Lesbos (/ˈlɛzbɒs/, US: /ˈlɛzboʊs/; Greek: Λέσβος Lesbos, pronounced [ˈlezvos]) is an island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea. It has an area of 1,633 km2 (631 sq mi)[1] with 320 kilometres (199 miles) of coastline, making it the third largest island in Greece. It is separated from Turkey by the narrow Mytilini Strait and in late Palaeolithic/Mesolithic times[2] was joined to the Anatolian mainland before the end of the last glacial period.

Lesbos is also the name of a regional unit of the North Aegean region, within which Lesbos island is one of five governing islands. The others are Chios, Ikaria, Lemnos, and Samos. The North Aegean region governs nine inhabited islands: Lesbos, Chios, Psara, Oinousses, Ikaria, Fournoi Korseon, Lemnos, Agios Efstratios and Samos. The capital of the North Aegean Region is Mytilene. The population of Lesbos is approximately 86,000, a third of whom live in its capital, Mytilene, in the southeastern part of the island. The remaining population is distributed in small towns and villages. The largest are Plomari, Kalloni, the Gera Villages, Agiassos, Eresos, and Molyvos (the ancient Mythimna).

According to later Greek writers, Mytilene was founded in the 11th century BC by the family Penthilidae, who arrived from Thessaly and ruled the city-state until a popular revolt (590–580 BC) led by Pittacus of Mytilene ended their rule. In fact the archaeological and linguistic record may indicate a late Iron Age arrival of Greek settlers although references in Late Bronze Age Hittite archives indicate a likely Greek presence then. The name Mytilene itself seems to be of Hittite origin. According to Homer's Iliad, Lesbos was part of the kingdom of Priam, which was based in Anatolia (present day Turkey). Much work remains to be done to determine just what happened and when. In the Middle Ages, it was under Byzantine and then Genoese rule. Lesbos was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1462. The Ottomans then ruled the island until the First Balkan War in 1912, when it became part of the Kingdom of Greece.


Περιφερειακή ενότητα / Δήμος
View of Mytilene
View of Mytilene
Lesbos within the North Aegean
Lesbos within the North Aegean
Lesbos is located in Greece
Lesbos within the North Aegean
Coordinates: 39°10′N 26°20′E / 39.167°N 26.333°ECoordinates: 39°10′N 26°20′E / 39.167°N 26.333°E
RegionNorth Aegean
 • Total1,632.8 km2 (630.4 sq mi)
 • Total86,436
 • Density53/km2 (140/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal codes
81x xx
Area codes225x0
Car platesΜΥ


The name is from Ancient Greek: Λέσβος Lésbos "forested" or "woody", possibly a Hittite borrowing, as the original Hittite name for the island was Lazpa. An older name for the island that was maintained in Aeolic Greek was Ἴσσα Íssa.


Lesbos topo
Topography of Lesbos
Olympos lesbos
Mt. Olympus’ peak rises 967 metres over Lesbos
Agiassos vanaf de Olympos
Agiasos village

Lesbos lies in the far east of the Aegean sea, facing the Turkish coast (Gulf of Edremit) from the north and east; at the narrowest point, the strait is about 5.5 km (3.4 mi) wide. The shape of the island is roughly triangular, but it is deeply intruded by the gulfs of Kalloni, with an entry on the southern coast, and of Gera, in the southeast.[3]

The island is forested and mountainous with two large peaks, Mt. Lepetymnos at 968 m (3,176 ft) and Mt. Olympus at 967 m (3,173 ft), dominating its northern and central sections.[4] The island's volcanic origin is manifested in several hot springs and the two gulfs.

Lesbos is verdant, aptly named Emerald Island, with a greater variety of flora than expected for the island's size. Eleven million olive trees cover 40% of the island together with other fruit trees. Forests of mediterranean pines, chestnut trees and some oaks occupy 20%, and the remainder is scrub, grassland or urban.


The island has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa in the Köppen climate classification). The mean annual temperature is 18 °C (64 °F), and the mean annual rainfall is 750 mm (30 in). Its exceptional sunshine makes it one of the sunniest islands in the Aegean Sea. Snow and very low temperatures are rare.

Lesvos Geopark

LesbosPetrified trunks23-24
Petrified forest of Lesbos

The entire territory of Lesbos is "Lesvos Geopark", which is a member of the European Geoparks Network (since 2000) and Global Geoparks Network (since 2004) on account of its outstanding geological heritage, educational programs and projects, and promotion of geotourism.[7]

This geopark was enlarged from former "Lesvos Petrified Forest Geopark". Lesbos contains one of the few known petrified forests called Petrified forest of Lesbos and it has been declared a Protected Natural Monument. Fossilised plants have been found in many localities on the western part of the island. The fossilised forest was formed during the Late Oligocene to Lower–Middle Miocene, by the intense volcanic activity in the area. Neogene volcanic rocks dominate the central and western part of the island, comprising andesites, dacites and rhyolites, ignimbrite, pyroclastics, tuffs, and volcanic ash. The products of the volcanic activity covered the vegetation of the area and the fossilization process took place during favourable conditions. The fossilized plants are silicified remnants of a sub-tropical forest that existed on the north-west part of the island 20–15 million years ago.


Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, RA, OM - Sappho and Alcaeus - Walters 37159
Sappho listens as the poet Alcaeus plays a kithara. (Painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1881)[8]
Roman Aqueduct in Mytilini (Lesbos), Greece
View of the Roman aqueduct

According to Classical Greek mythology, Lesbos was the patron god of the island. Macareus of Rhodes was reputedly the first king whose many daughters bequeathed their names to some of the present larger towns. In Classical myth his sister, Canace, was killed to have him made king. The place names with female origins are claimed by some to be much earlier settlements named after local goddesses, who were replaced by gods; however, there is little evidence to support this. Homer refers to the island as "Macaros edos", the seat of Macar. Hittite records from the Late Bronze Age name the island Lazpa and must have considered its population significant enough to allow the Hittites to "borrow their gods" (presumably idols) to cure their king when the local gods were not forthcoming. It is believed that emigrants from mainland Greece, mainly from Thessaly, entered the island in the Late Bronze Age and bequeathed it with the Aeolic dialect of the Greek language, whose written form survives in the poems of Sappho, amongst others.

LESBOS, Unattributed Koinon mint. Circa 510-480 BC
Coin of Lesbos, Ionia, under the Achaemenid Empire. Circa 510-480 BC.

The abundant grey pottery ware found on the island and the worship of Cybele, the great mother-goddess of Anatolia, suggest the cultural continuity of the population from Neolithic times. When the Persian king Cyrus defeated Croesus (546 BC) the Ionic Greek cities of Anatolia and the adjacent islands became Persian subjects and remained such until the Persians were defeated by the Greeks at the Battle of Salamis (480 BC). The island was governed by an oligarchy in archaic times, followed by quasi-democracy in classical times. For a short period it was a member of the Athenian confederacy, its apostasy from which is recounted by Thucydides in the Mytilenian Debate, in Book III of his History of the Peloponnesian War. In Hellenistic times, the island belonged to various Successor kingdoms until 79 BC when it passed into Roman hands.

Metileme by Giacomo Franco
Map of Lesbos by Giacomo Franco (1597)

During the Middle Ages it belonged to the Byzantine Empire. In 802, the Byzantine Empress Irene was exiled to Lesbos after her deposition, and died there.[9] The island served as a gathering base for the fleet of the rebel Thomas the Slav in the early 820s.[9]

In the 10th century, it was part of the theme of the Aegean Sea, while in the late 11th century it formed a dioikesis under a kourator in Mytilene.[9] In the 1090s, the island was briefly occupied by the Seljuk Turkish emir Çaka Bey, but he was unable to capture Methymna, which resisted throughout.[9] In the 12th century, the island became a frequent target for plundering raids by the Republic of Venice.[9]

Lesbos Ipsilou02
The entrance of Ipsilou monastery (St. John)
Denaro of Francesco I Gattilusio
Denaro of Francesco I Gattilusio, lord of Lesbos (1355-1384)

After the Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) the island passed to the Latin Empire, but was reconquered by the Empire of Nicaea sometime after 1224.[9] In 1354, it was granted as a fief to the Genoese Francesco I Gattilusio, whose family ruled Lesbos until it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1462.[9] It remained under Turkish rule, named مدللى (Midilli) in Turkish, until 1912 when it was taken by Greek forces during the First Balkan War.

The cities of Mytilene and Methymna have been bishoprics since the 5th century. By the early 10th century, Mytilene had been raised to the status of a metropolitan see. Methymna achieved the same by the 12th century.[9]

Mitylene 1905
European warships off Mytilene during the 1905 incident. The Europeans were exerting pressure on the Ottomans, to force them to accept their plan for an international commission that would supervise the province of Macedonia.

The oldest artifacts found on the island may date to the late Paleolithic period.[10] Important archaeological sites on the island are the Neolithic cave of Kagiani, probably a refuge for shepherds, the Neolithic settlement of Chalakies, and the extensive habitation of Thermi (3000–1000 BC). The largest habitation is found in Lisvori (2800–1900 BC) part of which is submerged in shallow coastal waters. There are also several archaic, classical Greek and Roman remains. Vitruvius called the ancient city of Mytilene "magnificent and of good taste". Remnants of its medieval history are three impressive castles.

Lesbos is the birthplace of several famous people. In archaic times, Arion developed the type of poem called dithyramb, the progenitor of tragedy, and Terpander invented the seven note musical scale for the lyre. Two of the nine lyric poets in the Ancient Greek canon, Alcaeus and Sappho, were from Lesbos. Phanias wrote history. The seminal artistic creativity of those times brings to mind the myth of Orpheus to whom Apollo gave a lyre and the Muses taught to play and sing. When Orpheus incurred the wrath of the god Dionysus he was dismembered by the Maenads and of his body parts his head and his lyre found their way to Lesbos where they have "remained" ever since. Pittacus was one of the Seven Sages of Greece. In classical times Hellanicus advanced historiography, Theophrastus, the father of botany, succeeded Aristotle as the head of the Lyceum. Aristotle and Epicurus lived there for some time, and it is there that Aristotle began systematic zoological investigations[11]. In later times lived Theophanes, the historian of Pompey's campaigns, Longus wrote the famous novel Daphnis and Chloe, and much later the historian Doukas wrote the history of the early Ottoman Turks. In modern times the poet Odysseus Elytis, descendant of an old family of Lesbos, received the Nobel Prize.

The Roman Aqueduct at Mória


Λέσβος - Ναός Άγιου Θεράποντα
The church of Saint Therapon in Mytilene by night
  • Petrified forest of Lesbos
  • Castle of Molyvos (Mithymna)
  • Castle of Mytilene
  • Castle of Sigri
  • Church of Panagia Agiasos
  • Monastery of Agios Raphael
  • Monastery of Taxiarchis
  • Roman Aqueduct of Lesbos (Mória)
  • The Bridge at Kremasti
  • Early Christian Basilica of Agios Andreas in Eressos
  • Temple of Klopedi
  • Christian Temple of Chalinados
  • Ancient Sanctuary of Messa
  • Acropolis of Ancient Pyrra
  • Monastery of Ipsilou
  • Monastery of Limonas
  • Statue of Liberty (Mytilene)
  • Ouzo Museum – The World of Ouzo[12]
  • Barbayannis Ouzo Museum
  • The Mosque in Parakila
  • Sourlangas Leather Factor
  • Catacomb of Mary Magdalene

Endangered sites

Twelve historic churches on the island were listed together on the 2008 World Monuments Fund's Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world. The churches range in date from the Early Christian Period to the 19th century. Exposure to the elements, outmoded conservation methods, and increased tourism are all threats to the structures. The following are the 12 churches:[13]

  • Katholikon of Moni Perivolis
  • Early Christian Basilica Agios Andreas Eressos
  • Early Christian Basilica Afentelli Eressos
  • Church of Agios Stephanos Mantamados
  • Katholikon of Moni Taxiarchon Kato Tritos
  • Katholikon of Moni Damandriou Polichnitos
  • Metamorphosi Soteros Church in Papiana
  • Church of Agios Georgios Anemotia
  • Church of Agios Nikolaos Petra
  • Monastery of Ipsilou
  • Church of Agios Ioannis Kerami
  • Church of Taxiarchon Vatousa


Lesbos is a separate regional unit of the North Aegean region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the regional unit Lesbos was created out of part of the former Lesbos Prefecture. At the same reform, the current municipality of Lesbos was created out of the 13 former municipalities on the island:[14]


The building of the former Lesbos Prefecture, and now of the Lesbos Regional Unit
Ouzo - plomari
Ouzo Plomari of Lesbos

The economy of Lesbos is essentially agricultural in nature, with olive oil being the main source of income. Tourism in Mytilene, encouraged by its international airport and the coastal towns of Petra, Plomari, Molyvos and Eresos, contribute substantially to the economy of the island. Fishing and the manufacture of soap and ouzo, the Greek national liqueur, are the remaining sources of income.


  • TV: TV Mytilene
  • Newspapers: Dimokratis (newspaper), Embros Lesvou


LGBT tourism

In English and most other European languages, including Greek, the term lesbian is commonly used to refer to homosexual women. This use of the term derives from the poems of Sappho, who was born in Lesbos and who wrote with powerful emotional content directed toward other women.[15] Due to this association, Lesbos and especially the town of Eresos, her birthplace, are visited frequently by LGBT tourists.[16]

The "gay" connotation of the term is considered offensive to many Lesbos islanders to such a degree that, in 2008, a group of Lesbos islanders litigated unsuccessfully a court case against the LGBT community of Greece. The islander group had requested a legal injunction to ban groups from using the word lesbian in their names, which the petitioners claim violated their human rights as it is "insulting" and disgraces them around the world.[17][18]


Honig - μέλι aus Mesotopos - panoramio
Honey from Lesbos

Local specialities:

  • Kydonato
  • Revithato
  • Sardeles from Kalloni
  • Selinato
  • Sfougato
  • Skafoudes
  • Sougania
  • Platzenta
  • Amygdalota (dessert)
  • Retseli (dessert)


Notable residents

Elytis, Odysseas (1911-1996)
The Nobel Prize winner in Literature Odysseas Elytis was from Lesbos

In popular culture

Lesbos is depicted in Assassin's Creed Odyssey as the northeastern-most Aegean Island, the center of the island is where the player character can encounter Medusa.[19]


Fire ship by Volanakis

"The burning of the Ottoman frigate at Eresos by Dimitrios Papanikolis" by Konstantinos Volanakis

Lesbos. Port Authority Building Mytilene, c. 1910

Ottoman flag in Mytilene in the last days of the Ottoman period

Greek troops land at Mytilene, 1912.jpeg

Greek troops land at Mytilene, 1912

After the scraping of the salt Kalloni

Extraction of the salt in Lesbos

Μονή Παμμεγίστων Ταξιαρχών Μανταμάδου (2) ΛΕΣΒΟΣ

Taxiarchis Monastery

Lesbos Agiassos04

Panagia Church in Agiasos

See also


  1. ^ "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-21.
  2. ^ Harissis et al. 'A Palaeolithic site on Lesbos island, Greece'. "Αρχαιολογία και Τέχνες"(Archaeology & Arts) 2000;76:83–87, Article in Greek
  3. ^ "Lesbos". Archived from the original on 2010-09-21.
  4. ^ "The Petrified Forest of Lesvos, A Unique Natural Monument Recording the Evolutionary Process of Life on Earth". UNESCO Global Geoparks Network. Archived from the original on 2010-06-05.
  5. ^ "HNMS". www.hnms.gr. Archived from the original on 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  6. ^ "MITILINI Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  7. ^ "Global Geoparks in Greece (UNESCO)" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Sappho and Alcaeus". The Walters Art Museum.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Gregory, Timothy E. (1991). "Lesbos". In Kazhdan, Alexander (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. p. 1219. ISBN 0-19-504652-8.
  10. ^ Harissis H.; Durand P.; Axiotis M.; Harissis T. (2000). "Traces of Paleolithic settlement in Lesbos". Archaiologia kai Technes. p. 76:83–87 (article in Greek with English abstract).
  11. ^ Harissis, H. 2017. 'The location of the euripus of Pyrrha in the works of Aristotle and Strabo'. Acta Classica 60.
  12. ^ "The World of Ouzo".
  13. ^ Churches Of Lesvos accessed July 31, 2014
  14. ^ "Kallikratis reform law text" (PDF).
  15. ^ "lesbian". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  16. ^ Carolyn, Bain; Clark, Michael; Hannigan, Des (2004). Greece. Lonely Planet. pp. 568–570. ISBN 1-74059-470-3.
  17. ^ "BBC NEWS – World – Europe – Lesbos islanders dispute gay name". news.bbc.co.uk.
  18. ^ "BBC NEWS – World – Europe – Lesbos locals lose lesbian appeal". news.bbc.co.uk.
  19. ^ Loveridge 2018-10-09T10:50:17ZPS4, Sam. "How to find and beat the Assassin's Creed Odyssey Medusa". gamesradar. Retrieved 9 February 2019.

External links

AEL Kalloni F.C.

Akadimia Podosfairou Lekanopediou Kallonis, (former AELK) commonly referred to Kalloni, was a Greek football club, based in Kalloni, Lesbos.

They competed in Superleague Greece from 2013 to 2016.


The Gattilusi (singular Gattilusio) were a powerful Genoese family who controlled a number of possessions in the northern Aegean from 1355 until the mid 15th century. Anthony Luttrell has pointed out that this family had developed close connections to the Byzantine ruling house of the Palaiologos—"four successive generations of Gattilusio married into the Palaiologos family, two to emperors' daughters, one to an emperor, and one to a despot who later became an emperor"—which could explain their repeated involvement in Byzantine affairs.

Hellanicus of Lesbos

Hellanicus (or Hellanikos) of Lesbos (Greek: Ἑλλάνικος ὁ Λέσβιος, Ἑllánikos ὁ Lésvios), also called Hellanicus of Mytilene (Greek: Ἑλλάνικος ὁ Μυτιληναῖος, Ἑllánikos ὁ Mutilēnaῖos) was an ancient Greek logographer who flourished during the latter half of the 5th century BC. He was born in Mytilene on the isle of Lesbos in 490 BC and is reputed to have lived to the age of 85. According to the Suda, he lived for some time at the court of one of the kings of Macedon, and died at Perperene, a city in Aeolis on the plateau of Kozak near Pergamon, opposite Lesbos . He was one of the most prolific of early historians. His many works, though now lost, were very influential. He was cited by a number of other authors, who thereby preserved many fragments of his works, the most recent collection of which is by José J. Caerols Pérez, who includes a biography of Hellanicus.Hellanicus authored works of chronology, geography, and history, particularly concerning Attica, in which he made a distinction between what he saw as Greek mythology and history. His influence on the historiography of Athens was considerable, lasting until the time of Eratosthenes (3rd century BC).

He transcended the narrow local limits of the older logographers, and was not content to merely repeat the traditions that had gained general acceptance through the poets. He tried to record the traditions as they were locally current, and availed himself of the few national or priestly registers that presented something like contemporary registration.

He endeavoured to lay the foundations of a scientific chronology, based primarily on the list of the Argive priestesses of Hera, and secondarily on genealogies, lists of magistrates (e.g. the archons at Athens), and Oriental dates, in place of the old reckoning by generations. But his materials were insufficient and he often had to seek recourse to the older methods.

Some thirty works are attributed to him, chronological, historical and episodical. They include:

The Priestesses of Hera at Argon: a chronological compilation, arranged according to the order of succession of these functionaries

Carneonikae: a list of the victors in the Carnean games (the chief Spartan musical festival), including notices of literary events.

Atthis, giving the history of Attica from 683 BC to the end of the Peloponnesian War (404 BC), which is mentioned by Thucydides (1.97), who says that he treated the events of the years 480 BC to 431 BC briefly and superficially, and with little regard to chronological sequence.

Phoronis: chiefly genealogical, with short notices of events from the times of Phoroneus, primordial king in Peloponnesus.

Troica and Persica: histories of Troy and Persia.

Atlantis (or Atlantias), about the daughter of the Titan Atlas. Some of his text may have come from an epic poem which Carl Robert called Atlantis, a fragment of which may be Oxyrhynchus Papyri 11, 1359.His work includes the first mention of the legendary founding of Rome by the Trojans; he writes that the city was founded by Aeneas when accompanying Odysseus on his travels through Latium. He also supported the idea that an incoming group of Pelasgians lay behind the origins of the Etruscans. The latter idea, from Phoronis, influenced Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who cites him [I.28] as a source.

Lesbian wine

Lesbos wine is wine made on the Greek island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea. The island has a long history of winemaking dating back to at least the 7th century BC when it was mentioned in the works of Homer. During this time the area competed with the wines of Chios for the Greek market. An apocryphal account details one of the brothers of the poet Sappho as a merchant trading Lesbos wine with the Greek colony of Naucratis in Egypt. The most noted Lesbos wine was known as Pramnian which draws similarities today to the Hungarian wine Eszencia. The popularity of Lesbos wine continued into Roman times where it was highly valued along with other Aegean wines of Chios, Thasos and Kos.

Lesbos Prefecture

Lesbos Prefecture (Greek: Νομός Λέσβου) was one of the prefectures of Greece. It comprised three main islands: Lesbos itself, Lemnos, and the smaller island of Agios Efstratios. Its capital was the town of Mytilene, on Lesbos. In 2011 the prefecture was abolished and the territory was divided between the regional units of Lesbos and Lemnos.

List of football clubs in Greece

This is a list of football clubs located in Greece and the leagues and divisions they will play in for 2018–19 season.


Megalonisi (Greek: Μεγαλονήσι), also Nisiopi (Greek: Νησιώπη), is a long island near the west coast of the island Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. It is situated in front of Sigri's harbour, and stretches across the mouth of the bay and acts as a buffer to the prevailing winds. In the middle stands Megalonisi Lighthouse to help ships navigate in the rough east Aegean Sea.


Mithymna (Greek pronunciation: [ˈmiθimna]) (Greek: Μήθυμνα, also sometimes spelled Methymna) is a town and former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. Before 1919, its official name was Μόλυβος - Molyvos; that name dates back to the end of the Byzantine Era, but is still in common use today.


Mytilene (Greek: Μυτιλήνη Mytilini [mitiˈlini]) is a city founded in the 11th century BC. Mytilene is the capital city and port of the island of Lesbos and also the capital of the North Aegean Region. The seat of the governor of the North Aegean Region is Mytilene. Mytilene is also one of 13 municipalities (counties) on the island of Lesbos. Mytilene is built on the southeast edge of the island. It is also the seat of a metropolitan bishop of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Mytilene International Airport

Mytilene International Airport "Odysseas Elytis" (IATA: MJT, ICAO: LGMT) is the international airport of Mytilene, the capital of the Greek island Lesbos.

Ottoman conquest of Lesbos

The Ottoman conquest of Lesbos took place in September 1462. The Ottoman Empire, under Sultan Mehmed II, laid siege to the island's capital, Mytilene. After its surrender, the other forts of the island surrendered as well. The event put an end to the semi-independent Genoese lordship that the Gattilusio family had established in the northeastern Aegean since the mid-14th century, and heralded the beginning of the First Ottoman–Venetian War in the following year.

In the mid-14th century, the Gattilusio family had established an autonomous lordship under Byzantine suzerainty on Lesbos. By 1453, the Gattilusio domains had come to include most of the islands in the northeastern Aegean. In the aftermath of the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, however, Mehmed II began reducing the Gattilusio holdings. By the end of 1456, only Lesbos remained in Gattilusio hands, in exchange for an annual tribute to the Sultan. In 1458 Niccolò Gattilusio seized control of the island from his brother, and began preparing for an eventual Ottoman attack. Despite his appeals, however, no help was forthcoming from other Western powers. Mehmed II began his campaign against Lesbos in August 1462, and the Ottomans landed on the island on 1 September. After a few days of skirmishing, the Ottomans brought up their artillery and began bombarding the Castle of Mytilene. By the eighth day, the Ottomans had captured the harbour fortifications, and two days later, they seized the lower town of Melanoudion. At this point, panic set in among the defenders, and their will to continue resisting collapsed. Niccolò Gattilusio surrendered the castle and the rest of the island on 15 September, on promises of receiving estates of equivalent value. In the event, he was taken to Constantinople, where he was soon strangled. Despite promises, many of the defenders were executed, and a large part of the inhabitants were carried off as slaves, as servants in the Sultan's palace, or to help repopulate Constantinople. Ottoman rule on Lesbos lasted, with minor interruptions, until 1912.

Paisius I of Constantinople

Paisius I (? – c. 1688) was a two-time Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople (August 1, 1652 – April 1653, March 1654 – March 1655). He was previously Bishop of Ephesus and Larissa.

Petrified forest of Lesbos

The petrified forest of Lesbos is a petrified forest on Lesbos in Greece.

It has been designated as a protected natural monument. The petrified forest of Lesbos was formed from the fossilized remains of plants, which can be found in many localities on the western part of Lesbos Island. The area enclosed by the villages of Eressos, Antissa and Sigri is very dense in fossilized tree trunks and forms the Petrified Forest of Lesbos, which is managed by the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest. Isolated plant fossils can be found in many other parts of the island, including the villages of Molyvos, Polichnitos, Plomari and Akrasi.

Petrified forest of Lesbos is a major geosite of "Lesvos Geopark".


Plomari (Greek: Πλωμάρι) is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is the only sizable coastal settlement in the south, and the second largest town on Lesbos. The municipal unit of Plomari is the southernmost on Lesbos island and has a land area of 122.452 km² and a 2011 census population of 5,602. Its largest towns or villages are Plomári, the former municipal seat (pop. 2,996), Plagiá (529), Palaiochóri (314), Megalochóri (325), and Akrási (214).


Pordoselene (Ancient Greek: Πορδοσελήνη) or Poroselene (Ποροσελήνη) was a town and polis (city-state) of ancient Aeolis. It was located on the chief island of the Hecatonnesi, a group of small islands lying between Lesbos and the coast of Asia Minor, which was also called Prodoselene. Strabo says that some, in order to avoid the dirty allusion presented by this name, called it Poroselene, which is the form employed by Ptolemy, Pliny the Elder, and Aelian. At a still later time the name was changed into Proselene, under which form the town appears as a bishop's see. Aristotle mentions the town in his History of Animals where it was on the extremity of a road that formed the border between an area of the island that contained weasels and another area that did not have them.The place-name "Nesos Pordoselene" (Νεσος Πορδοσελήνε) appears in the list of tributes to ancient Athens of the year 422/1 BCE but there are different opinions on whether Nesos (or Nasos in the Aeolic dialect) and [Pordoselen were a single city or if they are two different cities.Silver and bronze coins dating from the 5th and 4th centuries BCE are preserved. It is proposed that the small island of Maden Adası or the island of Alibey Adası located between Lesbos and Asia Minor may be the location of Pordoselene, although the second possibility seems to prevail since the archeology and the low fertility of Maden Adası does not show that there has been an old settlement there. The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World equate Nasos and Pordoselene.


Sappho (; Aeolic Greek Ψάπφω Psáppho; c. 630 – c. 570 BC) was an Archaic Greek poet from the island of Lesbos. Sappho is known for her lyric poetry, written to be sung while accompanied by a lyre. In ancient times, Sappho was widely regarded as one of the greatest lyric poets and was given names such as the "Tenth Muse" and "The Poetess". Most of Sappho's poetry is now lost, and what is extant has survived only in fragmentary form, except for one complete poem: the "Ode to Aphrodite". As well as lyric poetry, ancient commentators claimed that Sappho wrote elegiac and iambic poetry. Three epigrams attributed to Sappho are extant, but these are actually Hellenistic imitations of Sappho's style.

Little is known of Sappho's life. She was from a wealthy family from Lesbos, though the names of both of her parents are uncertain. Ancient sources say that she had three brothers; the names of two of them are mentioned in the Brothers Poem discovered in 2014. She was exiled to Sicily around 600 BC, and may have continued to work until around 570. Later legends surrounding Sappho's love for the ferryman Phaon and her death are unreliable.

Sappho was a prolific poet, probably composing around 10,000 lines. Her poetry was well-known and greatly admired through much of antiquity, and she was among the canon of nine lyric poets most highly esteemed by scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria. Sappho's poetry is still considered extraordinary and her works continue to influence other writers. Beyond her poetry, she is well known as a symbol of love and desire between women, with the English words sapphic and lesbian being derived from her own name and the name of her home island respectively.

Sigri (village)

Sigri is a small fishing village near the western tip of Lesbos Island. Its name derives through Greek σίγουρος from the Venetian word siguro, meaning "safe", based on the fact that it has a safe harbour. Sigri has a Turkish castle, built in 1746 during the Ottoman occupation, which looks over the bay and the long island of Nissiopi, which stretches across the mouth of the bay and acts as a buffer to the prevailing winds. The port of Sigri is able to accommodate large vessels, even cruise ship-size ferry boats coming from the mainline. Almost all shipping to Lesbos, however, comes into the east of the island.

There are quite a number of restaurants, specialising naturally in fish, but also in the local delicacies such as a type of spinach, called horta, which is boiled and served with lemon and salt.


Theophrastus (; Greek: Θεόφραστος Theόphrastos; c. 371 – c. 287 BC), a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens at a young age and initially studied in Plato's school. After Plato's death, he attached himself to Aristotle who took to Theophrastus his writings. When Aristotle fled Athens, Theophrastus took over as head of the Lyceum. Theophrastus presided over the Peripatetic school for thirty-six years, during which time the school flourished greatly. He is often considered the father of botany for his works on plants. After his death, the Athenians honoured him with a public funeral. His successor as head of the school was Strato of Lampsacus.

The interests of Theophrastus were wide ranging, extending from biology and physics to ethics and metaphysics. His two surviving botanical works, Enquiry into Plants (Historia Plantarum) and On the Causes of Plants, were an important influence on Renaissance science. There are also surviving works On Moral Characters, On Sense Perception, On Stones, and fragments on Physics and Metaphysics. In philosophy, he studied grammar and language and continued Aristotle's work on logic. He also regarded space as the mere arrangement and position of bodies, time as an accident of motion, and motion as a necessary consequence of all activity. In ethics, he regarded happiness as depending on external influences as well as on virtue.

Vampyros Lesbos

Vampyros Lesbos (Spanish: Las Vampiras) is a 1971 West German-Spanish erotic horror film directed and co-written by Jesús Franco. The film stars Ewa Strömberg as Linda Westinghouse, an American who works in a Turkish legal firm. Westinghouse has a series of erotic dreams that involve a mysterious vampire woman who seduces her before feeding on her blood. When she travels to an island to settle an inheritance, Linda recognizes a woman as the vampire from her dreams.

The film was shot in 1970 in Turkey. It was a popular success in theaters in Europe on its release and was the first film to have a more psychedelic score for a Franco film and the first to have a lesbian theme as a prominent feature of the film. The film's score became popular in the mid-1990s when it was included on the compilation Vampyros Lesbos: Sexadelic Dance Party, an album that became a top ten hit on the British Alternative charts.

Climate data for Mytilene
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 20.2
Average high °C (°F) 12.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 9.5
Average low °C (°F) 6.7
Record low °C (°F) −4.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 129.9
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 9.0 8.1 6.5 4.8 2.7 0.8 0.4 0.4 1.3 3.3 6.8 10.0 54.1
Average relative humidity (%) 71.0 69.8 57.5 63.9 62.6 57.3 56.0 57.4 59.5 66.1 71.0 72.0 64.5
Source #1: Hellenic National Meteorological Service[5]
Source #2: NOAA[6]
Regional unit of Chios
Regional unit of Ikaria
Regional unit of Lemnos
Regional unit of Lesbos
Regional unit of Samos
Subdivisions of the municipality of Lesbos
Municipal unit of Agia Paraskevi
Municipal unit of Agiasos
Municipal unit of Eresos-Antissa
Municipal unit of Evergetoulas
Municipal unit of Gera
Municipal unit of Kalloni
Municipal unit of Loutropoli Thermis
Municipal unit of Mantamados
Municipal unit of Mithymna
Municipal unit of Mytilene
Municipal unit of Petra
Municipal unit of Plomari
Municipal unit of Polichnitos
Landmarks of Lesbos

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