Museum of Natural History of Vrisa

Being eight kilometers long and ten to thirty metres wide, Vatera is one of the most beautiful beaches not only of Greece but also of the whole Mediterranean Sea. It belongs to the village of Vrisa, which is part of the Municipality of Polichnitos. A wide road connects Vatera to Vrisa. This road drives through pebble rock river-torrents and sandy mud. These sediments prove the existence of a river system with riverbeds and flood plains. During the construction of a building in Vatera, the lower jawbone of a provoscidoto (elephant) was initially discovered. The fossil was determined to belong to the species of anarcus arvenencis, an elephant that disappeared 1,6 million years ago. More research led to the discovery of more fossils such as the hooves of a petrified horse, the shell of a turtle and the crumbled jawbone of the carnivorous species nyctereutes. 


The quantity of fossils is unique partly because of the diversity of species and second and more important because of the fossils themselves, some of which are completely unknown and several that are well known in other places: a dwarf antelope, a giant turtle and a big ape. 
A second excavation, organized in September, confirmed the first conclusions. This fossil-bearing spot in Vatera is of great scientific importance as it provides us with significant information concerning the natural environment during the Pliocene, just before the beginning of the Ice Age, a period when the early humans appeared in the Old World. 


The abundance of gazelle, horse and antelope fossils implies a savanna environment. The sediments indicate the existence of a river system where, most probably, forests developed at its banks. The presence of an ape-paradolichopithecus-known only in two places in Europe and the giant turtle constitute the fauna of Vatera unique.
From the beach of Vatera you can see the Isle of Chios. Two million years ago, 
which is also the age of fossils, the view was completely different. Chios was joined to Lesvos. There was a river system with flood plains. There were herds of gazelles and giraffes fed with grass or tree leaves.


The findings of the Vatera excavations are hosted in the old school of Vrisa. It is a particularly interesting collection consisting of a) petrified findings of vertebrate and invertebrate such as biped apes, large horses, gazelles, deers, cattle, mammoths, elephants and other fossils, b) petrology and mineralogy fossils which covers the mining wealth of Lesvos, c) a department of zoology with representative species of the Lesvos fauna, d) a botany department with samples of contemporary and petrified fauna of Lesvos.
In the back yard of the museum a clay model of the giant turtle-in the size of a small car-is exhibited.

Note: The municipality of Polichnitos and those responsible for the planning of this website borrowed the material published from the previously existing publication and have no responsibility whatsoever concerning the texts and photographs since the people in charge of the museum refused access to printed and photographic material.


Historical Folklore Museum


The area of Polichnitos is a place of remarkable natural beauty and great historical tradition. At that place, with donations from the local population a historical folklore museum was found in 1999. There the rich, vivid, authentic History and Folklore of the area is being recorded, restored and presented.
The photographic material which is exposed in the museum draws at memories from other eras, and the objects of the old rural household brings to life scenes from our grandparents everyday life. Here one can look at a rich collection of old tools, relating to all the traditional professions.
The plough and the “dougheni” of the farmer, the bend and the shoe-tree of the shoe maker; the tools of the iron-monger, the carpenter, the stone-chopper which were used to ornate the elaborate houses of the village.


Another pleasant “startle” is the revival of the tradition farmer’s house with the chimney-corner and the “onda” the traditional sitting room, the loom and the other tools of weaving, the jugs and the chests of the warehouse.
Utensils of household used, placed in the proper order create the glimpse of a time where the women of Polichnitos washed their clothes, kneaded their own wheat bread loaves in the wooden troughs and baked it in the built up over in their yards.
Wandering around the various part of the museum brings the visitor; local or foreigner to a deeper contact with the place, the people and their history.
It makes the old ones remember and the younger ones learn about the past. This is what makes this place worthwhile visiting.

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Municipal Unit of Polichnitos