History of Lesvos
The fascinating Lesvos with abundant waters, rich flora and fauna, famed olive groves, sweet Mediterranean climate, spas, the unique fossilized forest, charming settlements and incredible samples of industrial architecture (oil mills, soap making, tanneries) from the island’s industrial development in the 19th century, is bound to impress all visitors. It is the third Greek island in size, after Crete and Evia, with a surface of 1,630 km2 and a coastline of 370 km. It has 90,000 inhabitants. Lesvos is a few miles away from the southwest coast of Turkey, and it is located almost at the entrance of Adramytios bay, north of Chios. It belongs to Lesvos Prefecture which also includes Limnos and Aghios Efstratios. It is famed for its ouzo and olive oil.
In prehistoric times it was called Lasia, for its rich and woody vegetation. It has also been called Imerti (yearned), Pelasgia, Eolida and Makaria. The name Lesvos originated from the mythic hero Lesvos, who arrived here with Lapithes from Thessalia and married Mithymna the daughter of the settler Makara. In prehistoric times, it has been an important center of the NE Aegean civilization, while it reached a great economic, commercial and spiritual heyday during the archaic era (7th-6th century B.C.). It is the place of origin of the famed ancient poets Sapfo and Alkeos. Many Lesbian fighters and members of Filiki Eteria played a leading role in the 1821 revolution against the Turks. Lesvos was liberated in 1912 according to the agreement of the Lausanne Convention. Many refugees from the Asia Minor coast settled on the island after the Asia Minor Disaster (1922) and the subsequent population exchange agreement.
Lesvos contribution to arts and literature has been invaluable. Many prominent personalities were born here, such as Arion, Terpandros, Theofrastos, Pittakos o Mytilineos, Theofilos, Ilias Venezis, Stratis Mirivilis, Argyris Eftaliotis (Kleanthis Michailidis), George Iakovidis and Stratis Eleftheriadis, while the Nobel Prize winner Odysseas Elytis also originated from here. Mytilini is connected by ferry with Piraeus port and by air with Eleftherios Venizelos Athens airport.
Internet web page of the Prefectural Self governance of Lesvos: www.lesvos.gr