LESBOS East - Mystegna

Exiting from the north end of Mytilini and continuing along the east coast, past rocky beaches and dense olive groves, we come to Mystegna.  The village of Mistegna is situated on the left on a hill with panoramic views of the distant horizon and the Aegean Sea.  It is a beautiful traditional village, with a few mansions and a Basilica dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (built in 1860), by the plane tree. Here at Mistegna, a famous type of pink/red stone is extracted and it is used extensively in the island architecture.

During the summer, the inhabitants move to the village's small bay, and it’s Skala, a favourite spot for summer visitors where the ruins of a seaside, small, ancient village can be found. The small picturesque harbour is lined with tavernas, small cafes, and tourist accommodation, although the best part of the village consists of private homes for the local people. Both villages are surrounded by olive groves.

In Plati, located predictably on a big plateau, with wonderful views, there is a Byzantine castle built at the site of a big prehistoric town. Along the river that comes from the valley, on both sides, there are ruins of churches and houses that probably belong to the medieval small town, called Kydona.

Leaving Mystegna, at an altitude of 300 m we arrive at Nees Kydonies (Baltziki), a small market town. At its Skala, located 2.5 km away you can find a good pebble beach with interesting rocks, set among gardens and orchards.

The name of the originally Turkish village Baltzik was changed to Nees Kydonies in 1922 by the refugees from Ayvalik who settled there. The mosque of the village was converted to the Church of St Georgios the Chiopoliti. At the seaside of the village, the landscape is completed by the picturesque small port and the mole of an ancient port.

The next beaches you could stop for a cooling dip in the clear waters of the Aegean is Aspropotamos and Agios Stefanos surrounded by pine trees. At the area of Agios Stefanos you can visit the traditional kilns of  the only group of  potters left  that produce these days the  Mandamados' traditional koumari , = water carrying vessel. Most ceramists in the area who started working the traditional way have now adjusted their art to the techniques of the modern equivalent.

At a distance of about 200 metres from the kilns, at the position Troupia (Tropea, meaning trophy) you can visit the humble Chapel of St Stephanos (the oldest on the island), among quiet olive groves. The archaeologists place the construction of the chapel around 1100 A.C. It is said that the chapel was the area's Parochial Church and it represents the inhabitants' victory against the pirates.

 Opposite Agios Stefanos between Karava and Palios, you can see the four small uninhabited islands of "Tokmakia" and "Aspronisia".  The locals like to go fishing around their hidden coves and lots of birds make their homes there. Many writers and academics have written in their works the best things about this very beautiful and unknown part of the island.

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