Lemnos, the Island of Hephaestus

Lemnos is the eighth-largest island in Greece, covering an area of 476 square kilometers, and it has the fourth-longest coastline (310 kilometers). It is located in the northern Aegean Sea, in the Thracean Sea, between Mount Athos, Samothrace, Imbros, and Lesbos. Together with Agios Efstratios, it forms the province of Lemnos within the Lesbos regional unit. The capital and main port of Lemnos is Myrina, named after the wife of the island's first king, Thoas. Until 1955, Myrina was called Kastro, a name that prevailed during the late Byzantine period and is informally still used by older Lemnians.

Sights and Attractions

Archaeological Museum of Lemnos: The Archaeological Museum of Lemnos is located in Myrina. Housed in a neoclassical building on the Roman shore, it has been in operation since 1961. The museum presents the historical evolution of the island from the Chalcolithic period to the Roman era, with findings from nearly all the archaeological sites on the island, including Poliochni, the Kabeiria, Hephaestia, the Sanctuary of Artemis, and Myrina.

Ecclesiastical Museum of Lemnos: Housed within the premises of the Metropolitan Church in Myrina, this museum gathers invaluable works and treasures of the ecclesiastical tradition and art, spanning from the Byzantine to the post-Byzantine periods.

Contemporary Balkan Art Gallery "Kontia": The Kontia Gallery first opened its doors in August 2007 and is unique in Greece. It showcases works by prominent artists from Lemnos, Greece, and the Balkan countries.

Folklore Museum of Portianou: Operating in a two-story traditional house in the village of Portianou, this museum features exhibits depicting the daily life of the island's inhabitants. It houses over 300 items of folk art, including household items, handcrafts, everyday tools, and traditional costumes. The museum was founded in 1995 by the Association of Portianos of Lemnos in Athens, Piraeus, and its Surroundings.

Maritime Tradition and Sponge Diving Museum of Lemnos in Nea Koutali: Opened on July 1, 2006, this museum in Lemnos showcases the maritime tradition of refugees from Asia Minor, who were primarily engaged in sponge diving and the processing of sponges. The museum exhibits equipment used by divers, such as diving suits, tools, and items collected by sponge divers from the depths of the sea.

Archaeological Site of Poliochni: Poliochni is an archaeological site on the eastern coast of Lemnos, near the village of Kamina. It was built at the dawn of the Neolithic period and was one of the most significant settlements in the Aegean during the 3rd millennium BC. In the Early Bronze Age, it experienced such growth that it is considered the earliest form of urban and social organization in Europe. The archaeological site also includes the Museum of Prehistoric Settlement of Poliochni, which houses many significant artifacts.

Archaeological Site of Hephaistia: Hephaistia was the largest and oldest city on Lemnos, playing a significant role in the island's history. Excavations led by Italian archaeologist Luigi Maria Della Setta uncovered a sanctuary dedicated to the Great Goddess Lemnia, necropolises, baths, a large structure, wells, a Hellenistic theater, numerous houses, a sanctuary, and a large burned necropolis. Many weapons, gold objects, pottery figurines, and vessels of local craftsmanship were also found.

Archaeological Site of Myrina Prehistoric Settlement: This site includes the Sanctuary of Artemis, discovered in the area of Aulona. Artemis, according to historical sources, was revered as the patron deity of Myrina and was often associated with the moon. She was a celestial goddess, and sacrifices were made in her honor at her open-air sanctuary. The ceramics workshop near the Hellenistic and Roman necropolis and the remains of walls are some of the interesting remnants of the Neolithic settlement located outside the walls of Myrina.

Cave of Philoctetes in Kavirio: The Kaviri were deities of ancient Greek mystery worship that first appeared on Lemnos. The Kaviria mysteries were religious ceremonies held at the sanctuaries of the Kaviri deities. These ceremonies celebrated fertility and the rebirth of nature through animal sacrifices to the gods, libations, prayers, and offerings. The most significant event was the "fire walk," reenacting the discovery of fire, which, according to tradition, occurred on Lemnos itself. The guilds of metalworkers played a special role in these rituals. The cave of Philoctetes is located on the coast of Kavirio.

Wetlands of Lemnos (Chortarolimni, Alyki, and Asprolimni): These wetlands are considered among the most important hydro-biotopes in Greece and are part of the Natura 2000 network. Together, they maintain an exceptional ecosystem where more than 4,000 bird species winter, including herons, avocets, kingfishers, flamingos, and more. The Environmental Information Center of Kalliopi, founded in 2001, is located in the former primary school building of Kalliopi. It informs and raises awareness among visitors about environmental issues, with the aim of protecting and promoting the natural beauty of the area.

Sand Dunes of Lemnos: Located northwest of the island, about 3 kilometers from the village of Katalakkos, the "Pachies Ammoudes," as the locals call them, present a Sahara-like landscape in the heart of the North Aegean. These "fat sands" cover an area of 70 acres.


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