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
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
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
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.
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.