With a rich history dating back to the 11th century BC, Mytilene is an ancient city and the current capital of the Greek island of Lesbos. Aristotle lived in Mytilene for two years during the 4th century BC before the Romans captured the island in 81 BC. Today, Mytilene is home to beautifully preserved Neoclassical buildings and serves as the University of the Aegean headquarters.
Things to do in Mytilene
Dominating Mytilene’s port area is the Baroque church of Saint Therapon, which was completed in 1935 on a design by the local architect, Argyris Adalis. It features elements of Rococo and Gothic architectural styles and is topped by an impressive dome. Nearby are several Neoclassical buildings of note, including the Old City Hall and the Experimental Lyceum.
History buffs can visit the Archaeological Museum of Mytilene, which was originally housed in a 1930s building commissioned by the American Classic Studies School. It showcases objects discovered on Lesbos dating from the Neolithic Age to the Roman Period, including mosaic floors and frescoes.
For elevated views across Mytilene, climb to the town’s Byzantine castle, which was built atop a Roman fortification established during Justinian I’s rule. Take note of the Palaiologoi family cipher that decorates one of its entrances, together with the Gattilusi family coat of arms. On the north-west side of the complex is the Lower Castle with its Ottoman-built bathhouse.
Getting around Mytilene
Mytilene International Airport is a 10-minute drive from Mytilene and has seasonal flights to destinations across Europe. Regular ferries connect from mainland Turkey and the Greek island of Limnos to Mytilene while buses travel from Mytilene to towns and villages across Lesbos. Most of Mytilene’s attractions can be easily accessed on foot.