When you arrive at an island you don’t usually expect to be charmed by the green landscapes. But that is not the case with the vigorous island of Lesvos, as the third biggest island in Greece is proud of it’s mountaintops, its olive groves, its plane trees and its waterfalls. This island will mesmerize you with its montane and Aegean-sea character.
At the foothills of the imposing mount Olympus lies a village well-hidden and untouched by modern ways, still vibrant and filled with traditions and pure truth. Agiasos, majestic in its simplicity and essence, creates a lasting impression on every traveler that visits this place, with its meticulous balconies, the dialect and the folk art that appears on every corner.
The music culture has defined the sound of the island for centuries and retains the “sandouri” , or zither, rhythm as loud as ever. Astonishing woodcarving and adorned ceramics form the base of the artistic palette of this village, along with the unspoiled local architecture. Tile roofs made of stone and wooden balconies, called “sachnisinia”, are protruding above the cobbled streets.
There are dozens of things that define this vivid village, like the countless natural gifts that the 2,500 residents of this village came to love and respect, while coexisting harmonically with Nature.
All sorts of fruits and nuts are found in this village, from chestnuts and walnuts to olives, and from unique fruits like apples and pears to wild mushrooms and one-of-a-kind beverage recipes.
This village is inextricably linked with the church of Panagia, the Virgin Mary, as the region underwent a huge growth in population since the creation of the holy church. The religious paintings are rumored to have miraculous properties, and did assist in the tax exemption of the locals, as well as the sprouting of the artisanal success around 1700 AD that still preserve Agiasos as a unique tourist attraction for thousands of visitors. If you happen to be there on August 15th, you will see pilgrims walking the 27 kilometers that separate Agiasos from capital town of Mytilene, in order to reach the holy image of Panagia in a huge day of celebration.
There is no perfect moment to visit the island, as it is suitable both for the winter and the summer. During the winter you will see a snow-covered, almost mystical side of the island, suitable for hot coffee, made in the ashes. But the island is also charming during the summer, where it is an oasis with plane trees in every village square. During the fall you have to attend the Chestnut Festival, a celebration of the might and different tastes that have defined this place. If you are a wanderer you will be amazed by the hiking trails in the surrounding area that lead to the top of the mountain, that provides a breath-taking view of smaller nearby villages, gorges and chestnut groves.
You must definitely try the astonishing “vasilopita” pie of Agiasos – it will surely surprise you with its uniqueness – and also drink “kainari”, a unique traditional herbal tea. For an even more memorable experience you should go to Stavri, or to the town square for some ouzo, maybe a Greek salad with traditional “tsalamoura” cheese, and the so-called “hahles” (trust us on this one). Visiting this place will give you a chance to taste local gastronomical quality, and you will surely feel that there are still places that are living purely.
Welcome to Agiasos!