Mytilene on the island of Lesvos: what to see between castle, theater and mosques
It’s built on seven hills: but Rome is very far away. We are talking about Mytilene on the island of Lesbosin islands of the North Eastern Aegean. It is located on the east coast, facing the coasts of Turkey and, as mentioned, has a amphitheater shape between seven verdant hills ending in the natural harbour. The city has its own special charm given by the contrast between old quarters And more modern areas while the presence of archaeological sites reveal its long history. Those who arrive will immediately find themselves at ease walking through neoclassical buildings, stone houses and imposing churches while relaxation time is guaranteed by the wide choice of clubs and taverns that reach up to the sea.
Mytilene on the island of Lesvos: stroll through history
In short, Mytilene on the island of Lesbos has known over time to become a perfect destination for tourism for families who do not want to give up comfort and fun. A short distance from beautiful beaches and with one excellent choice of accommodation for the night.
Don’t think, however, of the usual postcard of the town of Cyclades with the white houses and flat roofs: here walking around the neighborhood of Sourada you will find yourself immersed in a beautiful series of 19th century neoclassical buildings that arose when even the local industries, like that of ouzo, were in full development. If you want to see then shops and showcases go through the Ermou street which leads from the port to the heart of the city.
Mytilene and the Genoese castle
To then have an overview of the city of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos you will have to climb the hill overlooking the settlement and which is mostly occupied by the castle which is one of largest in the Mediterranean.
There fortress was built in the 6th century and in 1355 it was restructured by Genoese Gattilusio family while in 1462 it was taken and adapted by the Ottomans. The castle is divided into three parts: the two lower ones are Turkish additions while the upper one is what remains of the original structure: a curiosity, however, was right on top of the fortress that the greek flag after the outbreak of the war of independence from the Turks.
A theater with 15,000 seats
Continuing the walk among the things to see in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos you have to go outside the center where, nestled among the pines, you meet the ancient theater of Mytileneone of the largest in the Greece from the Hellenistic period. Big enough to hold 15,000 spectators it was built on a hill between 300 and 100 BC but they were then Romans to intervene by repairing the signs of aging and integrating the fallen parts.
Always to the Romans we owe the construction of the aqueduct of which evident traces remain and which carried from Mount Olympus (no, not that of the gods) the water in the city through a 26 km route.
The two museums of the island among mosaics and statues
To understand the importance of the city of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos in the past, one must go and see the halls of the archaeological Museum which it now occupies two palaces. The first is located near the port and was the family residence Achilleas Vournazosa three-story neoclassical-style building that houses exhibits such as ceramics, coins, mosaics, statues and parts of temples.
Then there is a more recent building, with a modern appearance, built not far away which is located near an area where the remains of a temple of Aphrodite. This building collects the finds closest to us, therefore up to the Roman period with mosaic floors of ancient villasobjects of daily use and statues of a religious nature.
Mytilene on the island of Lesbos like a good part of this part of Aegean it has known a long Turkish domination. And one of the proofs is the presence of minarets and what were once mosques like that of Valide Tzami, built in 1615, one of the most fascinating.
Mytilene on the island of Lesbos: the legacy of the Turks
The mosque is located at Epano Skala, a part of the city that arose and developed during the Turkish period and is a one-story stone building with a marble staircase. It has a stone-paved courtyard with a fountain embellished with arabesques. The inside of the roof of the mosque was painted in bright colors but the whole thing was covered with brown paint after the expulsion of the Turks from the city.
Also worth seeing Yeni Mosque, the largest on the island, in Ermou street, in the old Turkish market. The mosque, built by Moustafa Aga Koulaksiz in 1825, it stands out for its Ottoman and Byzantine decorations. Proof that history has undergone a thousand upheavals in these parts. While now, fortunately, the pastime is no longer war. But drink an ouzo watching the sun dip into the Aegean.
How he arrivesking
Lesbos airport, Odysseas Elytisis located 8 kilometers south of Mytilene and several flights a day arrive here from Athens and in the high season also from Thessaloniki. According to the periods there are also connections with the other islands of theNorth Eastern Aegean how Chios And Limnos. Ferries arrive directly from Piraeus to the port of Mytilene but the journey is long: at least 8 hours, but often more.