Greece Holiday Part 8: Lesbos/Lesvos – Messa Temple, Ancient Pyrrha, Klopedi Sanctuary, Mithymna, and Eressos: Research for my Third Novel

ImageHi Everyone,

Finally, I am able to complete my Greece Holiday posts with Part 8. This is my most exciting post, as you may all know, I am writing a Young Adult, Historical Fiction Novel, based on the island of Lesvos during the Classical Period. Lesvos has two spellings, its modern one, and its ancient one with a b, instead of a v, depending on the pronunciation.

When I was on the island, I had all these plans to go see these amazing archaeological sites I had been doing my research on, so that I was able to create my own map of the island, and get a feel of the place and setting I was writing about. I got so many tips and outlooks of being there: from the singing cicadas, the heat from the sun, the cool, windy nights, the fresh springs, the beautiful beaches, and the ancient sites that tore at my heart, as I wanted to know more, wanted to see more of this island my grandparents were from.

The first archaeological site I will talk about is the Messon Sanctuary. The Lesvians have fixed the area, making it a commercialised place for tourists to come and visit, however, sadly, to my dismay, they had stopped selling books and pamphlets about the site – I had been collecting so many of these when I was island hopping, for my research. The place has been well preserved, and is well known throughout Lesvos.

2449246024632466I went to Ancient Pyrrha, and after my visit, I wrote a poem about my experience, which I am hoping to one day publish, when I edit it, and get the theme across. I was amazed that not a lot of the locals understood the beauty of the region, and the fact that there was an ancient city buried under the ocean! When I walked along the beach, craving to go see the acropolis of Pyrrha that was across the beach, on top of a hill, on a different side of the island, that the locals called, Red Rock, it was hard to understand if this was the actual place of the acropolis. At the beach, there was a restaurant set up for visitors that went there, but apart from that, no excavations of the area have been undertaken; Pyrrha lies under the water, her city amongst the sand of time. When my boyfriend and I hiked our way to the acropolis, and mind you, we never made it there because of the putrid waste that was dumped in one section of the beach, every step we took we were walking on artefacts of rocks and pottery. Here are a couple of pottery shards that we collected – I was so excited when we found these!

286928702878 2877 Next up, is the Klopedi Sanctuary – one of my favourite visits when I was on the island. The only way to get there is by hiking on a dirt road from Agia Pareskevi, trusting that you could read the limited signs along the way, hoping that you were heading in the right direction with little water because you didn’t realise how long the track would take on foot. When we got there, I was amazed that the locals were making it into a commercialised place for tourists to come and visit in the future, when everything was completed. One day, when I return back to Lesbos, I cannot wait to go back to the sanctuary and see how the archaeological site has developed.

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2819Lastly, are Mithymna and Eressos. When I visited Molyvos, in ancient times it was known as Mithymna, one of the daughters of King Makareus, I was astonished that there were patches of archaeological sites in different parts of the city. Here is one that we passed by, but I only went to Molyvos at night, so I was unable to see more of the area. Like I said, when I go back, I cannot wait to explore more of the island and what it has to offer me. And finally, Eressos, or now known as Skala Eressos – I only went to the beach here, but was unable to see the archaeological site, so like the other places, I will need to visit this site. It was hard to do anything on the island unless you drove your own car; but that means driving on the different side of the road – yikes!

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Oh, and I have not mentioned Arisvi – she is an unknown ancient city of Lesbos, that many of the locals do not know about because she was destroyed during the 5th century by the Mithymnaeans, and hence forth, this is where my Third Novel comes in. I wanted to visit the archaeological site, or what I have read online, traces of what is left of it, but none of the locals understood where it was, because it was not commercialised or well-known like the Messon and Klopedi Sanctuary. It is hard to understand how much research and digging in books I needed to do to find out about this place, and try and find an archaeological site map of the area; but that is another story to tell in the future. Nevertheless, one day, yes, one dear day, I will visit Arisvi, and see the fallen columns of her city.

Till next time,
Claire

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11 thoughts on “Greece Holiday Part 8: Lesbos/Lesvos – Messa Temple, Ancient Pyrrha, Klopedi Sanctuary, Mithymna, and Eressos: Research for my Third Novel

  1. Wow, Claire what an exciting trip for you! Finding those pottery shards is amazing. The island looks very beautiful. I’m glad you were able to go and experience it for your research 🙂

      1. Sounds like a great trip! I am in Lesvos right now hoping that you get my message. How did you find Klopedi? I was in Agia Paraskevi today. I am planning on visiting Mesa Sanctuary and then look for Klopedi. How did you find it? Was there a road in Agia Paraskevi that led to a path or is there a path outside of the town? Can you give me a landmark? What a shame about pyra. Thanks.

      2. Hi Joy,

        The road to Klopedi is next to the Olive Oil Press Museum in Agia Pareskevi – you can also ask the local man that runs the museum for directions. The pathway is inside the town – and it’s a very long road that breaks up into broken cement, tiny rocks and dirt, you pass farm animals in paddocks, then pass a river, you go over the bridge, and there are signs up, keep heading that way until you come across an old tiny church and massive tree, when I went there, sheep were sleeping under the big tree, and this has the map of the area and an arrow pointing you to the sanctuary, otherwise you are walking around blind – check out the pictures I uploaded on my blog. Especially the photo I took of the Map of the hiking area – I wish someone had uploaded this earlier. Hopefully this is helpful. And take plenty of water with you! It’s a lot of hiking!

        Cheers,
        Claire

      3. Great! Thank you so much. I went to that museum yesterday so I know where that is. Believe it or not….it has be raining….as in pouring every day. I have to wait for it to finally be a nice day. I will let you know. Thanks for the info!

      4. Hi Joy,

        Great to hear. I can’t believe it’s raining! When I went in July it was so hot, and we had only brought 2 bottles of water and we finished both of them, and we were so thirsty until we got back to the village. Good luck, and you will love it!

        Cheers,
        Claire

      5. Ok….ventured out today. Rain stopped and it was cool. Your blog pictures were a great help. Sheep were still by the tree by the road by the bridge. Now the problems began…..the road was closed. Yep…gated off. We played stupid and opened it. Made it to the church. No map. Roamed around a bit. No ruins. Went back to the church and found that the map had been taken down and place faced down. Went up the hill and discovered the whole area is fenced off. They are building a visitor’s center. The gate that you are standing by up top in now locked. So…..we couldn’t get in….very disappointed but……met the owner of the house where the sheep were. He said….people go in any way. We will be heading back tomorrow. PS…..lol…..visitor’s center looks beautiful!

      6. Hi Joy,

        Yes, yes – what you have described is exactly what happened to us, the sign next to the tree and church was knocked down, we lifted it up and posed. We also had to shoo the sheep away so we could get the map- it’s such a great help finding that map. Yes, and we also went inside when it was closed. It was a great day! I’m glad my blog post was helpful 🙂
        Hopefully when I return in a couple of years the visitors centre is finished- I wonder what it’s going to look like.

        Best wishes on your holiday,
        Claire

  2. Thank you so much for this great summary Dear Claire, I enjoyed very much reading it having my last day of this visit. I certainly can’t wait to be back just to visit the ancient cites you tell us about graciously. ASLI from ISTANBUL

  3. Thank you so much for this great summary Dear Claire, I enjoyed very much reading it having my last day of this visit. I certainly can’t wait to be back just to visit the ancient cites you tell us about graciously. ASLI from ISTANBUL

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