Lesbos Island

Lesbos Island

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Lesbos (ˈle̞zvo̞s) is a Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

. It has an area of 1632 km² (630.1 sq mi) with 320 kilometres (almost 200 miles) of coastline, making it the third largest Greek island. It is separated from Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 by the narrow Mytilini Strait
Mytilini Strait
The Mytilini Strait is a strait in the Aegean Sea that separates the Greek island of Lesbos from Turkey....

.

Lesbos is a separate regional unit of the North Aegean
North Aegean
The North Aegean is one of the thirteen regions of Greece. It comprises the islands of the north-eastern Aegean Sea, except for Samothrace, which belongs to the region of East Macedonia and Thrace, and Imbros and Tenedos which belong to Turkey....

 region, and the only municipality
Communities and Municipalities of Greece
For the new municipalities of Greece see the Kallikratis ProgrammeThe municipalities and communities of Greece are one of several levels of government within the organizational structure of that country. Thirteen regions called peripheries form the largest unit of government beneath the State. ...

 of the regional unit. Its population is approximately 90,000, a third of which lives in its capital, Mytilene, in the southeastern part of the island. The remaining population is distributed in small towns and villages. The largest are Kalloni
Kalloni
Kalloni is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It lies in the west-central part of Lesbos. It has a land area of 241.946 km². At the 2001...

, the Gera Villages, Plomari
Plomari
Plomari is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is the only sizable coastal settlement in the south, and indeed the second largest town on...

, Agiassos, Eresos
Eresos
Eresos and its twin beach village Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of Lesbos. They are villages visited by considerable number of tourists...

, and Molyvos (the ancient Mythymna).

Mytilene was founded in the 11th century BC by the family Penthilidae, who arrived from Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

, and ruled the city-state until a popular revolt (590–580 BC) led by Pittacus of Mytilene
Pittacus of Mytilene
Pittacus was the son of Hyrradius and one of the Seven Sages of Greece. He was a native of Mytilene and the Mytilenaean general who, with his army, was victorious in the battle against the Athenians and their commander Phrynon. In consequence of this victory the Mytilenaeans held Pittacus in the...

 ended their rule. In early Middle Ages, it was under Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and Genovese
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

 rule. Lesbos was conquered by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1462, who ruled the island until the First Balkan War
First Balkan War
The First Balkan War, which lasted from October 1912 to May 1913, pitted the Balkan League against the Ottoman Empire. The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success...

 in 1912, when it became part of the Kingdom of Greece.

Geography


Lesbos lies in the far east of the Aegean sea, facing the Turkish coast (Gulf of Edremit) from the north and east; at the narrowest point, the strait is about 5.5 km (3.4 mi) wide. Its shape is roughly triangular, but it is deeply intruded by the gulfs of Kalloni
Kalloni
Kalloni is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It lies in the west-central part of Lesbos. It has a land area of 241.946 km². At the 2001...

, with an entry on the southern coast, and of Gera
Gera, Greece
Gera is a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is located in the southeastern part of the island, on the southeast side of the Bay of Gera. It has a land...

, in the southeast.

The island is forested and mountainous with two large peaks, Mt. Lepetymnos at 968 m (3,176 ft) and Mt. Olympus at 967 m (3,173 ft), dominating its northern and central sections. The island’s volcanic
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 origin is manifested in several hot spring
Hot spring
A hot spring is a spring that is produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater from the Earth's crust. There are geothermal hot springs in many locations all over the crust of the earth.-Definitions:...

s and the two gulfs.

Lesbos is verdant, aptly named Emerald Island, with a greater variety of flora
Flora
Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous—native plant life. The corresponding term for animals is fauna.-Etymology:...

 than expected for the island's size. Eleven million olive tree
Olive Tree
The Olive Tree was a denomination used for several successive centre-left Italian political coalitions from 1995 to 2007.The historical leader and ideologue of these coalitions was Romano Prodi, Professor of Economics and former leftist Christian Democrat, who invented the name and the symbol of...

s cover 40% of the island together with other fruit tree
Fruit tree
A fruit tree is a tree which bears fruit that is consumed or used by people — all trees that are flowering plants produce fruit, which are the ripened ovaries of flowers containing one or more seeds. In horticultural usage, the term 'fruit tree' is limited to those that provide fruit for...

s. Forests of mediterranean pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

s, chestnut trees and some oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

s occupy 20%, and the remainder is scrub, grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

 or urban. In the western part of the island is the world’s second largest petrified forest of Sequoia
Sequoia (genus)
Sequoia is a genus of redwood coniferous trees in the Sequoioideae subfamily, of the Cupressaceae family. The only extant species of the genus is the Sequoia sempervirens in the Northern California coastal forests ecoregion of Northern California and Southern Oregon in the United States...

.

Climate


The island has a mild Mediterranean climate
Mediterranean climate
A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin, and is a particular variety of subtropical climate...

. The mean annual temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

 is 18 °C (64 °F), and the mean annual rainfall is 750 mm (30 in). Its exceptional sunshine
Sunlight
Sunlight, in the broad sense, is the total frequency spectrum of electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun. On Earth, sunlight is filtered through the Earth's atmosphere, and solar radiation is obvious as daylight when the Sun is above the horizon.When the direct solar radiation is not blocked...

 makes it one of the sunniest islands in the Aegean Sea. Snow and very low temperatures are rare.

History



According to Classical Greek mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

, Lesbos was the patron god
God (male deity)
A god, as a male deity, contrasts with female deities, or "goddesses". While the term 'goddess' specifically refers to a female deity, the plural 'gods' can be applied to all gods collectively, regardless of gender....

 of the island. Macar was reputedly the first king whose many "daughters" bequeathed their names to some of the present larger towns. In Classical myth his "sister", Canace
Canace
In Greek mythology, Canace was a daughter of Aeolus and Enarete, and lover of Poseidon.Canace had seven brothers and six sisters. Her brothers were Athamas, Cretheus, Deioneus, Macar , Perieres, Salmoneus and Sisyphus. Her sisters were Alcyone, Arne, Calyce, Peisidice, Perimele and Tanagra...

, was killed to have him made king. The place names with female origins are likely to be much earlier settlements named after local goddesses, who were replaced by gods. Homer refers to the island as "Macaros edos", the seat of Macar. Hittite
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 records from the Late Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 name the island Lazpa and must have considered its population significant enough to allow the Hittites to "borrow their gods" (presumably idols) to cure their king when the local gods were not forthcoming. It is believed that emigrants from mainland Greece, mainly from Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

, entered the island in the Late Bronze Age and bequeathed it with the Aeolic dialect of the Greek language, whose written form survives in the poems of Sappho
Sappho
Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet, born on the island of Lesbos. Later Greeks included her in the list of nine lyric poets. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC, but little is known for certain about her life...

, amongst others.

The abundant gray pottery ware found on the island and the worship of Cybele
Cybele
Cybele , was a Phrygian form of the Earth Mother or Great Mother. As with Greek Gaia , her Minoan equivalent Rhea and some aspects of Demeter, Cybele embodies the fertile Earth...

, the great mother-goddess of Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

, suggest the cultural continuity of the population from Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 times. When the Persian king Cyrus
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

 defeated Croesus
Croesus
Croesus was the king of Lydia from 560 to 547 BC until his defeat by the Persians. The fall of Croesus made a profound impact on the Hellenes, providing a fixed point in their calendar. "By the fifth century at least," J.A.S...

 (546 BC) the Ionic Greek cities of Anatolia and the adjacent islands became Persian subjects and remained such until the Persians were defeated by the Greeks at the Battle of Salamis
Battle of Salamis
The Battle of Salamis was fought between an Alliance of Greek city-states and the Persian Empire in September 480 BCE, in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens...

 (480 BC). The island was governed by an oligarchy
Oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...

 in archaic times, followed by quasi-democracy in classical times
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

. For a short period it was a member of the Athenian confederacy
Delian League
The Delian League, founded in circa 477 BC, was an association of Greek city-states, members numbering between 150 to 173, under the leadership of Athens, whose purpose was to continue fighting the Persian Empire after the Greek victory in the Battle of Plataea at the end of the Greco–Persian Wars...

, its apostasy from which is described in a stirring chapter of Thucydides
Thucydides
Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

' history of the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

. In Hellenistic times, the island belonged to various Successor kingdoms
Diadochi
The Diadochi were the rival generals, family and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for the control of Alexander's empire after his death in 323 BC...

 until 79 BC when it passed into Roman
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 hands.
During the Middle Ages it belonged to the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. In 803, the Byzantine Empress Irene was exiled to Lesbos, forced to spin wool to support herself, and died there.

After the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 (1202–1204) the island passed to the Latin Empire
Latin Empire
The Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople is the name given by historians to the feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261...

, but was reconquered by the Byzantines in 1247. In 1355, it was granted to the Genoese
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

 Gattilusi family for economic and political reasons. The island was conquered by the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1462. It remained under Turkish rule, named Midilli in Turkish, until 1912 when it was taken by Greek forces during the First Balkan War
First Balkan War
The First Balkan War, which lasted from October 1912 to May 1913, pitted the Balkan League against the Ottoman Empire. The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success...

. The cities of Mytilene and Mithymna have been bishoprics since the 5th century.

The oldest artifacts found on the island date to the Paleolithic period. Important archaeological sites on the island are the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 cave of Kagiani, probably a refuge for shepherds, the Neolithic settlement of Chalakies, and the extensive habitation of Thermi (3000–1000 BC). The largest habitation is found in Lisvori (2800–1900 BC) part of which is submerged in shallow coastal waters. There are also several archaic, classical Greek and Roman remains. Vitruvius called the ancient city of Mytilene "magnificent and of good taste". Remnants of its medieval history are three impressive castles.

Lesbos is the birthplace of several famous persons. In archaic times, Arion
Arion
Arion was a kitharode in ancient Greece, a Dionysiac poet credited with inventing the dithyramb: "As a literary composition for chorus dithyramb was the creation of Arion of Corinth," The islanders of Lesbos claimed him as their native son, but Arion found a patron in Periander, tyrant of Corinth...

 developed the type of poem called dithyramb
Dithyramb
The dithyramb was an ancient Greek hymn sung and danced in honour of Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility; the term was also used as an epithet of the god: Plato, in The Laws, while discussing various kinds of music mentions "the birth of Dionysos, called, I think, the dithyramb." Plato also...

, the progenitor of tragedy, and Terpander
Terpander
Terpander , of Antissa in Lesbos, was a Greek poet and citharede who lived about the first half of the 7th century BC.About the time of the Second Messenian War, he settled in Sparta, whither, according to some accounts, he had been summoned by command of the Delphic Oracle, to compose the...

 invented the seven note musical scale for the lyre. Two of the nine lyric poets
Nine lyric poets
The nine lyric poets were a canon of archaic Greek composers esteemed by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria as worthy of critical study.They were:*Alcman of Sparta...

 in the Ancient Greek canon, Alcaeus
Alcaeus
Alcaeus may refer to:*Alcaeus , a writer of ten plays of the Old Comedy.*Alcaeus , one of several figures of this name in Greek mythology*12607 Alcaeus - a main belt asteroid...

 and Sappho
Sappho
Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet, born on the island of Lesbos. Later Greeks included her in the list of nine lyric poets. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC, but little is known for certain about her life...

, were from Lesbos. Phanias
Phanias
Phanias may refer to:* A historic person:** Phanias of Eresus in Lesbos, Greek philosopher** Phanias , a Stoic philosopher, disciple of Posidonius...

 wrote history. The seminal artistic creativity of those times brings to mind the myth of Orpheus
Orpheus
Orpheus was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music; his attempt to retrieve his wife from the underworld; and his death at the hands of those who...

 to whom Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

 gave a lyre
Lyre
The lyre is a stringed musical instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek "λύρα" and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script...

 and the Muse
Muse
The Muses in Greek mythology, poetry, and literature, are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge, related orally for centuries in the ancient culture, that was contained in poetic lyrics and myths...

s taught to play and sing. When Orpheus incurred the wrath of the god Dionysus he was dismembered by the Maenads and of his body parts his head and his lyre found their way to Lesbos where they have "remained" ever since. Pittacus was one of the Seven Sages of Greece
Seven Sages of Greece
The Seven Sages or Seven Wise Men was the title given by ancient Greek tradition to seven early 6th century BC philosophers, statesmen and law-givers who were renowned in the following centuries for their wisdom.-The Seven Sages:Traditionally, each of the seven sages represents an aspect of worldly...

. In classical times Hellanicus advanced historiography, Theophrastus
Theophrastus
Theophrastus , a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens at a young age, and initially studied in Plato's school. After Plato's death he attached himself to Aristotle. Aristotle bequeathed to Theophrastus his writings, and...

, the father of botany, succeeded Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 as the head of the Lyceum. Aristotle and Epicurus
Epicurus
Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism.Only a few fragments and letters remain of Epicurus's 300 written works...

 lived there for some time, and it is there that Aristotle began systematic zoological investigations. In later times lived Theophanes
Theophanes
-Saints:*Theodorus and Theophanes , called the Grapti, proponents of the veneration of images during the second Iconoclastic controversy*Theophanes the Confessor Byzantine 8th-9th century historian*Theophan the Recluse Russian saint...

, the historian of Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

's campaigns, Longus wrote the famous novel Daphnis and Chloe
Daphnis and Chloe
Daphnis and Chloe is the only known work of the 2nd century AD Greek novelist and romancer Longus.-Setting and style:It is set on the isle of Lesbos during the 2nd century AD, which is also assumed to be the author's home. Its style is rhetorical and pastoral; its shepherds and shepherdesses are...

, and much later the historian Doukas wrote the history of the early Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. In modern times the poet Odysseus Elytis, descendant of an old family of Lesbos received the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

.

Sights


Twelve historic churches on the island were listed together on the 2008 World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund is a private, international, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture and cultural heritage sites around the world through fieldwork, advocacy, grantmaking, education, and training....

's Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world. Exposure to the elements, outmoded conservation methods, and increased tourism are all threats to the structures. It is hoped that increased attention to their declining states will aid in their preservation.

Petrified forest


Lesbos contains one of the few known petrified forest
Petrified Forest
A petrified forest is a forest in which tree trunks have fossilized as petrified wood.Petrified Forest may refer to:*Lake Macquarie Petrified Forest, Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia*Mississippi Petrified Forest, Mississippi, United States...

s and has been declared a Protected Natural Monument, included also in the European Geopark
Geopark
A Geopark is defined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in its UNESCO Geoparks International Network of Geoparks programme as follows:...

 Network. Fossilised plants have been found in many localities on the western part of the island. The fossilised forest was formed during the Late Oligocene
Oligocene
The Oligocene is a geologic epoch of the Paleogene Period and extends from about 34 million to 23 million years before the present . As with other older geologic periods, the rock beds that define the period are well identified but the exact dates of the start and end of the period are slightly...

 to Lower–Middle Miocene
Miocene
The Miocene is a geological epoch of the Neogene Period and extends from about . The Miocene was named by Sir Charles Lyell. Its name comes from the Greek words and and means "less recent" because it has 18% fewer modern sea invertebrates than the Pliocene. The Miocene follows the Oligocene...

, by the intense volcanic activity in the area. Neogene volcanic rock
Volcanic rock
Volcanic rock is a rock formed from magma erupted from a volcano. In other words, it is an igneous rock of volcanic origin...

s dominate the central and western part of the island, comprising andesite
Andesite
Andesite is an extrusive igneous, volcanic rock, of intermediate composition, with aphanitic to porphyritic texture. In a general sense, it is the intermediate type between basalt and dacite. The mineral assemblage is typically dominated by plagioclase plus pyroxene and/or hornblende. Magnetite,...

s, dacite
Dacite
Dacite is an igneous, volcanic rock. It has an aphanitic to porphyritic texture and is intermediate in composition between andesite and rhyolite. The relative proportions of feldspars and quartz in dacite, and in many other volcanic rocks, are illustrated in the QAPF diagram...

s and rhyolite
Rhyolite
This page is about a volcanic rock. For the ghost town see Rhyolite, Nevada, and for the satellite system, see Rhyolite/Aquacade.Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic composition . It may have any texture from glassy to aphanitic to porphyritic...

s, ignimbrite
Ignimbrite
An ignimbrite is the deposit of a pyroclastic density current, or pyroclastic flow, a hot suspension of particles and gases that flows rapidly from a volcano, driven by a greater density than the surrounding atmosphere....

, pyroclastics, tuff
Tuff
Tuff is a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash ejected from vents during a volcanic eruption. Tuff is sometimes called tufa, particularly when used as construction material, although tufa also refers to a quite different rock. Rock that contains greater than 50% tuff is considered...

s, and volcanic ash
Volcanic ash
Volcanic ash consists of small tephra, which are bits of pulverized rock and glass created by volcanic eruptions, less than in diameter. There are three mechanisms of volcanic ash formation: gas release under decompression causing magmatic eruptions; thermal contraction from chilling on contact...

. The products of the volcanic activity covered the vegetation
Vegetation
Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region; it refers to the ground cover provided by plants. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular taxa, life forms, structure, spatial extent, or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. It is broader...

 of the area and the fossilization process took place during favourable conditions. The fossilized plants are silicified remnants of a sub-tropical forest that existed on the north-west part of the island 20-15 million years ago.

Administration


Lesbos is a separate regional unit of the North Aegean
North Aegean
The North Aegean is one of the thirteen regions of Greece. It comprises the islands of the north-eastern Aegean Sea, except for Samothrace, which belongs to the region of East Macedonia and Thrace, and Imbros and Tenedos which belong to Turkey....

 region, and the only municipality
Communities and Municipalities of Greece
For the new municipalities of Greece see the Kallikratis ProgrammeThe municipalities and communities of Greece are one of several levels of government within the organizational structure of that country. Thirteen regions called peripheries form the largest unit of government beneath the State. ...

 of the regional unit. As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the regional unit Lesbos was created out of part of the former Lesbos Prefecture
Lesbos Prefecture
Lesbos Prefecture was one of the prefectures of Greece. It consisted of three main islands: Lesbos itself, Lemnos, and the smaller island of Agios Efstratios. In 2011 the prefecture was abolished and the territory is now covered by the peripheral units of Lesbos and Lemnos...

. At the same reform, the current municipality Lesbos was created out of the 13 former municipalities:
  • Agia Paraskevi
    Agia Paraskevi, Lesbos
    Agia Paraskevi is a village and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is located in the central part of the island, on the northeast shore of the Bay of...

     (Αγία Παρασκευή)
  • Agiasos
    Agiasos
    Agiasos is a small town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit...

     (Αγιάσος)
  • Gera
    Gera, Greece
    Gera is a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is located in the southeastern part of the island, on the southeast side of the Bay of Gera. It has a land...

     (Γέρα)
  • Eresos-Antissa
    Eresos-Antissa
    Eresos-Antissa is a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is located in the westernmost part of the island, and is the largest municipal unit of the island...

     (Ερεσός-Άντισσα)
  • Evergetoulas
    Evergetoulas
    Evergetoulas is a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is located in the eastern part of the island, inland from the Aegean Sea, but on the Bay of Gera....

     (Ευεργέτουλας)
  • Kalloni
    Kalloni
    Kalloni is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It lies in the west-central part of Lesbos. It has a land area of 241.946 km². At the 2001...

     (Καλλονή)
  • Loutropoli Thermis
    Loutropoli Thermis
    Loutropoli Thermis is a village and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is located on the central east coast of the island. It has a land area of...

     (Λουτρόπολη Θερμής)
  • Mantamados
    Mantamados
    Mantamados is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is located at the northeast corner of the island, and has a land area of 122.435 km²....

     (Μανταμάδος)
  • Mithymna
    Mithymna
    Mithymna is a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. The second most important town of the island, it is located NE of Eressos, N of Plomari and NW of...

     (Μήθυμνα)
  • Mytilene
    Mytilene
    Mytilene is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is the capital of the island of Lesbos. Mytilene, whose name is pre-Greek, is built on the...

     (Μυτιλήνη)
  • Petra
    Petra, Lesbos
    Petra is a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit...

     (Πέτρα)
  • Plomari
    Plomari
    Plomari is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is the only sizable coastal settlement in the south, and indeed the second largest town on...

     (Πλωμάρι)
  • Polichnitos
    Polichnitos
    Polichnitos is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 5,288 . The municipal unit is located in the central south coast of the island,...

     (Πολίχνιτος)

Economy


Economy of Lesbos is essentially agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

. Olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

 is the main source of income
Income
Income is the consumption and savings opportunity gained by an entity within a specified time frame, which is generally expressed in monetary terms. However, for households and individuals, "income is the sum of all the wages, salaries, profits, interests payments, rents and other forms of earnings...

. Tourism in Mytilene
Mytilene
Mytilene is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is the capital of the island of Lesbos. Mytilene, whose name is pre-Greek, is built on the...

, encouraged by its international airport and the coastal towns of Petra
Petra, Lesbos
Petra is a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit...

, Plomari
Plomari
Plomari is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is the only sizable coastal settlement in the south, and indeed the second largest town on...

, Molyvos and Eresos
Eresos
Eresos and its twin beach village Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of Lesbos. They are villages visited by considerable number of tourists...

, contribute substantially to the economy of the island. Fishing
Fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

 and the manufacture
Manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

 of soap
Soap
In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid.IUPAC. "" Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. . Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford . XML on-line corrected version: created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN...

 and ouzo
Ouzo
Ouzo is an anise-flavored aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus, and a symbol of Greek culture.-History:Traditionally, tsipouro is said to have been the pet project of a group of 14th century monks living in a monastery on holy Mount Athos. One version of it is flavored with anise...

, the Greek national liqueur
Liqueur
A liqueur is an alcoholic beverage that has been flavored with fruit, herbs, nuts, spices, flowers, or cream and bottled with added sugar. Liqueurs are typically quite sweet; they are usually not aged for long but may have resting periods during their production to allow flavors to marry.The...

, are the remaining sources of income.

Ouzo


Ouzo, the traditional distilled Greek beverage, has its centre of production in Lesbos with many different companies. Some of them are Ouzo Mini, Giannatsi, Barbayannis, Matis, Plomari, Veto, Pitsiladi, Kefi, Samara.

LGBT Tourism


One meaning of the word lesbian
Lesbian (disambiguation)
Lesbian can mean:* A lesbian, a female romantically and/or sexually attracted only to other females* An inhabitant of Lesbos, the island in Greece* The Aeolic Greek dialect, also known as the Lesbian Greek dialect...

derives from the poems of Sappho
Sappho
Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet, born on the island of Lesbos. Later Greeks included her in the list of nine lyric poets. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC, but little is known for certain about her life...

, who was born in Lesbos and who wrote with powerful emotional content directed toward other females. It is due to this association that Lesbos and especially the town of Eresos
Eresos
Eresos and its twin beach village Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of Lesbos. They are villages visited by considerable number of tourists...

, her birthplace, are visited frequently by lesbian tourists, much to the chagrin of some deeply conservative and traditionalist Greek Orthodox elements of the island's population. In 2008, a group of Lesbos islanders lost a court case against the Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece. The Lesbos islander group had requested a legal injunction to bar homosexual groups from using the word "lesbian" in their names, which the petitioners claim violated their human rights as it is "insulting" and disgraces them around the world.

Notable people

  • Terpander
    Terpander
    Terpander , of Antissa in Lesbos, was a Greek poet and citharede who lived about the first half of the 7th century BC.About the time of the Second Messenian War, he settled in Sparta, whither, according to some accounts, he had been summoned by command of the Delphic Oracle, to compose the...

     (7th century BC), poet and citharede
  • Alcaeus of Mytilene (7th century BC), poet and politician
  • Sappho
    Sappho
    Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet, born on the island of Lesbos. Later Greeks included her in the list of nine lyric poets. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC, but little is known for certain about her life...

     (7th and 6th centuries BC), poet
  • Aristotle
    Aristotle
    Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

     (384 BC – 322 BC), philosopher, was born in Chalkidike but lived for a time on the island.
  • Theophrastus
    Theophrastus
    Theophrastus , a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens at a young age, and initially studied in Plato's school. After Plato's death he attached himself to Aristotle. Aristotle bequeathed to Theophrastus his writings, and...

     (370–285 BC), philosopher and botanist
  • Theoctiste of Lesbos
    Theoctiste of Lesbos
    Theoctiste of Lesbos is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the communion of Eastern Catholic and Latin Rite Catholic Churches.Born on the island of Lesbos, Theoctiste was orphaned as a child...

     (9th century), hermit saint
  • Christopher of Mytilene
    Christopher of Mytilene
    Christopher of Mytilene was a Greek-language poet living in the first half of the 11th century. His works include poems on various subjects and four Christian calendars.- Biography :...

     (11th century), poet
  • Hayreddin Barbarossa (1470s–1546), Ottoman admiral
  • Georgios Jakobides
    Georgios Jakobides
    'Georgios Jakobides was a Greek painter and one of the main representatives of the Greek artistic movement of the Munich School. He founded and was the first curator of the National Gallery of Greece in Athens.- Life :His first education was in Izmir, Turkey...

     (1853–1932), painter
  • Theophilos Hatzimihail
    Theophilos Hatzimihail
    Theophilos Hatzimihail , known simply as Theophilos, was a major folk painter of Neo-Hellenic art...

     (c. 1870–1934), painter
  • Tériade
    Tériade
    Tériade was a native of Mytilene who went to Paris in 1915 at the age of eighteen to study law, but who instead became an art critic, patron, and, most significantly, a publisher....

     (1889–1983), art critic, patron, and publisher
  • Hermon di Giovanno (c. 1900–1968), painter
  • Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha
    Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha
    Hüseyin Hilmi Pasha was a statesman and twice Grand vizier of the Ottoman Empire in the wake of the Second Constitutional Era and was also Co-founder and Head of the Turkish Red Crescent...

     Ottoman Grand Vizier 1909-1910
  • Odysseas Elytis
    Odysseas Elytis
    Odysseas Elytis was regarded as a major exponent of romantic modernism in Greece and the world. In 1979 he was bestowed with the Nobel Prize in Literature.-Biography:...

     (1911–1996), poet
  • Tzeli Hadjidimitriou
    Tzeli Hadjidimitriou
    Tzeli Hadjidimitriou is a Greek photographer and writer. She is specialized in landscape, interiors, archaeological and art works photography...

     (b. 1962), photographer and writer
  • Stratis Myrivilis
    Stratis Myrivilis
    Stratis Myrivilis , a major figure in the literary history of 20th Century Greece, is the pseudonym of Efstratios Stamatopoulos. He wrote mostly fiction: novels, novellas, and short stories.- Biography :...

     (1890–1969), writer
  • Ahmed Djemal
    Ahmed Djemal
    Djemal Pasha or Ahmed Djemal , was a Young Turk and member of the Three Pashas. Ahmed Djemal was also Mayor of Istanbul.- Biography :...

     (1872-1922), Ottoman commander, politician
  • Kostas Kenteris
    Konstantinos Kenteris
    Konstandinos Kenderis, also spelled as Konstadinos Kederis is a former Greek athlete...

    , athlete notorious for an olympic doping scandal

See also

  • Adobogiona
    Adobogiona
    Adobogiona was a Celtic Galatian princess from Anatolia. She was the daughter of Deiotarus and sister to Brogitarus from the Tolistobogii tribe. Her cousin was the King Deiotarus, a Roman client king of the triumvir Pompey....

    —an inscription in Lesbos honors this Celt
    Celt
    The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Roman-era Europe who spoke Celtic languages.The earliest archaeological culture commonly accepted as Celtic, or rather Proto-Celtic, was the central European Hallstatt culture , named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria....

    ic princess.
  • Aeolic Greek
    Aeolic Greek
    Aeolic Greek is a linguistic term used to describe a set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia , Thessaly, and in the Aegean island of Lesbos and the Greek colonies of Asia Minor ....

  • Assos
    Assos
    Assos , also known as Behramkale or for short Behram, is a small historically rich town in the Ayvacık district of the Çanakkale Province, Turkey....

  • Lesbian wine
    Lesbian wine
    Lesbian wine is wine made on the Greek island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea. The island has a long history of winemaking dating back to at least the 7th century BC when it was mentioned in the works of Homer. During this time the area competed with the wines of Chios for the Greek market...

  • LGBT tourism
  • List of islands of Greece
  • List of traditional Greek place names
  • University of the Aegean
    University of the Aegean
    The University of the Aegean is a state, multi-campus university located in Mytilene, Greece. The university was officially founded in 1984, although its historical roots date back to the early 1920s...


External links