An Eco-sustainable World
Nature to be saved



Lesvos is a Greek island located in the north-eastern Aegean, facing the coasts of the Anatolian peninsula, consisting of two municipalities and with the main center being Mytilene.
This island is famous for being the birthplace, in the 7th century BC, of the lyric poets Alceo and Sappho. The island has a population of 90 643 inhabitants at the 2001 census, a third of whom reside in the capital Mytilene.

Etymology –
The term Lesbos is controversial in nature.
An etymological hypothesis suggests that the name “Lesvos” derives from the ancient Greek term “Laisvos”, which means “wooded” or “covered with woods”. This may reflect the original landscape of the island, characterized by large forested areas.
Another theory suggests that the name “Lesvos” comes from the ancient Greek term “Lesvos”, which was the name of a mythological king of the island. According to this theory, the name of the island was taken from the name of the king.
It is important to note that the term “lesbian” or “lesbian” is related to the island of Lesvos. In ancient times, Lesbos was known for being the homeland of the Greek poet Sappho, who lived in the 7th century BC, whose works often dealt with love and desire between women. The connection between Sappho and the island has led to the use of the term “lesbian” to refer to female homosexuality.
Furthermore, according to Greek mythology, Lesbos takes its name from Lesbos, daughter of Macareo, one of the descendants of Aeolus, the king of the winds.
In any case, the exact etymology of the name “Lesvos” remains a matter of scholarly debate, and there is no definitive consensus as to which theory is correct.

Geographic Features –
The island of Lesvos, also known as Lesbos or Lesvos, is one of the largest islands in Greece and is located in the eastern Aegean Sea.
This island is located off the western coast of Turkey and is part of the North Aegean Islands Regional District. It is located northwest of the island of Chios and south of Limnos.
Lesbos has an area of approximately 1,630 square kilometers, making it the third largest island in Greece after Crete and Euboea.
The island features a mountainous landscape with the Olympos (also known as Lepetymnos) mountain range extending along the northern part of the island. The highest point of the island is Mount Lepetymnos, which reaches a height of about 968 meters. There are also several other smaller mountain ranges dotted around the island.
Lesbos has a very indented coastline, with numerous bays, inlets and headlands. The island is famous for its beautiful beaches, many of which are surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery. Some of the more popular beaches include Vatera beach, Petra beach, Molyvos beach and Eressos beach.
It is also known for its fertility and agricultural production. The island is covered in olive groves, vineyards, orchards and cultivated fields. The olive oil produced on Lesbos is particularly renowned.
Lesvos is also home to several nature reserves and protected habitats. One of the most important reserves on the island is the North Lesbos Forest Park, which covers an area of over 31,000 hectares and offers a rich diversity of flora and fauna.
The main population centers of the island are Mytilene (or Mytilene), the capital of the island located on the east coast, and Molyvos (or Mithymna), a picturesque town located on the north coast.
Lesvos has a volcanic history, and there are several hot springs on the island. The thermal springs of Eftalou and Thermi are famous for their therapeutic properties and are often used for healing purposes.
Overall, Lesbos offers a unique combination of stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, wild life and a rich cultural tradition, making it a popular destination for visitors.

Mappa Geografica dell'Isola di Lesbo

Historical Notes –
The island of Lesvos has a rich and fascinating history dating back to ancient times.
As mentioned, according to Greek mythology, this island would take its name from Lesbos, daughter of Macareo, one of the descendants of Aeolus, the king of the winds. However, the island has been inhabited since the Stone Age, as evidenced by archaeological finds. The inhabitants of the island have been influenced by different cultures over the centuries, including Mycenaean, Dorian, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman.
In the 8th century BC, Lesvos reached its heyday as a cultural and intellectual centre. The city of Mytilene, located on the east coast of the island, became one of the most important city-states of ancient Greece. Mytilene was famous for its powerful fleet and its contributions to literature and poetry. The three most famous poets of Lesvos were Alcaeus, Sappho and Anacreon, known for their lyric poetry.
During the Hellenistic period it was dominated by the successors of Alexander the Great, including the Seleucids and the Ptolemies. In the 2nd century BC, the island fell under the control of the Roman Empire and was incorporated into the Roman province of Asia. During the Roman Empire the island enjoyed economic prosperity and was an important commercial centre.
Over the following centuries, it came under Byzantine rule, was invaded by the Sasanian Persians and was conquered by the Crusaders in the 12th century. In 1462, the island fell under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and remained under Turkish control for several centuries.
During the Greek War of Independence in the 19th century, Lesbos participated in the struggle for independence against the Ottoman Empire. In 1912, the island was liberated and joined the Kingdom of Greece.
During the 20th century, Lesbos experienced its ups and downs, including the German occupation during WWII and the Greek military regime of the 1960s and 70s. In recent years, the island has become known for its strategic position as an arrival point for many migrants trying to reach Europe.
Today, the island is a popular tourist destination, appreciated for its lovely beaches, stunning landscapes and traditional villages. The island also has a vibrant cultural scene, with festivals, museums and an active arts community.
The history of this island is a real treasure trove of fascinating events spanning antiquity, classical culture and modern times, making Lesbos a place of great historical and cultural interest.

Ecosystem –
The island of Lesvos is famous for its natural beauty, ancient history and rich biodiversity.
The island of Lesbos features a variety of habitats that support a diverse range of plant species. The predominant vegetation is the Mediterranean maquis, with plants such as myrtle, mastic, heather and wild olive. In the mountainous areas there are pine and oak forests.
It is also home to abundant wildlife. Among the species of mammals present on the island are rabbits, hedgehogs, weasels and foxes. Birdlife is particularly abundant, with over 200 species migrating or nesting on the island. Among the best known birds are the sea eagle, eagle owl, hoopoe and black grouse. Along the coasts you can also observe several species of reptiles and amphibians.
Lesbos is known for its important wetlands, which provide ideal habitats for numerous species of migratory waterfowl. One of the most important places is the Kalloni lagoon, one of the main staging areas for migratory birds along the Black Sea route to Africa. Kalloni Lagoon is an important ecological site of interest and an attraction for bird lovers.
The waters surrounding Lesvos are rich in marine biodiversity. Marine fauna includes fish, molluscs, crustaceans and other marine organisms. The island also offers snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities to explore the fascinating marine ecosystems.
Lesvos has several protected areas and nature reserves which aim to preserve its unique ecology. Ypsilou Wood Nature Reserve, located in the western part of the island, is one of the main protected areas of Lesbos. This reserve is home to a diverse range of plants and animals as well as archaeological sites.
However, it is important to note that Lesvos is also known for having been a major route for migrants trying to reach Europe. The large influx of migrants has led to challenges in terms of environmental and social management on the island.
Overall, the island of Lesbos is a diverse and fascinating ecosystem, combining breathtaking landscapes, natural wealth and an ancient history.

Flora –
The island of Lesbos has a geographical position and a Mediterranean climate which offer favorable conditions for a rich flora.
It features a large variety of plants, with over 1,000 different species having been identified so far. This diversity is due to the combination of geographical, climatic and geological factors which favor the growth of many endemic and rare plants.
In coastal regions, plants adapted to the marine climate can be found, such as sea lily (Pancratium maritimum) and sea asparagus (Asparagus maritimus). The island is also home to several species of aromatic plants, including thyme, mint and sage.
In the innermost and mountainous areas, the vegetation is characterized by pine and oak woods. Oaks found on the island of Lesvos include the Kermes oak (Quercus coccifera) and the cork oak (Quercus suber). Other tree species found on the island include olive (Olea europaea) and black pine (Pinus nigra).
The island is also known for the presence of several species of orchids, which bloom during the spring. Among the orchids found on the island of Lesvos are the Lesvos orchid (Ophrys lesbis), the broadleaf orchid (Orchis latifolia), and the turquoise-flowered orchid (Anacamptis picta).
In addition to terrestrial flora, the island of Lesbos boasts a rich coastal vegetation, with varieties of plants growing on the sand dunes and in the wetlands. These include common reed (Phragmites australis), sea lettuce (Lactuca maritima) and several species of tamarisk.
Also, the island of Lesvos is famous for producing high quality honey. Bees benefit from the island’s rich flora, feeding on a wide range of flowers and aromatic plants that give the honey a distinctive flavour.
Its botanical diversity and interest in nature conservation make the island a fascinating place for nature lovers and botanists.

Wildlife –
The island of Lesvos has a remarkable faunal diversity which includes a variety of animal species.
Lesvos is known for its diverse birdlife and attracts many bird watchers. The island is an important stopping point for many migratory bird species. Species sighted include Bonelli’s eagle, peregrine falcon, golden eagle, green woodpecker, long-eared owl, little shrike and a variety of gulls and terns.
The island is home to several species of reptiles. You can find lizards, including the Balkan lizard (Podarcis tauricus) and the common gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus). Snakes such as the snake (Hierophis gemonensis) and the leopard snake (Zamenis situla) can also be found.
Among the amphibians found on the island of Lesvos are the green frog (Rana ridibunda) and the pointed-nosed frog (Pelophylax lessonae). There are no endemic amphibian species on the island.
On the island of Lesvos there are some species of terrestrial mammals. There are small mammals such as the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) and the common shrew (Sorex araneus). In the past, the island was also home to a subspecies of red deer (Cervus elaphus) called the Lesvos deer (Cervus elaphus angelae), but its population has declined dramatically and it is now considered extinct.

Environmental Protection Actions –
The island of Lesbos, as mentioned, is characterized by a diversity of landscapes, natural habitats and animal and plant species. To preserve the environment and promote sustainability on the island, various environmental conservation actions have been taken. Some of these measures are listed below:
– National parks and nature reserves: Protected areas such as the Mont Olimpo National Park and the Lesbos-Kalloni Nature Reserve have been created to conserve the natural habitats and wildlife of the island. These areas are managed to preserve biodiversity and enable sustainable tourism.
– Protection of the beaches and the sea: Measures have been taken to protect the beaches and the surrounding sea. This includes implementing regulations for beach cleanup, marine litter management and the prevention of pollution from land-based sources.
– Renewable energy: The island of Lesbos is progressively adopting renewable energy solutions to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. This includes the installation of solar and wind plants for the production of clean energy.
– Waste Management: Policies have been implemented to improve waste management on the island. This includes implementing recycling programs, promoting waste reduction practices, and monitoring waste disposal facilities to avoid negative impacts on the environment.
– Environmental awareness: Educational programs and environmental awareness campaigns have been launched to involve the local community and visitors. These efforts aim to promote sustainable behaviors, such as respect for nature, responsible consumption and conservation of natural resources.
– Monitoring of flora and fauna: Monitoring activities are carried out to assess the state of flora and fauna on the island. These studies provide crucial information for the adoption of conservation measures and the protection of endangered species.
However, environmental protection requires a continuous effort and everyone’s collaboration to protect and preserve the island of Lesvos for future generations.

Guido Bissanti

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