Molyvos or Mithymna
Molyvos or Mithymna
When somebody travels around Greece, he can find almost everywhere a charming harmonious marriage between history and natural beauty.
Molyvos has the privilege to be one of these places… a picture-postcard seaside village!
Mithymna – today’s Molyvos – is located on the north-western tip of the island. The city,which was embedded in the cliff-face and dominated by the medieval fortress, reached to the sea. The overall picture of the village, with its courtyards and balconies, is not only uniquely beautiful but also a most interesting example of town planning, well-deserving of its protected status.
Molyvos is one of the most ancient towns on the island. It has been, because of its beauty, a place of inspiration for many poets, writers and artists. Anyone who visits this town is amazed every time he sees it appearing in the calm scenery of the olive groove, at the foot of the rock on the top of which the medieval castle dominates. On the far side of the town, there is a picturesque small port that completes this unique image.
Molyvos is also a place of a deep cultural life. This is obvious from its rich cultural past and from its actual cultural activity. Its cultural tradition that is expressed in various ways is a part of the Greek Civilization that has been developed to the east Aegean. The buildings, the popular art, the painting, the literature, the poetry, the dance and the songs reflect all over the island this cultural activity. The visitor discoveries in Molyvos the traditional rhythms that characterize the life when living on an island. The visitor is welcome to be a part of those rhythms thanks to the hospitality of the inhabitants.
Mithymna means “lead” in Greek and the name was given to the city by the Turks. Human presence at Mithymna goes back to prehistoric times. . In the antiquity the city was an important military, commercial and manufacturing centre, with links with Thrace, the Hellespont, and Asia Minor, where, after 770 BC, It founded colonies.
In the Byzantine period (312-1355), it was the target of frequent pirate raids, or served as a refuge for warring rivals. From Byzantine times down to the present, Molyvos has remained and developed in the same geographical position. In the Middle Ages, in order to deal with raids from the sea, and because of a considerable reduction in its population, the town was gradually concentrated in a part only of its initial site and of necessity clustered in the caste area.
From the eleventh century, trade in the Aegean came into the hands of the Genoese and the Venetians. for the former, after Gateluzzi (1355-1462) had established, by peaceful means, their rule in Lesvos, Mithymna was an important commercial port. Having safeguarded their control by building fortifications, they encouraged the cultivation of the olive and the development of the trade in olive oil. It was in this period that the town became known as Molyvos.
The traditional architecture of the town reflects the modus Vivendi and social life styles of the past. In 1965 the competent authorities put a preservation order on the entire settlement of Molyvos (Mithymna), thus declaring it a protected town. Mithymna owns an archaeological collection with impressive findings from the surrounding area, and a library with a collection of over ten thousand volumes and manuscripts.
In the past, music was the beloved activity of the Mithymnian people. Arion was a brilliant poet who set music to verses like no other. Zeus, Dionysos and Hercules were especially worshipped. Vergilius (the ancient Roman poet )mentions that the grapes of Mithymna were unequalled in their nectars and aromas.
Since 1960, tourist development has played a critical role in the life and evolution of Molyvos. Every year a significant number of cultural events and conferences, both national and international, are held in Molyvos Art exhibitions, lectures, theatrical performances and folklore events are held in the town.
Molyvos has a long coast line with pebble stone beaches. The town has two blue flag beaches. Molyvos, a sandy pebble beach stretching towards Petra, ideal for activities like volleyball, water sports such as cannoning or parasailing , Eftalou and Skala Sykamias beaches, famous for their crystal clear waters.
– Diving, swimming, tennis, walking, cycling, fishing, horse riding, wind-surfing, water skiing and mountain-biking.
– Bird watching in spring and autumn and Molyvos is about half an hour from the gulf of Kalloni where many interesting birds can be spotted.
– Mountain bikes can be hired locally.
– Ride donkeys or horses along the many paths in the vicinity of Molyvos.
– For those who crave a little nightlife with their relaxing holiday, Molyvos will not disappoint. There are many bars in town and a few discos and some large clubs on the outskirts of town and enough young people to make it interesting. Those who are into serenity won’t be bothered by the nightlife since the louder clubs seem to be set away from the hotels (with the exception of those by the town beach). Those people, who enjoy an evening of ouzo or wine and deeply profound philosophical conversation about life, love, God and other important matters, should have plenty of company in the various restaurants and cafes around the port.
Eftalou Natural hot springs & Beach
Four kilometres to the northeast of Molyvos there is the summer resort Eftalou, The village is attracting a bit more tourist over the last couple of years after several hotels were built here. The springs are known for their healing power and they are recommended for all kinds of illnesses like rheumatism, arthritis and skin diseases. You can relax on the beaches in one of the bays (some of them for naturists), and swim in the sea. Along the shore the hot mineral water seeps through the rocks and mixes with the sea water in warm pools. The water here can get very hot. The beach and its surroundings are truly beautiful. There are not many facilities on the pebble beach besides one restaurant. Eftalou has a beautiful old bath house that is impressive and very hot. In the building next to it you can take a thermal bath (not free).
Sykamnia and Skala Sykamnias
Sykamnia is a village built on the green slopes of the mountain Lepetymnos. Its characteristic street pattern and the houses made of stone, the mansions with the “sahnisinia”, a traditional architectural element, the inscriptions of the 19th century and the traditional narrow streets; they all compose a harmonious and very beautiful image. The house of the famous Greek writer Stratis Myrivilis, is open to whoever wants to visit it. Three kilometres to the north, there is the village of Skala Sykamnias, a characteristic village inhabited by fishermen. It is the most northern village of the island, facing the seashore of Minor Asia. The visitor we will have the chance to enjoy there one of the most beautiful sunsets. He will also find there the Chapel of “the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mermaid”, which is built on a piece of land that goes into the sea. The chapel was named after the characteristic fresco made by an unknown popular painter and representing the Blessed Virgin Mary with the tail of a mermaid. It is a painting that represents the emotional connection between religion and tradition.