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CIVILIZATION


The island of Lesvos is a richly endowed land

CIVILIZATION AND TRADITION

The island of Lesvos is a richly endowed land. Its natural beauties, its climate and its fertile soil have given birth to a people with a profound sense of beauty and harmony, from the depths of antiquity right up to the present. It is not by chance that even during mythological times Lesvos was known for its flourishing arts.

So this area has given birth to nourished poets like Sappho and Alcaeus in antiquity and Odysseas Elytis in our time, prose writers such as Myrivilis and philosophers such as Pittacus and Theophrastus and painters the like of Theophilos and countless others besides.

FOLK ART

Finds that have come to light after excavations at ancient Thermi, provide evidence for the development of ceramics and the art of working in bronze.

The art of pottery is expressed till today in the town of Ayiassos with means still traditional as: clay, potter's wheels and ovens.

Great strides have been made in wood-carving on Lesvos over the centuries. Having as a base the olive wood, which is plentiful on the island, it has been made intricate wooden iconostases in the churches, wooden chests, imitations of ancient vessels e.t.c.
Folk art


The architecture of Lesvos
THE ARCHITECTURE OF LESVOS

The Turkish invasion and the passage of time caused losses and changes to the town of Mytilene. Unlike these town and country houses - which were designed to answer to the rudimentary needs - were the "towers" with their stone construction, their height, the small fanlights and the projecting balcony to give more room on the upper floor.

Such towers can still be found today, as also several mansions in excellent condition as the Alepoudellis (Elytis) and Papadopoulos. Characteristic of these houses are the Ionic and Doric pillars, facades and niches.

A basic characteristic of almost all the settlements on Lesvos is their "urban" nature. In many places one still finds the row house system and courtyards are entirely absent. In the cases where there are courtyards they are surrounded by high walls and completely cut from the street.

ARTS AND LETTERS

Many celebrities of Literature and Arts, Lesvos made known from antiquity to the present as: the famous philosopher and botanist Theophrastus (387 - 272 B.C.), the historian Theophanes (100 B.C.), the renowed musician and poet Arion (625 - 585 B.C.), Terpander, the great musician and creator of choral poetry (210 B.C.), Pittacus, who was one of the Seven Sages of antiquity.

We can leave out certainly Sappho and Alcaeus, two figures with particular brilliance. Sappho was born at Eressos in 612 B.C. and even today, remains unrivalled, for the passion, the sensitivity and the subtle lyric vibrancy of her lines. During the years leading up to the Greek Revolution, Benjamin of Lesvos was one of the most important and appealing figures and was given the title "Teacher to the Nation".

Intellectual life flourished on the island - in the years immediately following the achievement of Greek independence - with writers such as Stratis Myrivilis, Ilias Venezis e.t.c. Today, a galaxy of writers carries on this blossoming of the arts with the Nobel laureate Odysseas Elytis.

Church

FOLK COSTUMES

Many of the typical, traditional costumes of Lesvos have been preserved and can be seen in a permanent exhibition organized by the Lesvos Women's Association. Woolen capes, furs, overcoats and trousers, women's costumes, gold-embroidered costumes from Plomari, Vrisa and Yera. In the same exhibition, the Association has on display the island's traditional weaving and embroidery. Folk collections with the costumes of Lesvos, each with its own unique exhibits can be found throughout the island and are open to visitors all year round.
 
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