The Place

A' The Place

By Makis Axiotis
An endless olive grove that slopes down from the high mountains, dominates the hills and overwhelms the ravines, reaching the big plain. It is Gera. Low olive trees, “these age-old, serene trees” of Helias Venezis, reach the sea and shed their shadow over it. The sea, the frothy Aegean, embracing the course of cultures, hits the rocks and enters the beautiful coves of the south coasts; while in the east, the other “waters of Gera”, “the gulf of olive groves”, mirror the “five” (six now) lit up villages, Papados, Plakados, Palaiokipos, Skopelos and Perama.... the power and holding of Odysseas Elytis’ generation. Gera is also full of pines; there is a whole pine forest. How could ever this warm green colour be missing from nature’s painting, matching perfectly with olive tree’s grey and silver! Purple flows inside this green, the purple of heaths; the yellow-green touch of aspen springs up artfully in the plain, and the black-green spear of cypress dominates on the hills. Plane trees, willows, ivy and cyclamens are strewn throughout Gera, following the serpentine course of its rivers and flaming the blue limestone of its mountains. Gera is a place ruled by its mountains and the waters of its gulf and the Aegean. The olive is the fate of its people and the sea is its salty destiny that keeps pace with the destiny of this island, beautiful Lesvos.

The region of Gera’s Municipality forms a rectangle of land. In the east, it reaches the gulf’s waters from which it took its name. It extends from the gulf’s narrow channel up to Agios Therapondas where the Municipality of Evergetoulas begins. In the north, the hills covered with olive trees meet and follow these of Kato Tritos and Mihou. From there, it is connected with the rest of the island. Two asphalted roads - the one on the top as a balcony with wonderful view, and the other one lower next to the beauty of the sea - lead to Evergetoula’s plain. In the south, rocks of marble and schist form steep coasts and capes (Oros, Dalados, Kopela) sinking into the deep blue sea leaving wonderful coves in between, where the olive tree prevails (Myrsinia, Ligonari, Tsaf, Tarti, Fara, Gialiotissa, Ilefkos). Here, Gera’s territory reaches the small harbour of Avlaki. After that, the Municipality of Plomari starts. In this region, a maze of roads leads finally to Agios Issidoros. But the actual connection is made by the ravine created by the water, a unique route under the plane trees and by the myrtle and oleander. In the past, this passage - now asphalted - led to Plomari.

Furthermore, another aspect of natural beauty extends to the Municipality’s west borders. The rocky tops of the mountains overhang there, separating Gera from Agiassos. The unique landscape of chestnuts, cherries and pine trees, typical of the Lesbian mountain Olympos of Agiassos, dominates. The Municipality’s west borders are defined by Petrovouni (755m), its highest mountain top, like a wall of whitish rocks blocking the horizon, and bordering in the northeast with Peristeri (Strovilos 648m). Other typical stone bulks are the trapezoid “Palaiokastro” (405m) in the west of Plakados and the oblong “Oros” (340m) at the edge of the entrance of Gera’s gulf, to the southern coast. The waters gathering on these mountains form mainly two rivers and many small torrents. Both disembogue into the gulf, the one at Evreiaki and the other one near Marmaro.