There's a reason we've been coming here for 20 years
Sitting in the sparkling turquoise Aegean Sea, Lesvos is a warm and sunny emerald gem of Greece. It is a whole continent in miniature: spectacular beaches, high mountains and wild forests on Greece's third largest island.
Due to the island's size and variety, there's something for everyone: beach holidays, activity holidays, gastronomic tours, nature attractions and spectacular geography.
Here at Real Lesvos we aim to gradually make the wonder and attractions of Lesvos more easily available to the UK traveller. In the map below you'll find an ever-increasing list of our favourite things to do and see on Lesvos!
Located in Mantamados, 36 km from Mytilene, Taxiarchis Monastery is dedicated to Taxiarchis, the Archangel Michael, who is the official protector of the island. The figure of the Archangel Michael is depicted in a rather unique way: it is traditionally crafted from the blood of monks and clay! During the 10th and 11th century, Saracen pirates invaded the entire island and would pillage the monastery, looking for nearby villagers to kill and loot. The monks that dwelled there refused to give up any information and so the pirates killed all but one. This monk, called Gabriel, escaped onto the roof of the monastery. These blood-thirsty pirates caught sight of him and pursued him, but to no avail…a great soldier appeared in front of Gabriel, with his sword pointed towards the pirates to protect him. Terrified, the Saracens dropped everything they had and fled, leaving it all behind. Gabriel, overwhelmed by his good fortune, wanted to thank his savior who had since disappeared. He proceeded to bury his fellow brother-hood and, using the blood of the brutally slaughtered monks that had seeped into the earth, mixed it with clay so as to reproduce the image of his brave savior who had miraculously appeared in front of him. Gabriel didn’t have enough of this blood-clay mix to faithfully reproduce the Archangel Michael’s body, so the head of the sculpture is disproportionately large. This icon is kept inside the church and many islanders believe it has powers in granting miracles; note the ‘tagmata’ of gifts that hang off this icon. It is also reported that the expression on the Archangel’s face changes to convey a different message to different people that visit this famous church.
The other account which surrounds the story of the icon and its date of creation has to do with the Ottoman occupation of Lesvos in 1462. Ottomans are said to have raided the monastery in the same fashion as that of the Saracen pirates, after which it was abandoned. Taxiarchis Monastery holds a celebration for the Archangel Micheal just two weeks after Easter. This celebration attracts visitors from all over the island and Greece. The feast of the icon, however, is celebrated on November 8 (known as the Synaxis of the Bodiless Powers) and on September 6 (known as the Miracle at Colossae).
Discover more great places to visit and things to do here.