The region

Mantamados

Lesbos, a diverse, colorful and sunny island, a place that gives birth to new, revolutionary ideas and finds its power in the crystal waters of the Aegean Sea.

Thousands of years have passed and for us, the people of Mytilene, this island is the most beautiful part of the world. A part of land where its people live, dream and create. An island carved with the spirit of Asia and Europe. And we get a strange feeling each time we encounter a rock or a river that divides these two worlds, as for example the coast of old little villages of Mandamados, like Palios or Aghios Stefanos.

Silver and golden beaches, olive groves that grow deep in the earth and high in the sky. The surroundings make you lose track of time, the people with their large beards and their gentle eyes look as if they’ve come from ancient times, their hands calloused from their hard work on the land. They stayed there for a very long time until the time has come for people and civilizations to start struggling for their lives. Warmongers brought death and destruction and locals lost all their belongings and were obliged to leave their houses and find more peaceful places to live. And that is how they came to Mandamados.

As time went by, this new place built its own wonderful history, especially around the worship of Taxiarchis. And one day in 1922, the people from the other side of the sea were also forced to leave their houses. Many of them found peace and protection with the help of Archangel Taxiarchis who comforts all people at all times and offers his kind blessing.

 

Kapi

In Northeast Lesvos, at an altitude of 300 meters above sea level, on the foothills of the eastern face of Mt. Lepetymnou, we find the village of Kapi.
It is situated 40 klms from the Prefecture’s capital.

At its northernmost and southernmost corners, we find the villages two churches, Agios Georgios (St. George) and Panagia (The Virgin Mary). In the village’s main square, under the shade of a regal plane tree, there is also a small chapel dedicated to Agia Paraskevi. The village’s residents primarily occupy themselves olive oil production and raising livestock. At the same time, most residents maintain small vegetable patches and fruit groves along the eastern side of the village for their own personal needs.

In the 1960s, due to the difficult economic conditions in the village, many of its residents were forced to emigrate. The village has a significant musical tradition, and has always had many musicians amongst its residents. In decades past, there were numerous “musical troupes”, complete with brass sections, that in recent years have been replaced by more modern instruments.

The traditional musical troupes always offered up a good time to the local residents, especially on Sundays and other holidays, in the village’s main square. Today, the village has quite a substantial number of young residents, which occupy themselves with a variety of traditional jobs such as stonemasons, builders, carpenters et al. The women of the village typically produce traditional sweets and “amygdalota” (almond pastries), as well as intricate embroidered goods.

 

Pelopi

The village of Pelopi consisted of 17 villages, whose ruins can be found in the areas of Kambos and Paliochori, near the summit of Ai Ilias. The villages were scattered throughout the area due to the invasions of pirates that caused many problems. When the inhabitants, however, found a proper and forested area they abandoned their villages and built their houses there.

They named this area “Gelia” (Laughter) because they no longer feared the pirates and their lives were joyous. A different version of the etymology says that the village was built on a spot where the rays of sun (Helius) shined on it and that is why it was named Ielia, and then renamed to Gelia. A third version mentioned that the village took its name from the numerous flocks (Ageles).

After World War II, and more specific in 1954, the village was again renamed to Pelopi, as it is named until today. There are two versions for the new name:
According to the first one, the Turkish “Firmani” (decree) from Constantinople, named the village “Pelempe” and the second version asserts that the name derives from pel + opsis which means beautiful look. According to local tradition, King Pelopas also traversed this area.

The village of Pelopi is beautiful, located on one of the slopes of mount Lepetimnos, with a flume running through it, that few years ago gave life to the village. Flour mills, olive press, fields, all were generated and watered by this flume. Numerous little traditional cafes, lying under the shadow, give a rest to the visitors’ eye.

 

Kleio

The village that has been named in honor of the Muse “Kleio” looks down upon the shoreline from an altitude of 350 meters. In the vicinity of Kleio we find numerous ruins of ancient settlements, and recent archaeological digs have brought to light the remains of a community dating back to the early Bronze Age period (around 3200 B.C.) at Paliokastro.

This is the spot where it is believed that a magnificent statue of the Muse Kleio originally stood, prior to being looted by pirates at some point in time. In the city of Heracleia in Italy, there is an ancient mural depicting this Muse, which is considered to be the matron of History and Rhetoric.

The ancient communities that existed here during the middle ages and the Turkish occupation were constantly living under the threat of pirate raids, forcing the locals to head up to the spot where Kleio is today, in order to be able to survey the open seas and be forewarned of any impending attacks.

The first buildings in Kleio were constructed in the area known as Platanos, all the way up to the Hamam (Roman Bath), and were hardly visible from the sea. In the centuries that followed, the village expanded significantly, once the pirates’ raids finally ended.