In fact, the myth says that Lemnos was the island where god Hephaestus had his copper workroom, which is why there was an ancient town dedicated to his honor, Ifestia. Also you will find the oldest town in Europe, Ancient Poliochni, that dates from the beginning of the 3rd century BC. On the north eastern side of the island, there is Ancient Kavirio, a place strongly connected to secret religious ceremonies and right below Kavirio there is the Cave of Philoctetes, the legendary hero who was abandoned there on the way to Troy. Very interesting is also the Medieval Castle on the hill above Myrina, the capital of the island.
According to ancient Greek mythology, Lemnos was the island of Hephaestus, the god of fire and volcanoes. A myth says that he landed on this island when Hera, his mother, threw him from Mount Olympus, where the Gods lived, because she saw that he was an ugly baby. Hephaestus broke his leg (or hip) when he landed on the island and remained lame ever after. The people of the island took care of him and in return the god taught them his art of ironsmith. Yet, another myth connects the history of Lemnosto Philoctetes, an ancient hero who was abandoned on Lemnos on the way to Troy. Archaeological excavations in the temple of Kavirio and the ancient site of Poliochni have brought to light early settlements from the Bronze Age.
Lemnos came under the Persian rule in the 5th century BC and joined the Athenian League after the end of the Persian Wars. The island remained under the Athenian rule for almost all the Classical Period. They reconstructed Ifestia town, which had been destroyed by the Persians, but then Lemnos went under the Macedonian domination. The Romans declared the island free in 197 BC but they gave it back to Athens in 166 BC.
After the division of the Roman Empire, Lemnos became part of the Byzantine Empire and a strongByzantine Castle was built for its protection.The geographical position of the island and the security of its gulfs upgraded its military position. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, Lemnos became a prey to pirate raids. In 1453, it passed under the rule of the Genoese, which brought a great financial and commercial prosperity. From 1462 to 1479, Lemnos was an object of wars between the Venetians and the Turks.
Venice was forced to give it to the Ottoman Empire, when it became the supreme power of the Aegean. After the Greek Revolution of 1821, Lemnos, like the other Eastern Aegean islands, did not join the newly built Greek State. Lemnos was finally set free in 1912 but the island was only incorporated to the rest of Greece with a Treaty signed in 1920.
Museums - Archeological
Lemnos, known since the antiquity, is an island with a rich mythical tradition and historical background. It flourished greatly in the prehistoric times, the Byzantine years and the Venetian period. Archaeological excavations have brought to light findings which reveal the existence of an early civilization in the 4th millenium BC.
A great part of these findings and more on the history of Lemnos can be found in the Archaeological Museum in Myrina. The rooms of this neoclassical mansion present an extensive collection of treasures from the ancient sites of Kavirio and Ifestia and several antiquities. There is beautiful section with ceramics, pottery items, statuettes, jewellery and coins.
In the village of Portiano, it is a pleasure visiting the Folklore Museum of Lemnos. On display are several items of local art and well-preserved rooms which make up the typical Lemnian house. Of great interest is the Maritime museum of Lemnos situated in the heart of the city. The museum's collection includes a great variety of items from the sponge-diving tradition that the island is famous for. In Myrina, close to the Holy Cathedral lies the Ecclesiastical Museum.
Plati beach, Thanos beach, Keros, Zematas, Agios Ermolaos, Agios Ioannis, Avlonas, Cape Tigani, Fanari, Gomati, Karvounolakas, Kokkina, Louri, Makris Gialos, Myrina beach, Myrina Riha Nera, Myrina Romaikos Gialos, Neftina, Papias, Prassa, Skidi, Stivi
Religious Monasteries and Churches
Lemnos churches present a unique interest as to their unique architecture and religious treasures including holly icons and beautiful frescoes. Among the dozens churches and monasteries that dot the island, of major interest is the chapel of Panagia Kakaviotissa dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is built into a cave, amidst steep rocks at the top of Kakkavos hill, 4 km from Myrina.
At the main town lies also Agia Triada, the cathedral church with the two lovely bell towers. It was built on the relics of an ancient church in 1724 but the Turks destroyed it soon after. It was reconstructed and today visitors can admire its beautiful interior and the wood curved temple. In close distance you can see the church of Agios Nikolaos.
In the village of Repanidi is the Church of Agios Georgios built in the middle of the 19th century. The church is a remarkable example of post Byzantine architecture with neoclassical elements. In Skandali stands the ancient monastery of Agios Sozon, the saint protector of the island. On its feast day on September 7th the locals organize a big festival.
Above the historic village of Kotsinas lies the 15th century chapel of Zoodochos Pighi. Climbing down the countless stairs you will come across the fountain with the holy water. In the wider region of Lemnos many churches and chapels will draw your attention. Among them is the church of Taxiarches (14th century), Agios Dimitrios (18th century) and Agia Marina (19th century).