Mithymna on Lesbos - also called Molyvos

Mithymna on Lesbos - also called Molyvos

During our round trip on the Greek island of Lesbos, our route also led to the north coast of the island of Lesbos to the city of Mithymna, which was already known in ancient times and which today, with its almost 1,670 inhabitants, is often also referred to as Molyvos.

Easily, quickly and safely reached via a road connection from Mytilene after only 62 kilometers, history has shown that these two island towns have had very different affiliations and strong competition against each other over the centuries. Today, Mithymna is a popular holiday destination due to its proximity to mainland Turkey and the well-known seaside resort of Petra, which is only 6 kilometers away.

Mithymna is car free today

lesbos rundfahrt aIt is perhaps the location of the town on a slope that has ensured that the town center can only be reached via narrow stairways, which means that Mithymna can now be described as car-free. A very valuable attribute in our modern times. The place itself still conveys a strong influence of Ottoman culture and architecture from the former affiliation to the Ottoman Empire, giving an almost oriental, medieval impression. The narrow, sloping stairways and driveways are often covered by climbing plants, creating a wonderful play of light between the shops and restaurants. The many well-preserved houses from the 18th century, built in the traditional Ottoman style, consist mainly of unplastered natural stone on the ground floor, with the upper floor built of wood on the false ceiling. Some of the beams and beam heads of the load-bearing support system are richly decorated and protrude far beyond the ground floor, so that bay windows with many windows could be formed on them.

Settlement existing since prehistoric times

lesbos rundfahrt bDespite the proximity of the Turkish coast, which is only about 9.5 kilometers away from the center of Mithymna, it cannot be seen from the center of the village.

Only when you climb the medieval castle do you have a view of the Turkish coast.

From here is also the natural harbor to the west of the city, which is equipped with a pier and is now used as a fishing port.

But it was precisely this port that played a crucial role in the history of Mithymna, because the settlement, which had existed since prehistoric times, experienced a rapid boom in archaic times due to the port.

In the so-called Peloponesian War

lesbos rundfahrt hWhen the coast of Asia Minor was colonized in the 8th century BC, which led to the founding of Assos, among other things, settlers from the polis of Mithymna were also significantly involved, so that brisk trade developed. In the course of the economic boom around 600 BC with the conquest of Arisbe, what is probably the most fertile area on the island of Lesbos was gained. Parts of the archaic, polygonal city wall from the 6th century BC have been preserved from the ancient city, remains of the mole system can still be found from the ancient port, because in the 5th century Mithymna as a city was already a member of the Attic Maritime League, which had its own had a large contingent of ships. When the island towns united and rose up against Athens in the so-called Peloponesian War in 428, Mithymna was the only town on Lesvos that did not take part in the uprising. Here the great rivalry with the capital of the island, Mytilene, became clear for the first time, which was also recognizable in the power structure. While Mithymna had a democratic constitution, the larger city of Mytilene was governed by oligarchic rule.

Mithymna expanded by the Genoese family Gattilusio

lesbos rundfahrt cOnly in 412 BC did Mithymna fall away from Athens, but was then forced to rejoin the naval alliance. From 406 to 386 BC the city was conquered by Sparta, in whose sphere of influence it remained for 20 years. Then, a few years later, Mithymna allied itself again with Athens and was one of the founding members of the Second Attic League in 377 BC. Under the tyrant Cleomis, Mithymna turned away from Athens again around 340 and refused active support in the war against Philip II of Macedonia, which was requested, which led to an unsuccessful military intervention by Athens. In the 3rd century Mithymna was a Ptolemaic possession that in the 2nd century BC tied itself closely to expanding Rome and from which it long enjoyed benevolent support. Later, Roman interest was more focused on Mytilene.

In 1373 the acropolis of Mithymna was expanded by the Genoese family Gattilusio and renamed Molybos. In 1450 the urban area was severely devastated when Turkish-Ottoman troops landed, in 1457 it successfully resisted the siege by Admiral Ismael, but had to be demolished after Mytilenes capitulated in 1462 handed over to the Turks without a fight.

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Life | Outdoors