Sightseeing – Environment
Churches – Chapels - Monasteries
The “Cave-Hermitage of Agia Paraskevi is carved in “soft” rock.
It dates back to the early Christian ages and, according to Kostas Makistos, it might also have operated as “Asclepieion”(sanctuary for god of medicine and healing, Asclepius). Close to the Cave, we find parts of at least two old Christian Basilicas that indicate that the area has been inhabited for many centuries. Inside the cave, there is a litter source from where Holy Water springs.
On Easter Thursday and Friday, a festivity is being held to honor Agia Paraskevi (Saint Paraskevi). A bull is being sacrificed and locals prepare the traditional “keskets” which is then offered to the congregation, customs that have their roots in antiquity. Today the little church operates as chapel and is open every Friday morning and everyday during August. The Cave is situated within the settlement of Agia Paraskevi.
The Holy Church of Pammegistoi Taxiarches Agias Paraskevis.
It is the Cathedral of Agia Paraskevi. A majestic Basilica, whose construction begun in 1856 and was completed in 1867. The wooden rood screen and the inner decoration of the Temple are quite remarkable, as well as the outer colonnade of the narthex, whose columns come form the ancient temple of Klopedi.
Alongside with the Holy Church of Panagia Agiasou, they are the biggest churches in Lesbos.
The Monastery of Taxiarchi Klopedis (“Metochi Taxiarchi Klopedis”) in Agia Paraskevi.
The monastery was founded by Agios Ignatios Agallianos, in the 16th century and until today it belongs to the Monastery of Limonos. It is situated 4km northwest of Agia Paraskevi, close to the archeological site of the sanctuary of Klopeli. It is dedicated to Archangels Michael and Grabriel and celebrates on September 6th. The double mouthed fountain, with a marble inscription from 1776 is worth noticing.
There is always a priest in the monastery, and it remains open from sunrise to sunset all year round, while visitors can reside for free.
The rich nature of the Llesbian landscape is found in all its glory in the area of the Municipality of Agia Paraskevi.
A great variety of wetland biotopes, that offer shelter to important species of birds, olive groves, fields, pine forest that reach the seaside, salt marshes , water springs and rivers where visitors can find traces of older times, like bridges, water mills, old olive and grape presses and a large number of scattered chapels, most of them built on the ruins of old Christian churches of the early Christian ages.
Three kilometers east of Agia Paraskevi, in the area “Myloi”, runs the river “Mylopotamos” (Mill river). A river that has running water throughout the year and whose water was used in Mills. Actually in the area of Myloi, one can see the ruins of four water mills. A beautiful route that captivates visitors. The water mills, pre-industrial buildings of Lesbos, played an important role from antiquity until early 20th century, when modern steam and petrol engines took their place. The water mill that is best preserved in the whole area is the Hatzigiannis mill.
Saltmarshes & Hydrobiotops (Wetland Biotopes)
The largest and most important part of the Wetland Biotope of Kalloni Gulf belongs to the Municipality of Agia Paraskevi. This wetland biotope is included in the national list of protected areas “Natura 2000” while it is also one of the Important Areas for Birds in Greece.
More specifically (from west to east) the following wetland biotopes belong to the Municipality of Agia Paraskevi:
• River Tsiknias and its mouth,
• River Mylopotamos and its mouth,
• Messa wetland,
• River Vouvaris and its mouth and
• The sea area within the limits of the above.
These wetlands form a special complex within which we find an important variety of bird species. They are also widely known abroad and during the last years, they have become the destination of hundreds of bird watchers.
The importance of these wetlands comes both from their special features and their geographic position, as well as from the fact that they are easily accessible to visitors. Here, we can find birds from Europe, Asia and Africa, while their populations differ according to seasons. Undoubtedly, one of the most important features is the spring migration, when birds coming from Africa, where they have spent the winter, travel to Europe, where they will stay until the end of the summer to breed.
Some of the most important bird species, found commonly in the wetlands of the area are:
• Recurvirostra avocetta,
• Phoenicopterus ruber,
• Himantopus himantopus,
• Tadorna ferruginea,
• Ciconia nigra,
• Ciconia ciconia,
• Burhinus oedicnemus,
• Tringa totanus,
• Egretta alba,
• Egretta garzetta,
• Plegadis falcinellus,
• Philomachus pugnax and other.
The Saltmarshes Alikes, at the south of Agia Paraskevi, cover an area of 3.500 roods and are an importance source of wealth for the area since they produce 35-40 thousands of tons of salt per year.
Apart from their economic importance however, alongside with their peripheral canal and the area of Messa wetland and the mouth of river Vouvari, they constitute one of the most important wetland biotopes of the country, since they offer shelter to a marvelous and numerous variety of birds, most of which are rare.
Black pelicans and flamingos, whose pinkish feathers offer an exotic touch to the scenery, are but some of the rare birds. This makes the area especially attractive to researchers and visitors who wish to observe the birds of the area, but also for all nature lovers, throughout the year, notably in spring time, from March until June.
A special observation tower for wild ducks has been recently constructed in Alikes, the most important wetland of the area.
This constitutes the first infrastructure project on the island which aims at facilitating the visiting birdwatchers. It offers the possibility to effectively observe birds even at the most inaccessible parts of the salt marsh, something which is very important for visitors, while at the same time, it protects the birds from all kinds of disturbance. The observation tower’s orientation offers good light conditions during the morning hours (07.00-12.00).
Municipal unit of Agia Paraskevi