LESBOS East - Thermi

The Thermi area ( now Pirgi Thermis & Loutropoli Thermis)  is historically known as the summer resort for the city’s nobility with house-towers of amazing architecture, known as Pirgi and sun-washed sandy creeks. “ Pyrgi” means towers and according to the old records, 160 such buildings existed once at the village. Very few remain nowadays but they give a general idea of the prevailing local traditional architecture. The remaining Goutoglou, Hadouli, and Angeletou properties are listed buildings. One of the towers has its own private chapel in the courtyard, which was restored a few years ago. The tower itself also contained some of the Theophilos murals, which were thought to be amongst the earlier surviving examples of the painter’s work.

 Pyrgi Thermis, nowadays is a picturesque village, situated 10 km from Mytilene on the coast, with a brand new road leading to it. To the left of the main road, on a rise, stands the Church of Panagia Trouloti, which after the Perivoli Monastery  ( West Lesvos) is perhaps the oldest complete Byzantine building on Lesvos dating quite probably around the 14th Century. Its iconostasis, pulpit and Bishop’s throne are all fine examples of wood carving with the icon of the Virgin Mary and Child on the iconostasis (screen) dating around 1200.

 In 1930 and 1932 archaeological excavations at this location by Winifred Lamb revealed widespread evidence of a settlement of the Trojan, Minoan and Mycenaean periods. Some of the findings (vessels, idols, weapons) are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Mytilene.

 A short distance from the main road, the Kanoni beach, looks very inviting with the clear waters of the Aegean. Very close to Pyrgi Thermis is Loutropolis Thermis, a resort famous for its thermal springs (49.9 o) and spa, very popular in the treatment of rheumatism and gynaecological ailments. The Goddess Artemis, the patron of thermal springs was worshipped here in ancient times and the springs were popular with the Romans,  but excavations as yet have failed to reveal a temple. It was very obvious that there was lots of tourism accommodation available to rent as well as tavernas and restaurants, making every visitor’s stay very comfortable.

 The road leading up from Thermi comes to a fork. Turning left and after 6 km you reach Karyes  Hill and  the famous nunnery of St. Rafael, founded in 1963. The Turks slaughtered the venerated Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene to martyrdom in 1463. Their relics are kept at the two-storey church dedicated to the Saints. Pilgrims from all over the globe visit  the nunnery which is one of the most revered pilgrimages of Greece..

 The Thermi area is known for its dry climate, since the level of humidity around the thermal springs approaches zero. The landscape is green and fertile, with many vegetable and fruit gardens as well as olive groves.

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