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Villages
Agiasos


Agiassos is 26 kilometers from Mytilini town on the pine and olive covered slopes of Mount Olympos. The amount of geenery here is stunning. There are plentiful platanos, apple, chestnut, pear and cherry trees as well as varieties of other trees and shrubs.

The town itself is a completely traditional village of narrow stone streets and picturesque lanes. Many of the houses have projecting upper floors known as sachnisia with wooden balconies decorated with flower pots of begonias, carnations, geraniums and other ornamental plants.

The industrious women of Agiassos still spin and weave. For many years the town was known for its pottery and this tradition is carried on today. There is also a high level of wood-carving. The craftsmen make beautiful carved wooden icons and furniture.

Agiassos is the known throughout Greece for the church to the Virgin Mary, the Panagia ti Vrefokratousa in the center of town. It is second only to the island of Tinos for pilgrims who used to walk the old stone road from Mytilini to pay tribute to the miracle working icon, brought here from Jerusalem by the imperial priest Agathon the Ephesian in the year 803.

In 1701 Agiassos, because of a miracle by the Blessed Virgin who cured the Turkish administrator of an illness was absolved by Sultans decree of having to pay taxes to the Ottoman government and many people moved there until it was recinded in 1783.

Pilgrims still come throughout the year but especially on the eve of the feast day of the Panagia (August 15th). The worshippers come into the monk cells and the church enclosure, many of them having spent 15 days waiting outside. Many still walk from all over the island to give offerings to the icon. After the service the icon is paraded around with great pomp.

The festival also attracts many merchants and there is a great deal of celebration in the nightspots of the town. It is quite a party and the musicans keep it going until dawn.

The center of night activity revolves around the many cafeneons that surround the church and some others in the upper village. Men drink ouzo and eat special meze dishes that are cooked by the cafe proprietors. The village is at a high enough altitude to be cool in the hot summer months and once you get a feel for life there you will never miss the beach. Since most of the islands tourist activity takes place on the beaches and the coastal towns, places like Agiassos have maintained their traditions and time spent here is similar to the way it would have been 100 years ago. In the lower part of the village there are several restaurants that cater to visitors, mostly Greeks who have come to see the church and the icons. If you are coming here by car it is recommended you leave it here and walk up through the village and avoid the stress of having to stop and go on a ninety degree hill that makes San Francisco look like the plains of Iowa.

Then walk up through the village, see the church and find a nice little cafe for a meal and a drink. There are plenty and they are all great. On the road to Agiasou from Mytilini there is a tiny settlement called Karini which should not be missed. There are several cafeneons and a very nice restaurant next to an amazing spring that pours from the ground into a large pool and then is channeled into a fast moving stream that flows down the mountain to the fields and villages below. The area is shaded and cool, with ducks swimming in the spring water. You can walk down the steps and cool your feet in the torrent. On the other side of the restaurant is a large platanos tree, one of the biggest on the island. The hollow of the tree is a room, and I was told is where the artist Theophilos lived for a time. If you are traveling with children this is a great place to stop and spend an hour or so since the ducks, stream and tree will keep them entertained. If you are on the island during summer and need a break from the heat and have had your fill of the sea then come up here and bring a good book. You will discover that it's better than an air-conditioned hotel room.

 
Thermi


In the Eastern side of Lesvos there is a thick olive and citrus grove. The region took its name from its thermal baths, the therapeutic qualities of which are well known. Some excavations in the area 'Kanoni' brought to light corpses of the prehistoric settlement of the first Copper Age, Also some settlements and aqueduct from the Roman epoch are very well preserved.

The dome-shaped church of the 'Virgin' is one of the best Byzantine monuments of the island. Taking a walk in the stone paving streets of Thermi, seeing the picturesque coffee bars and restaurants, admiring the manner houses and the Venetian towers are some of the things that will make a wonderful impression. In the vicinity of Thermi, up on the hill 'Karyon' is located the holy monastery of St. Raphael, the brilliance and majesty of which have worldwide significance.

 
Clio


The village of Clio, named after the ancient muse "Clio", from an altitude of 350 meters has a view over the beach and its origins as in the surroundings of the village there are ruins of ancient towns. A recent research has revealed an ancient town of the early Copper Era that dates back to 3200 a. C, situated at the area called Paliocastro. At this area it is believed that there was a statue representing the Muse. It was taken by the pirates but we don't know when. There was found accidentally at/in Heraklio (ancient town) of Italy a fresco representing the Muse, protector of the History and the Rhetoric. The natives of the ancient towns, we mentioned above, during the dark years of the Middle Age and before the conquest made by the Turkish in 1453, had to move at the place, where Clio is situated today, because of the pirates. They wanted to survey the sea in order to prevent the dangerous and bloody raids. The first buildings were extended from the position "Platanos" to the position "Hamam" and there were not visible from the sea.

 
Agra


Agra is a beautiful picturesque village built on a high ground. At the village' s entrance there is a little pinewood but you will be stricken by the very old plane tree with its suggestive bulk in the middle of the village's square.

The churches of St. Demetrios and Taxiarchis are wonderful with their wood carved iconostases and old ecclesiastical books. To a brief distance far from the village there is a place named 'Makara', which, according to some myths, it was supposed to be the settlement of the first king of Lesvos, Makara. In the region are kept ruins of pelagic walls.

 
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