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A few words about Lesvos:
Lesvos (ΛΕΣΒΟΣ in Greek) is a prefecture of Greece consisting of a number of
islands in the Aegean Sea, and part of the North Aegean periphery subdivision.
In modern Greece, the island's name is pronounced and usually transliterated
Lesvos and its inhabitants are thus called Lesvonians or Lesviots (rather than
"Lesvos" is also the name of the prefecture's main island, also called
Mytilene, and lying just off the coast of Turkey. The second largest island is
Lemnos, to the northwest, lying nearer the nothern part of the Greek mainland.
Principal towns on the main island are Mytilene (the capital), Kalloni,
Mithymna, Plomari, Agiassos, Petra. On the south coast of Lesvos is the pretty
coastal town of Plomari, where it is said that the finest ouzo in the world is
made to this day in traditional copper stills. At the western tip of the
island is the small fishing village of Sigri, close to which is the world's
largest petrified forest, estimated to be about twenty million years old.
In Greek mythology, "Lesvos" was also the name of the patron god of the
island. Lesvos was son of Lapithes and he married Methymna.
The island has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. It is first mentioned in
Hittite records as Lazpa. Other ancient names are: Lassia, Imerti, Aegira,
Issa, Mytonis, and Les-Ba. Lesvos was a great center of civilization in the
6th century BCE, and was included among the Aeolian Greek settlements; it was
home to the poets Sappho and Alcaeus. Aristotle and Epicurus both also spent
some time there.
In 477 BCE, Lesvos joined the Delian League, an alliance of Greeks headed by
Athens, against the Persians. In 428 BCE, Lesvos rose up against the Athenian
Empire. However, this revolt was unsuccessful and Lesvos remained in Athenian
hands until Lysander of Sparta conquered the island in 405 BCE.
During the medieval period Lesvos was ruled by the Gattilusio family from
1355. The last of the Gattilusio Princes of Lesvos, Niccolo of Lesvos, was
defeated by Mehmed II, who almost completely demolished Mytilene and conquered
the island for the Ottoman Empire in 1462.
The word "lesvian" is derived from the island's name, after the poet Sappho of
Lesvos, who wrote about love between women. In recent years this has often
made Lesvos the destination of cruises and other vacations for lesvians,
despite of the disapproval of conservative Lesviot authorities, with some
cruise ships being denied permission to dock.
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