeologists to be the oldest Telesterion of Lemnos. Perhaps it is indeed the oldest known Telesterion of the Greek world.
The worship of the sacred Kaveiri continued until the late third or early fourth century. Then the roman Telesterion destroyed. Perhaps by the first Christians in their efforts to eradicate the old religion.
Under Kaveirio the coast falls steeply. The sea waves because of the low north wind and water bears foams and hits the rocks. At one point the coast is divided, leaving the sea to go to an opening. It is the cave of Philoctetes, one of the heroes of the Trojan War, which has passed to it twelve years of his life.
The myth is the most beautiful of Greek mythology. Philoctetes is the son of the shepherd Peantas and whose fate was defined by the first meeting with the semigod Hercules. By chance Philoctetes passed from mountain Iti the moment Heracles asks his son Yllo to light the fire, but Yllos hesitates. None of those who were there dare to do it. Only Philoctetes. In return, Hercules gives his bow and poisoned arrows.
When the Achaians sell to Troy, Philoctetes is in one of the ships of the campaign. The ship stops at Lemnos and Philoctetes goes to Chrysi island to offer and make sacrifices to the goddess Chrysis, one of the first deities of Lemnos. A snake however bites him and because of the wound, his companions decided to leave him because they can not stand the stench.
Philoctetes finds refuge in the cave and becomes well using Lemnia Gi. Twelve years after Odysseus appears and takes him with him. The seer Helenos has said that only with the bow and arrows of Hercules Troy can be captured. The adventure of Philoctetes will come later tragedy by Sophocles.
We stand above the sea and look down on the left opening in the rocks. We find the path that leads up to him. Descends to the edge of the rocky coast. We are told to avoid to go down, because at the moment some rocks blocking the passage. Anyway does not seem very safe. We follow the advice and confine ourselves to shooting from distance. Another time. Philoctetes is not here anymore, but the cave will wait.
Beaches for explorers in the northeast
Just above Kaveirio a small bay opens with one of the most beautiful beaches of the island, Neftina. Taking the way home from the sanctuary and after a mile we turn left into a passable dirt road that leads us to the beach. Wonderful beach for those who love the desert scenery.
We can visit Neftina from other roads, starting from the main road near the village of Panagia, northeast of Lemnos. Panagia has taken its name from the church of Panagia, located in the village. Just outside is the chapel of the Panagia, where every year on August 15 a fest take place.
From Panagia we can go to Zemata, another beach away from the crowds. The sea has amazing colors and at the beach is very likely to find an open canteen.
After Panagia the main road leads to Plaka, the last village on the northeast side of Lemnos. We visit the church of St. Demetrios and off for trips east, north and west. The distances to the coasts are small and the roads passable.
East and north of Plaka is the bay of Plaka, the last great bay in the north eastern coast of Lemnos. In the cove of the beach lies a village with trees. In the southern corner, at the port of Plaka, the fishing boats swaying in the water. From here on a peninsula like a rectangular sash closes the bay entering the sea. At half distance from the chapel of St. John at the edge cape, a castle. The medieval castle explain the name. In the bottom traces of the ancient city.
North of Plaka and the bay area is full of bushes. The desert landscape seems strangely charming. In a short time we arrive to the tip of the peninsula, near Korakies. We are in the northeastern tip of Lemnos. Cape Plaka. Here stands proud of one of the most beautiful Greek lighthouses.
We turn west. First to the large bay of Saint Charalambos. It takes its name from the church of Saint Charalambos, the north tip of the bay. He is the patron saint of Plaka and on the celebration on August 22, a great fest follows.
On both sides of the church lies a great beach. In half a kilometer away is the Roussounia. A place where a rock springs mineral water. In the pebble beach stairs leading to a shrine. They say that if you make a wish, put a pebble in a flat head and climb the stairs over there without falling, the wish will come true. You will not disclose you what we have wish, but we advise you to choose the more flat pebbles made.
In the bay there are successive coves, each with its own beach, to the peninsula which closes to the west. In the southwestern corner in the site Axia or Axa, traces of prehistoric settlement have been found.
On the other side of the peninsula, the west, we wait one more surprise in a landscape that you believe empty but in fact has a lot of beautiful places. In a small bay lies a picturesque harbor, anchorage for small boats. A beautiful beach stretches south. Above the harbor a chapel complements the landscape. Is the church of Christ, who gives his name to the Cape Peninsula. Every year on August 6, a festival takes place.
Three lakes and a bay
East from the main street in the area of Kontopouli village, lies one of the most beautiful areas of Lemnos, which is also a natural ecosystem of exceptional importance for the birds. But it is a site that offers special opportunities for recreation on the east coast.
The natural ecosystem consists of three lakes. Aliki north which is the largest, Asprolimni at south which is smaller, and Chortarolimni even farther south. Next to Aliki (Salt) Lake and Asprolimni stretches a vast beach and next to Chortarolimni formed an amazing cove, the cove Keros, a paradise for those who love camping and water sports.
The area enclosed by Cape Keros, Roussopouli, Romanos in west and the main road to Cape Plaka in the northeastern part of Lemnos is protected, an integrated network of NATURA 2000.
In the three lakes 4,000 birds wintering. Among the flamingos, herons, glossy ibis, kingfishers, pelicans, brown ducks, Lesser Kestrels and other, known and less known. Depending on the season we can test our knowledge using the plots of the friends of bird watching.
We can go to Aliki choosing one of the many branches of the main road. The west side, moreover, is beside the road. It has an area of 6,300 acres and communicates with a small canal to the sea. It is the most important wetland of Lemnos. As its name says, the summers is white because of the salt. South lies the small lake of Asprolimni near the peninsula that closes the north bay Keros. It has an area of 500 acres and this contributes to the protection of birds seeking shelter.
In Chortarolimni we go through the village Calliope, very close to Kontopouli, or the small village of Komi, the main road south. In texts of the 18th and 19th century called the Mill Lake and Lake Komi. It has an area of 2,300 acres and is brackish. It is also an important wetland, in summer usually dry.
Among Komi and Chortarolimni in the northwestern corner of the lake, traces of farmers settlements from prehistoric and classical times have been found. Travelers of the 16th and 17th century saying that the plain around the lake hosted pasture horses. The breed is extinct in Lemnos and survive only in Skyros in the Northern Sporades.
Calliope, one kilometer southeast of Kontopouli, has been established around 1200 at another location, closer to the sea, in Ariones where are the old ruins. The foundation is rather original. First resident is a rich woman who farm in the area and lives in Hephaestia. Driven off as they say, from there, because her improper behavior. Her name is Calliope or Kallis. At the time, however, founded Calliope, Hephaestia begun to decline. Keros bay during the medieval times is an important port.
Patron of the town is St. George. The church was built in 1869 as a basilica without a dome. Traditionally, every year during the feast of St. George, horse races take place. The rider cover a route of three kilometers to the entrance of the village and the winner goes to church on horseback to thank the saint for his help in the fight, followed by traditional dances, food and wine.
Time to go to Keros bay on the coast east of Calliope and Chortarolimni. The entrance is defined by the Keros headlands north and south by Kavallaris and takes its name from its shape. Resembles a horn.
Before us lies a beautiful beach in a semicircle with dunes and sea lilies. On the south corner there is a harbor for small boats. It is the area for those who love camping. Feel free to stay in our caravan or camp out. A grove on the beach provides the perfect environment. And because the bay has good relations with the north winds, is also a site preferred by lovers of windsurfing and other watersports.
Here you can find surf clubs, coffee bar, teaching windsurfing, kitesurfing and other watersports and related competitions. At the beach, umbrellas and deck chairs for everyone and free. The beach is so big that we can choose a place and set up our umbrella.